Madonna?

Madonna steps right into the old hatred in Eastern Europe for the Gypsies. With few Jews left to hate in most Eastern European countries (the Holocaust reduced the number of Jews in Poland from 3 million before the war to about 2,000 today), the focus of hatred is often the Roma. Believe me, the prejudice is open and nasty.

We saw open prejudice against minorities in Poland. For instance, we befriended a black man in the hallway of our dormitory. He was from Ethiopia and had been brought in to Warsaw under the communists to get an education. When the revolution happened in 1989, he was sort of stranded in Warsaw.

Anyway, when we were invited to a party of Polish students up a few floors, we thought nothing of bringing our friend Jim along. Bad move. When he came through the door, there were audible groans and a few people put their heads in their hands. I asked later if they didn't like Jim specifically and a Polish student said, no, we just don't like black people.

Later on, we were informed by a tenured professor that the Jews continue to be the source of all of Poland's economic problems.

Yes, those two thousand remaining Jews must be pretty good at rabble-rousing.

Then, we heard a Gypsy band at a restaurant. We were informed by our professors that we were not to pay them any attention or they would hassle us. But I couldn't help clapping after their great music. Then, of course, they wanted tips. Our Polish professor shook his head and said "Who has brought down this disaster upon us?"

Fairly minor, I suppose. The Gypsies are indeed adept swindlers. But they are marginalized and hated throughout much of Europe, and when violence breaks out against them, nobody seems to care, as evidenced by the famous case a couple of years ago where a Gypsy child drowned on an Italian beach and people just walked around the body for quite some time before anybody called the authorities.