28 May 2004
MADRID – A senior government education adviser was forced to make an embarrassing apology Friday for “unfortunate” comments about immigrants.
Carmen González, vice-president of the Education department, told the magazine Teaching that immigrants had “not come to study”.
She was reported as adding: “Something seems to happen with these gypsies. The child wants to go with his father in the lorry to the market to sell fruit.”
González then added: “I defend the right to ignorance. If the child does not want to study, he does not want to study.”
But she said later the comments were “unfortunate” and added: “Sorry to all those who might have felt offended by these comments”
She said: “The phrase about ignorance is unfortunate and I withdraw it.”
But with regard to comments about gypsy children not attending school, she said “absenteeism is a recognised problem among gypsy families which is a cultural thing”.
“There are boys of 17 or 18 who want to enter the world of work. If I condemn them to be in an educational system, I would condemn them to a personal problems,” she added.
González refused to resign over the comments, despite demands from some Left-wing politicians and unions.
She said sometimes, during long interviews, colloquial language could be taken out of context.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news