Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu

Day 198 – Beyond racism or discrimination


I was supposed to write something fun today, but what happened to me was too much to just let it be and not share. These last couple of weeks we have been looking for a babysitter to spend a few hours a week with our daughter. I gathered some contacts, made some phone calls and set some meetings.

Yesterday my phone rang and at the end of the line this person was asking me for some further information about the job. Although the conversation was held in English, the woman was Italian.

“- I am interested to know more about the babysitting job. How many hours and how old is the child?

– Sure; my daughter is two years old and I just need someone for a few hours a week while she naps because on some days during that time I have to teach. Would you like to set a meeting and talk about it, this way you can meet my daughter too and get a better idea?

– Yes, yes, but I have only one question. Um, I couldn’t understand exactly, um, what is your nationality?

– I am Romanian.

– Um, yes, um, well in this case I am sorry, but I have to say no.

At this point I was shocked.

– No problem, but may I ask why?

– Um, you see, um, Romanians come here to our country to babysit our children and not the other way around. Um, I am sure you can understand it would be a great offence if I would take the job and…

– Listen, you better stop now while you are ahead. I understand. Thank you for your call. Good bye.”

I stared at the phone for several minutes, shocked and disgusted. I said to myself this is not possible, this call hasn’t happened and I am just dreaming about this awful thing. Unfortunately, this did happen and it was all very true. I have faced a lot of racist remarks ever since I am in this country, but this one beats them all. I believe children have no nationality, because children are just children. You cannot judge an innocent child by their race, color or anything else and that should go for any human being for that matter, but that’s a totally different, long argument. I know this is just part of those bad twigs all nations have in their forest and I don’t want to generalize the situation in any way, because I love this country and the people in it, which is why I have decided to start a family here, to raise my child here and to bring my contribution to make this country’s and especially this city’s value known everywhere, and maybe that is why this call made me so sad. The only thing I am happy about is that she opened that mouth of hers before welcoming her into my house, before her being around my daughter.

About the author

Ela Vasilescu

I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.

Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.

If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.

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By Ela Vasilescu
Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu