In this toolkit we provided an overview of social psychological interventions to reduce prejudice, explained why and under which conditions they work. We also outlined the specific characteristics of antigypsyism in Europe and presented best practice examples with explanations why they were selected. This information was structured in a way to provide directions to any actors planning to implement programmes to reduce antigypsyism, however, we now briefly summarise our recommendations for specific actors.
Our recommendations for European, national and local level policy and decision makers is to understand their role as social referents. Social referents are well-connected and influential people who set collective norms. Accordingly, if their actions reflect a firm stance against antigypsyism as a principle in all decision-making processes, other members of society, both individuals and institutions, will adjust their attitudes and actions to these norms. These norms can also ensure a supportive environment for all antidiscrimination interventions, ensuring their long-term effects that are otherwise impossible to attain. The power of norms has been identified in many different social contexts and it also revealed to have a connection with antigypsyism within the PolRom project.
Norms can effectively counter antigypsyism with the recognition that antigypsyism emerges in three predominant forms: (1) endorsement of blatantly expressed traditional negative stereotypes; (2) the denial of prejudice; and (3) the absence of cultural recognition. Therefore, only those norms can be effective against antigypsyism that simultaneously dismantle old stereotypes, promote the value of diversity and non-discrimination, but do not use a colourblind approach.
Considering the scope of the problem of antigypsyism, stakeholders need to support systematic institutionalized interventions to directly address the structural problems and offer institutional support for interventions, educate various professional groups, enable intergroup contact through desegregation policies in housing, labour market and education, but also encourage the implementation of smaller scale interventions that address individual level change, such as the introduction of innovative school methods and curricula and the work of NGOs. Importantly, they need to support interventions with scientific foundations that also respond to local needs, as neither theory, nor practice can provide solutions alone.
The work of NGOs is essential in reducing antigypsyism in society. However, their engagement represents different levels of interventions from small-scale local projects to large international programmes and address problems on different levels (individual, intergroup and societal). Therefore, specific recommendations cannot fit the work of all NGOs, but our toolkit can offer something for all NGOs working in the area of reducing antigypsyism and Roma inclusion. NGOs have the responsibility and the potential to rely both on scientific knowledge and grassroots experiences in particular social settings and local communities. Taking into account that the applicability of interventions is strongly context dependent, in the following, we highlight the most important general suggestions for NGOs:
The project “Identifying evidence-based methods to effectively combat discrimination of the Roma in the changing political climate of Europe” (Grant. No. 808062 — PolRom — REC-AG-2017/REC-RDIS-DISC-AG-2017) is funded by the Justice programme of the European Union (2014-2020).