It’s not much of this persecution and discrimination history looming in Ana’s story. Her Roma affiliation seems essentially thwarted. Ana’s Roma-hood emerges mostly indirectly – as something she shies away from trying to hide. However, as there are some traces of bygone days of thinking and imagery in Ana’s way to describe the Roma and the Roma situation, we have reason to come back to it in the following.
In Ana’s story the Roma affiliation is a double anomaly – distinct from both the Hungarian and Swedish. It is designed and treated as an anomaly both in Hungary and in Sweden. Living in Sweden has its own problems, but based on experiences of visiting relatives and friends in Hungary, she draws the conclusion that Sweden, as compared to Hungary, is a much more tolerant society: “compared to Hungary, it’s totally different”. Above all, she describes the situation of the Roma in Hungary as very precarious, “you can feel sorry for them, for those who go to work and contribute to the Hungarian society. They suffer and suffer from racism to an extreme. They kill them [the Roma] and they beat them, and afterwards they are exposed to a very extreme racism, I can say.”
Ana describes consistently the Roma as They. They are not her. Even if she is not They, she feels sympathy for them. It’s bad for them, she claims, as They are subjected to extreme stigmatization. According to Ana, the situation is completely different in Sweden. “It’s much easier to be here. […] It’s so multicultural here in Sweden, so you don’t feel it [the stigmatization] so much.” At the same time, she describes a very different Sweden, where there is prejudice and discrimination – particularly towards Roma. When growing up, she was marked out and treated as being Romani: “I was the only girl in the entire school with a foreign background. […] It was really hard to be in school […].” It turned out to be harder to be accepted than she had expected.
“I spoke English in school as I didn’t know any Swedish at all […] I felt that, okay, now I’m in Sweden, now I can be as open as I wish to be, so I told a girl that my dad was Roma and so. Then she told me that I shouldn’t tell anyone else in school. […] So I didn’t tell anyone else, for I was like okay, then I like to keep quiet about it. There, however, are of course those perhaps less well suburbs or what to say, villages and such so it may be that they are a little more… like ‘now we will not have foreign here and so’. Thus they had in themselves not in mind that I was Hungarian, but I was just Roma.”
Here she describes the challenge to position herself in relation to how people [in Sweden] imagine Roma people. Her strategy has been to avoid telling people about her Roma background. When she speaks about herself, she clearly distances herself from what she describes as “typical Roma people.” “I’m not raised as a typical Roma girl, so to say. You can see if a person is Roma. But me, I don’t think people can see that I’m Roma.” She thus makes a distinction between “Roma” and “Roma people” – the typical Roma people and the few Roma people like herself.
Ana goes on talking about other situations, when she was ashamed that she had to be in the admiring glances. Ambient constant watching responses forcing her, like many other Roma , to develop different strategies – to hide, to avoid talking about her affiliation and to position herself as non-Roma [20,21]. The desire to escape ambient judgmental looks is familiar with Fanon’s description of the colonized person’s self-image.
“I slip into corners, and my long antennae pick up the catch-phrases strewn over the surface of things – nigger underwear smells of nigger – nigger teeth are white – nigger feet are big – the nigger’s barrel chest – I slip into corners, I remain silent, I strive for anonymity, for invisibility. Look, I will accept the lot, as long as no one notices me! […] Shame. Shame and self-contempt. Nausea. When people like me, they tell me it is in spite of my color. When they dislike me, they point out that it is not because of my color. Either way, I am locked into the infernal circle.” 
The essential difference between Fanon’s colonized negro and Ana is that she can pass as a non-Roma, if she is not self-disclosing her Roma origin. Negro skin color is black and - on the contrary - always visible. There is no way to get rid of it, other than to annihilate itself – and become white. The same applies to the “typical” Roma, whose appearance and manner of dress makes them easy to identify with the naked eye. Just because Ana has chosen to never talk about her Roma origin. She does not want to risk ending up in a situation where everyone in the environment observes and identifies her as Rom and interprets everything she does from her Roma-hood. She has chosen to be non-Roma.
Based on the position of non-Roma, Ana chisels herself away from being the typical Roma. When she describes the typical Roma person, a well-established stereotype emerges: the self-excluded, passive Roma, who does not wish to work and who uses the system: “Most of the time, among Roma people, they use the Swedish system. […] They do not like to work. And that’s how it has been since generations.” It is again the image of the Roma that parasites that is portrayed . Ana describes an almost ancestral mentality that in itself helps to restore Romas’ existence in the margins of society . In Ana’s story she describes ‘Roma’ as a single ethno-cultural collective. The picture is rough and homogenizing. By describing herself as an atypical Roma she emerges as a free individual, while they [the Roma] appear to be more dependent and deeply rooted in discrimination.
“It’s so deep inside them, since generations back […] your parents’ way of life and their view on society influence you so much, how they live, but it could also be due to them having been through so much discrimination and such from society. […] They have discriminated [against] me because I’m Roma, so why should I contribute to anything?”
In relation to this characterization of the typical Roma person, she positions herself as being well-adapted to Swedish society. “I feel that I adapt quite well to society. I do not think it is so different from, for example, when I go out on the town in Sweden or how I am in town as well, so I do not think there is any difference at all.” As a Hungarian, she feels not particularly different, because she does not behave particularly different or look particularly different. Her biggest problem though, is to be related to those who she does not wish to adapt.
“I’m bunched together with those who do not wish to live as Swedish citizens, and it’s I who have to suffer from it, and I don’t want my children to suffer from it.”
In her understanding of citizenship, the citizen is characterized in a particular way as bearer of rights and duties. Even if she herself is not yet fully seen as Swedish, she is still a Swedish citizen, and as such she is a bearer of certain rights. As a citizen it is also, she points out, a question of following laws and regulations, ie to fulfil one’s duties: The citizen is chiseled out as representing what the Roma is not – as contributing to the society by training and acquiring work.
“It’s important for me as a Swedish citizen to have rights; that I have the same rights as a Swede has, who has Swedish origin. That means a lot, and I believe everyone should enjoy the same rights, no matter from where one comes, and if one comes to Sweden and becomes a Swedish citizen you should have the same rights, but at the same time follow the Swedish laws. If you live in the Swedish society, you follow their laws, and then you are granted the same rights. There are some who use the Swedish society, who wish to have the same rights as a Swede does, at the same time, as they do not really follow the laws.”
Here, Ana construes belonging through difference. She does not belong to the category ‘of Swedish origin’, or the category of those who use the Swedish system. She is somewhere in the middle – neither one nor the other; neither “We” nor “Them”. She describes herself as belonging to the Swedish society by distancing herself from being one of “Them” – those who use the system – but not based on the same principle as being “We” – Swedes with a Swedish origin. Thus, Ana construes Roma and Swedes as rather homogenous, ethno-cultural groups, with herself freely negotiating between them, in an in-between position. The problem is, once again, that some people demand their rights as citizens without fulfilling their duties. Thus, she argues that people immigrating to Sweden need to “pitch in more”, show gratitude, and earn their citizens’ rights.
“I really believe that they should pitch in more than a Swede, because a Swede is always a Swede. […] Show gratitude, thank you so much for letting me live here and be part of the Swedish society.”
For this reason, she can also understand how it is that more and more have chosen to vote for a xenophobic party Sweden Democrats, who built much of his popularity and his success that in many respects to highlight the multicultural society problems and to portray party as the restoration of a lost welfare state, a Sweden that was still Sweden.
“They have no right to what is absolutely not, but yes, I can understand that they think that why should my country to receive you and you will be part of my society and my society will support you and your family and you should as well go and do criminal things, and so on and not, absolutely not contribute to society? So I can understand that the mind arises of Swedes then.”
In Ana’s story there is a duality in the way of relating to the multicultural Sweden: on the one hand, the diversity which makes it easier for her to stay in Sweden than for example in Hungary, but on the other hand transformed Sweden through an increasing diversity of Swedes which are not Swedes.
“Sweden is a multicultural society. Sometimes I even think that it shouldn’t be called Sweden anymore, because you look so to speak, barely Swedes, especially in the city.”
Ana seems to be eternally grateful that she is allowed to stay in Sweden and be a part of Swedish society. She is also really keen to do the right thing. The rationality is the same as the one that Fanon describes in the Jean Veneuse, the main character in the novel Un Homme pareil aux autres: a black man, born in the Antilles but long accommodation in Bordeaux, “He accepts the drinks, but he buys others in return. He does not wish to be obligated to anyone. For if he does not buy back, he is a nigger, as ungrateful as all the others.” [1:58] As Veneuse, what Ana wants is not to be seen as one of them, the ingrates, those who do not even consider themselves to have a debt to repay. She would rather have earned their rights – and she wants the world to know it.
In Ana’s story, there is a graded citizenship emerging in which citizens’ rights are directly linked to belonging to the national society. The relationship between being “Swedish” and being an “immigrant” is one-directional and hierarchical. “A Swede is always a Swede”, and always has the right to put demands on those who have immigrated, while the reverse is not allowed . In relation to the previously mentioned pressure of “paying back” what one has received, Ana’s “gratefulness” is also oriented toward the future in Sweden.
“I want to help people … I want to work with people and I want to help them and contribute to society in the way that I feel that I’m helping them.”
Besides from performing a kind of reactive response of gratefulness, or paying back, the distinction between we and them appears, where Ana wants to be part of “us”, and help “them” to be the same as “us”. The entrance ticket to the society is that of paying back, which is pulled forth in terms of helping and care-taking, in order to show her gratefulness toward (the Swedish) society. To help other people is to do the right thing. And this is what she wants to help them to do and to want-to-do. Ana wants other people to follow her good example in developing this helping desire in the future.
“During my 24 years I have always been a person who has listened. I am not the kind person, kind of, who goes and asks people about things, but someone that people come to and like talking to about their worries, and I love it, I like to listen to others’ troubles and like to comment and help with words and my experience, and linking it to their problems, and I like to say to them that this is how I did, or how my parents did, you may be able to test it, and kind of do so.”
She finds her experiences and desires to be exemplary also for others: do like me, follow me. The future, as portrayed by her, is a kind of return to a vanished Sweden, a pure and ordering place in the past, where Sweden was still Sweden. Ironically, it was precisely this order of sincerity and ideals that permeated people like her historically and that keeps her locked out today. Yet she chooses to re-establish this tragic pattern – and wants to get others to follow in her footsteps.