The woman is the same age as I am. We don’t know each other.
I tell her about my preconceptions, the attitudes that were handed off through generations.
She knows them in her skin. She knows how it feels to lie to her own child, tell her at a grocery store that guards follow them only “because they like us so much”.

In 1917, when Finland got independent, Finnish Romani were given full citizenship. Though the 10 000 people minority has left their vagabond lifestyle decades ago and is living as any Finns, the lack of interaction between people still allows all the preconceptions continue spreading. Robbers and thieves, troublemakers; the story has remained the same for 500 years.

Finland has gained good reputation in stability, equality, safety and even happiness.
What does it even mean, if it doesn’t apply to you?

Why don’t we get to know each other?

2016 - ongoing / published in Suomen Kuvalehti

© Saara Mansikkamäki 2021