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Post-reading Activity

Task 1. Explain in other words what the following things mean.

    1. to share one or more characteristics

    2. to lose much of the distinctiveness of…

    3. to retain one’s language

    4. to define oneself as…

    5. to exist on the economic margins

    6. to face hostility and discrimination

    7. to encourage such an outcome

Task 2. Choose the best ending.

  1. An ethnic group is made up of the people who…

  1. grow up rooted in some soil or some community.

  2. who are bound to one another by a common birthplace.

  3. who share one or more characteristics which make them different from other groups.

  1. Most members of ethnic groups long established in the US…

    1. have been moving into the mainstream of American life.

    2. are no longer designated as outsiders.

    3. have lost much of the distinctiveness of their culture.

  1. Racial prejudice and discrimination against the African-Americans, Chinese, Native Americans…

    1. no longer exist in the US as they used to be.

    2. tend to vanish gradually.

    3. have often meant that many members of those groups have been

forced. to live and work in narrow sectors of American life.

  1. Since the 1950s Black Americans…

    1. have been living on reservations or moving outside.

    2. have been suffering systematic economic or social disadvantages.

    3. have been moving into the mainstream of American life.

  1. In the past many minority groups…

    1. faced hostility and discrimination.

    2. worked and lived in narrow sectors of American life.

    3. overcame the barriers that confronted them.

Task 3. Read the poem “Prospective Immigrants Please Note” by Adrienne Rich and explain in your own words who it is addressed to and what the author means to say by its lines.

Prospective immigrants please note Adrienne Rich

Either you will

go through this door or

you will not go through.

If you go through

there is always the risk

of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly

and you must look back

and let them happen.

If you do not go through

it is possible

to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes

to hold your position

to die bravely

but much will blind you,

much will evade you,

at what cost who knows?

The door itself

makes no promises.

It is only a door.

Task 4. Answer the following question.

What does “the door” in the poem symbolize?

T E X T 3

Pre-reading Activity

One minority group that has suffered from prejudice in many countries has been gypses. Why are gypses wanted out in many countries?

Reading Activity

Skim two stories and give your headlines to them.

1. As, after centuries of persecution, about 400,000 European gypsies died in concentration camps because the Nazis decided they were antisocial and criminal, talk of the inherent idleness of gypsies is considered to be in poor taste in polite circles.

In 1993 Vladimir Meciar, the Slovak Prime Minister, demanded the cutting of child benefits to gypsies to limit “the reproduction of socially inadaptable and mentally retarded people”.

Slovak villages have imposed curfews on gypsies and there have been numerous attacks culminating in the death of a 17-year-old who was burned alive in July last year.

In Austria six months earlier a mock gravestone was placed near the former Lackenbach concentration camp which held gypsies before they were sent to Auschwitz. Its inscription told gypsies to go back to India. When four gypsies tried to tear it down, a bomb exploded killing them all. Skinheads beat up mourners who gathered by the bomb site. The police did not intervene.

Rallies in the Bulgarian capital Sofia have meanwhile seen banners reading “Turn Gypsies into soap”. Gypsies have been expelled from Bulgarian villages, burnt out of their homes and allegedly tortured to death in police stations. On one occasion last year, in the town of Rakitova, four gypsies were shot and 15 beaten in a co-ordinated armed assault by police and Bulgarian residents.

The depressing detail of how in country after country many would welcome the expulsion of gypsies can be found in an exhaustive report which will be released by Jewish Policy Research (JPR) next week. It draws comparisons with attitudes towards the Jews in the 1930s – which are no less true for being obvious.

A European Union without borders should appeal to gypsies, who have never had much time for the frontier posts and passports of the nation state. But the EU, in spite of showing concern about the treatment of gypsies in the East, had made it clear it does not want them roaming around Fortress Europe.

Germany, which has still not compensated the gypsy victims of Nazi sterilization programs, initially treated the flood of gypsy refugees from the violence in the post-communist states harshly. Gypsies were forced to live rough in Rostock where they were subsequently beaten up by neo-fascist rioters. But Germany soon decided it did not want gypsy asylum seekers on any terms. Between 40,000 and 50,000 have been deported since 1992. Some may have been looking for work in the rich West. Yet Germany has not granted one gypsy refugees status.

Britain, too, classes gypsies as bogus asylum-seekers and in the 1994 Criminal Justice Act made it virtually impossible for native gypsies to move around. The Act removed the obligation on councils to provide permanent sites for gypsies, thus forcing them on to the road. At the same time it ruled that any gathering of six or more vehicles in a field, wood or on a verge was a mass trespass which could result in three months in prison.

Who are the gypsies? The grim answer is that they are the victims of the greatest and least reported human rights scandal in Europe.

2. The way Jane Buckley protects her life and property is not much different to the method used by America’s Wild West frontiersmen.

Her compound in Willingham, Cambridgeshire, is circular and the doors of her three caravans face away from the compound’s entrance. From there, a narrow, gravel path opens on to enemy territory.

The largest caravan is used for cooking, eating and watching television. The others which are less modern, serve as bedrooms for herself and her three daughters. The compound resembles a farmyard: chickens peck, roosters strut and a sand-coloured dog warms himself in the sun.

Last week the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Mrs. Buckley is not entitled to remain here against the wishes of Willingham district council, even though she owns the land. The council claims that, under planning laws, the caravans are an eyesore, detracting from the rural and open quality of the area.

Willingham feels itself under siege by gypsies. At meetings of Neighbourhood Watch, villagers have waved fists, called for vigilantes and the “burning-out” of travelers.

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