Well, John D rather "took his ball home", closing the previous thread after some racist comments were taken down.
But I think that thread highlighted to me that as a community we DO need to discuss this further. In particular, given some of the (frankly) ignorance displayed, I think we should discuss whether anything could be done to improve relations with the traveller community. For example I think it would do a lot to change perceptions if a local traveller (or perhaps somebody from a body that represents them) posted here about their community, explaining a bit about who they are, where they typically set up camp, the problems they face. Its amazing how much harder it is to be hostile to people once they have a face and a name.
Is that a good idea/bad idea? Am I being hopelessly naive? If its a good idea does anybody have any relevant contacts? Is there anything else we could do?
Conscious that there were some posters on the previous thread who seemed much more knowledgeable than me, so maybe they can help.
Bracing myself to be shot down in flames...
However the proposal here is that it would be good to have a contribution on this site from a representative of the Traveler community, perhaps if it was someone who is already campaigning around some of the issues mentioned then it would be useful to gain an understanding of the underlying issues leading to disagreements.
Unfortunately Antionette, this is the reality, and for those that believe otherwise are deluded. About two years ago I put a number of facts about traveller lifestyle (nothing racist, or could not be found on Wiki) including the disproportional infant mortality rate, but the post was removed, so I won't bother again. For those in support of such a lifestyle, well, I'll say no more.
It doesn't matter a fig whether you or anyone else "support" their "lifestyle". I might as well say that I don't support being French.
Yeah, and I'm sure nobody in your school ever picked in the traveller kids.
You're joking surely! No one went anywhere near them. You don't poke a snarling tiger in the eye.
I find it difficult to believe you were all paragons of open-armed tolerance, but I'm sure you'll tell me otherwise. Obviously I can't speak specifically about your school, but I would suggest that there is two sides to the integration problem, as demonstrated by the hostility and bigotry displayed by certain people on this site.
Have you really any evidence to support your contention that the travelling community want to integrate?
I don't think I've made that contention. My point is that it's easy to say "they don't want to integrate" and blame it on "them" (as I believe you were doing), when in fact there might be a fair amount of hostility both ways.
I know a Traveller family who were next door neighbours a couple of years ago, then had to move out of London because the landlord wanted to turn the house into separate flats, but have recently come back to a different house nearby.
They have been the best of neighbours, talking to people and always disposing of rubbish properly. The kids have faced racism from other children but are well-behaved and considerate.
I suggest you read the other thread, which will address some of your misconceptions. I don't think anybody has been suggesting that setting up camp in local parks is a desirable outcome (for anyone), but it's hardly surprising that it happens when proper traveller sites are not being provided as required by law.
Friends Families and Travellers should be able to provide you with relevant information re: the issues faced by all kinds of Travellers.