As I grew up in a mixed community in Subotic in Kosovo I was aware from an early age that our Roma neighbors were discriminated against just because they were Roma. In some cases our Roma neighbors were better educated than the non-Roma but that did nothing to change the negative perceptions of the majority.
In the mid-nineteenth century in his Histoire de France, Jules Michelet wrote that France is “the moral ideal of the world” and ruminated that “no doubt every great nation represents an idea important to the human race. But great God! How much more true this is of France.” France’s long cherished self-image as the source of enlightenment, a republic where history is glorious and reason reigns supreme, has taken something of a thrashing since 2010, not least due to the publicity generated by its treatment of Roma.