Friday, April 25, 2008

Is Gypsy a racist word?


I was just accused of being racist. That hurts. A lot. Here's the deal. In a radio interview on The Brian Lehrer Show I was talking about racism in Spain and made a comment about gypsies being at the receiving end of some of the worst racist treatment in Spain.

I used the term gypsy more than once during the interview. Well, according to one of the listeners on the show who wrote in a comment, gypsy is a racist word and as a Black woman talking about racism I ought to know better than to use the term gypsy instead of the correct term, Roma people. I am paraphrasing but that was the gist of the complaint.

I have two things to say. First, I admit it hands down that I did not know, had no idea really that gypsy was considered a racist term. So I say thank you to the listener for educating me. Incidentally, my treatment towards the "Roma" people I have met has never been racist, which should be the real litmus test of deciding whether I am a racist. My sister-in-law in Spain is practically engaged to a member of the Roma people so I have had the benefit of learning a lot about their culture first-hand. As always I love learning about the people in Spain who slip under the radar of the Spanish image sold here Stateside.

Interestingly, in a random internet search I could not find much that declared gypsy to in fact be a racist word. Indeed, organizations which work to fight racism around the world like Human Rights Watch, use the term gypsy in their literature. As do other organizations like Workers'Liberty who wrote this article examining the racist treatment "gypsies" receive in England. All this to say, Gypsy probably is considered a racist word by some. It clearly hasn't become common knowledge to the masses. Now that I know better I will try to erase it from my vocabulary.

But the other thing is, it irks the $#!@ out of me when people assume/expect that because I am a Black person, I should be aware of every single injustice ever done unto an oppressed people. Of course I am sympathetic and want to know more about anyone who is suffering in this world, but why am I held up to this unrealistic expectation of being superRACE sister? I wish I was that knowledgeable, but I'm not and have never ever claimed to be. Can we find ways to educate one another without insulting and criticizing?

And questions for you: Did you know gypsy was a racist term? Does anyone know the origin of the term? And are all "gypsies" really Roma people?

Thanks for the input people.

Happy Friday.

(Image is titled: Gypsy Sisters of Seville, by artist John Phillip.)

51 comments:

glamah16 said...

News to me it was a racist term. I knew of the term Roma, etc and some history.Sometimes peopel get more wrapped up the politicaly correct terms than actual racsism.I hate it too when people assume because your black you should''now better". Anyway dont swat it. If your sister inlaw never corrected you then let it roll off. Obviuosly the person just had a beef.

Anonymous said...

I'm Romani Gypsy. I don't think that is a racist word. Not more racist than French used instead Francais or Russian instead Russky. That's just the name of our people in English.
If you like our people, our name is like music for you. If you hate us, every of our names, even Roma, will be bad for you.

Lilith Mazikina.

Anonymous said...

Im also Romany Gypsy and no I dont see the use of Gypsy as Racist, after all thats what we are. ""All Romny are Gypsy but all Gypsy arent Romany"

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

From what I understand it is not a racist term.

Anonymous said...

Official records first noticed Gypsies in Europe about six hundred years ago as the Byzantine Empire was collapsing. They called themselves the 'Lords of Little Egypt'. It is quite likely that Little Egypt is the area of the world we still call Asia Minor (Little Asia) which was the first part of Byzantium to fall to the Ottoman Turks. These exotic refugees were therefore called Egyptians, which in English has become Gypsy, a name which has stuck to many of their descendants throughout the world today. A racist word? Certainly 'Gyppo' is regarded as abusive. The French 'Tsigane' and the German 'Zigeuner' seem to come from a Byzantine word meaning 'untouchable' and might therefore qualify as abusive. But are we not stuck with the problem that, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so racism is in the mind of the speaker or listener?

FraudTech said...

The term "Gypsy" has garnered a very negative connotation through the years and is commonly used when referring to the criminal element within Romani society. All Gypsies are Romany, but as far as members of the criminal groups are concerned, not all Roma are Gypsies. The catch 22 here comes when honest Roma, who seek to gain recognition, commit themselves to an attempt to sanitize the word Gypsy. As such, it's not uncommon to see honest Roma contradicting themselves by saying the word Gypsy is both racist and at the same time acceptable.

The usual trend is that if you say something negative about Gypsies, then you're a racist. If you have something good to say, then it's an acceptable term. None of this makes it easy to discuss anything related to the Romany people--and that's a shame because they have much to offer.

Nikeshia W. said...

Here is what a quick search got me:

"This ethnonym is not used by the Roma to describe themselves, and is often considered pejorative (as is the term "gyp", meaning "to cheat", a reference to the suspicion the Roma engendered). However, the use of "Gypsy" in English is now so pervasive that many Roma organizations use the word Gypsy in their own names."

I was under the impression that the term had a negative connotation and wasn't necessarily a term of endearment but I only learned that through an experience similar to yours. I never gave it too much thought, but I do make it a point to substitute it for another word.

Mr. Valery Novoselsky said...

Join this discussion on http://www.idebate.org/discussion/view_topic.php?id=1891&forum_id=54

Me said...

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments here. I don't think there is a "yes" or "no" answer as to whether Gypsy is a racist word or not. But if some people find the word offensive, that's enough for me to censor my own usage of the word, perhaps bring the issue up in conversation, BUT not correct other people or tell them it's inappropriate. There doesn't seem to be enough consensus from the Roma community or elsewhere for that yet.

But at the end of the day, I feel enlightened and informed and for that I'm grateful.

Keep your mind open, right?

Peace Party People.

Sarah said...

I, too, had never heard "gypsy" as a negative, racist, or pejorative term. I have, however, been told that "gyp" is classically racist, as it assigns a negative behavior as originating with a certain group of people. It would be like saying, "Yeah, and then she got all Jew-y with the check and refused to leave a big tip." (Which isn't far off from what people have said to me on occasion.)

Thanks for writing about this.

FraudTech said...

In response to Sarah, you are correct in noting that the word gyp carries a negative connotation. The word itself is not without history because everyday thousands of people (mostly senior citizens) are gypped (cheated, conned, or otherwise victimized) by groups of people who choose to call themselves Gypsies. Would be nice if they chose a different term, but they don't, and reality is often very uncomfortable but nevertheless a reality.

It is also important to keep in mind that Gypsy is not a race designation. The proper designation is Romani. So to say that someone is jew'y, reflects on an entire culture, whereas to say someone was gypped only reflects on the criminal element within the Romani culture. And regardless of what nationality we are, we all have a criminal element.

If this seems complicated, it's only because it is!

Anonymous said...

I think that, when viewed as a pejorative term (which is often), "gypsy" is considered "ethnicist" rather than "racist." (Although, Romani peoples have certainly been made subject to and violated as a result of b.s. race theorizes, like, for example, by the Nazis.) Regardless, I know some American Romanis who call themselves Gypsies.

Anonymous said...

Hello again. (I posted the comment above.) I just came across the following in the New York Times.

"On Saturday, several hundred Italians attacked a camp of Roma, or Gypsies, on the eastern outskirts of Naples brandishing sticks and throwing homemade incendiary devices, after a 16-year-old Roma girl was accused of trying to steal a baby. The police were called to restore order and no one was injured, but the episode led national news programs."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/16/world/europe/16italy.html

Dani said...

Hell friends, I am a United States representitive for NRADO or National Romani Anti-Discrimination Organization. We are a media watch group and helps bring this very issue to peoples attention and offers education on the subject. We contact people who we feel misuse the term of who commit an offense against the ROmani people. What we find is that most people do not know and it shouldn't be assumed that you do. Anyone who knows anything about the culture, knows that it has been a very guarded and secretive culture that until very recently, information was not available on. Here is the deal with the term Gypsy. It came from when a group of people fled India 1000 years ago and were thought to have been Egyptians which we now know were the people we call Romani or Gypsy today. The Romani people are a persecuted race and the older generations do not like the term Gypsy or dont tell people they are Gypsy because people sterotype them or are discriminating. Or there are the others that think that GYpsies are people who like to travel and tell fortunes and don't realize that it is a culture with a flag and its own language. So there is a large group out there who say do not use the term Gypsy and there are some like myself and some very distinguished members of the Romani community who feel that it isn't the word we have a problem with but the image that it brings and that changing the term isnt the answer but changing the image is. What we like to tell people is this. The term Gypsy denotes a world wide ethnic group NOT a way of life. It is always better to refer to the Gypsy people as Romani as even the people who use the term, only do it within the culture and don't like Gadje or outsiders to refer to them as such. The best way I can explain this to you is to compare it to your culture. If the N word is used by 2 African Americans, it is ok with them, but when used by a caucasion is it bad. Some don't like the term Black and some don't like colored. So it is always just safe to say African American. Also with hispanic vs. mexican. The same goes for our culture. I hope this was helpful to all of you. Baxtal Drom! Dani

Martin said...

Hi! I am half Rom and half white, I do find the term gypsy offensive and it is definitely used by my racist non-gyspsy relatives as a racist term. Yes, Roma are a race so the term is racist not "ethnicist" as another person wrote.

Tamara said...

Greetings my sister, I am a tribal Rromani and do not find what you said offensive. In fact I feel sad that the good Rromani I am sure did not see the intent of what you were doing above the potential political incorrectness. I do agree with Dani and from my own expereinces growing up with thousands of Rromani, "we" do not call ourselves "Gypsy" . If we do it is either because we feel we have to in order for people to recognise whom we are speaking about (like for example telling someone what nationality you are)as many in America non Rromanis do not recognise the actual word "Rromani". Many times they think we are saying Romanian or thought that Gypsies were mythilogical. Some of the less educated American Rroma also use the word and even can call themselves Gypsies or believe that is there name in English but it only is apperent to those who do know the authentic history how badly even some tribal Rroma have been taken from their own awareness of there own history. It is sort of like those Rroma who would say among them selves "I am a Gypsy", is like an African American or Native American not really knowing that their name is not truly the N or I word; thats how bad it is. The aspect of doing our best to help inform the world little by little of our true race culture including our real "name", lol is wise in my feeling but to become "radical" about it, espeacially when we do not even have half the political awareness known about us as your great and beautiful race; is kina crazy. The funny part is; The actual pronounciation of our true name is not "Rromani" it is "Ghomani". The linguistics that developed our language in writing made the double rr sound that is really a "Gh" sound. Now ironically Romanian people are only hating our people more because they are believing people are assuming all "Gypsies" are "Romanians". Can you imagine? All this has done in reality is given them one more reason to kill us! As the grand daughter to one of the main offical leaders of the American Rromani, I thank you for helping to bring attention to our history and strive for freedom from persecution; it is an over 1000 year long over due climb and we need all the help we can get. No race is greater then any other, all humans have a right to express the individual beauty of each hue of the rainbow we as humans are; Black, red, yellow and white. Nais Tuka/ Thank you

Anonymous said...

Im a Gipsy, majority here in Finland thinks that "politically" right term is Romani. If you are speaking in public etc. use always word Romani.(used always in TV/radio, never ever gipsy!) Otherside everybody would correct your words.

If you are speaking to me personally use word gipsy or "mustalainen" thats the finnish name. I dont mind, cause I do notice the colour of your words how your talking..
"Mustalainen" basically means "blackie", "black ones" in english and some find that as an insulting word. Funny because Gipsyes here in Finland are from "kaalo/kaale" tribe, and that means black in english.
So maybe you could think that it is insulting cause you are not brother or sister of our tribe?
And oh yes Gipsy is not a way of life its siply a blood heritage.

Anyways. If you would like to show your intellectual side and dont want to step anybodys toes use word Romani. Atleast Romani is not a racist word!

Btw. great site to look at about us gipsys:

http://www.geocities.com/~patrin/

Gabe said...

Apparently, the term is considered very racist in the UK.

Years ago I was visiting the UK from Italy, and I was talking with a British friend of mine about gipsies - using the term to simply refer to the Roma people. A guy that was standing at a table next to ours got irritated, started spouting things like "racist" and "fascist", and the poor friend of mine got punched in the face.

I forgot all of that until today, in the UK again after many years, I was talking with someone about "egyptians making pizza" in Italy. A guy close to us started asking "gipsies? Someone's talking about gipsies?!?!?" and got all stirred up.

I promise I won't use it again, ever!

It's a pity though, in the 30's the term "gipsy" used to evoke poetic imagery of people living free lives - kinda like in the Chocolat movie...

Anonymous said...

What about the word gypsy as someone who wanders ... re new Shakira video. Where she calls herself a gypsy because she travels the world ( for her work). Not a reference to a people but more a descriptive noun.

Anonymous said...

I Am A Gypsy. And If Some One Says Are You A gypsy , No Its Not Racist. But When Someone Says You f@#$%$^& Gypsy Or Dam Gypsys .. Yes It Is Raciest.. So It Depend On How You See It I Guess.

Anonymous said...

I really don't see how it can be considered racist. There are a few cultures that fall under the term gypsy. Like was said earlier, all Romani are gypsy, but not all gypsy are Romani. Most gypsy people are very proud of their heritage and their ways and of course of their name.

Anonymous said...

I think if you read you will see how some people, many people find it a derogatory tittle. As was written;
1. If the word "Gypsy" got derived from the word Egyptian then that word got attached to our people the "Rromani" as a form of insult, accusation, stereo typing, incorrect perception of fact. Then in fact it is "not" a term of a wandering peoples with care free lifestyles at all but as the documentation of history shows it to be; a term of prejudice and innuendo. Anything other is a misconception of whatever fad wave got created.
3.If this fad was harmless or did not directly effect the daily lives of million of our people "today" trying to get free of any negative misconception this would not be an issue. If it did not influence the daily European neighbors, employers, educators authorities,media who influences public opinion etc., then it would not be bothered with as Rroma do not like in general that foolish way either, to make a big deal out of nothing.
4. Media created the idea of this fantasy version of our lifestyle, that is what we are trying to say, stand up about, our reason for asking the record to be corrected world wide. This is what all the huff is about and to why the present generations are going into new territory to communicate with the rest of the world about ourselves for the first time in history.We are aware there is enough conscious intelligence (we assume) to actually hear us this time!
The bits and pieces that the media got from us throughout history is just that, what they "think" they know. There is spiritual old customs for some, some not. There is a nomadic lifestyle for some but most not. There is an "essence" of what is thought of us but I can tell you first hand....it is much better then what you have been told.

Anonymous said...

5. It is not to say we are perfect or anything more special then any other beautiful race or multiple race person. All colors of our spieces are beautiful and I believe it is the difference of cultural belief systems that some people sometimes confuse their dislike of another with who is different then them; the color verses the culture. Our culture, way of life and or people are no more or less beautiful then any other it is just that it is "equally" beautiful and deserves a chance to exist in peace. The present generations and some of the elders believe; In today's world we have faith that once understood there will be a way for us to honor our culture and all others in positive solutions well deserving for all people's benefits and justice to right historical wrongs; all hues of the rainbow is significant to the whole of Creation.
6.The reason for this rising is because it is needed for our people to survive.."now".To thrive and not ever be again by others (outside of our race and culture) "confused" with a fantasy they have been taught to see, with the truth of what we all live as Rromani International citizens today.
7. To Fraud Tech, I do not know you but I found your comments to be for my witness incorrect or from an isolated incident you may have encountered, or perceived you did. Your words felt like there is something sinister about us (once again assumed), as you think we are not evolved enough to know the difference between sticking up for our human rights, asking for ourselves to not be easy targets from hate groups, asking for a chance to set the record straight so we can finally be heard,have the people finally "hear and see" what has been going on and see for themselves..who has been and is being persecuted and who exactly has been persecuting for exactly what reasons. To participate with the rest of our world and finally be free of this discrimination we ourselves have never known different from. You do not think we can tell the difference between that and spoiled brats who are unable to speak openly about their own wrongs, criminal element, dysfunction, whatever (that is no different then any other race)or are afraid to be truthful in regards to whom we are? So I ask you; I am a Rromani tribal member who has known and lived amongst thousand of Rromani and I can prove it...whom exactly are you and how do you know our people?

Anonymous said...

5. It is not to say we are perfect or anything more special then any other beautiful race or multiple race person. All colors of our species are beautiful and I believe it is the difference of cultural belief systems that some people sometimes confuse their dislike of another with who is different then them; the color verses the culture. Our culture, way of life and or people are no more or less beautiful then any other it is just that it is "equally" beautiful and deserves a chance to exist in peace. The present generations and some of the elders believe; In today's world we have faith that once understood there will be a way for us to honor our culture and all others in positive solutions well deserving for all people's benefits and justice to right historical wrongs; all hues of the rainbow is significant to the whole of Creation.
6.The reason for this rising is because it is needed for our people to survive.."now".To thrive and not ever be again by others (outside of our race and culture) "confused" with a fantasy they have been taught to see, with the truth of what we all live as Rromani International citizens today.

Anonymous said...

7. To Fraud Tech, I do not know you but I found your comments to be for my witness incorrect or from an isolated incident you may have encountered, or perceived you did. Your words felt like there is something sinister about us (once again assumed), as you think we are not evolved enough to know the difference between sticking up for our human rights, asking for ourselves to not be easy targets from hate groups, asking for a chance to set the record straight so we can finally be heard,have the people finally "hear and see" what has been going on and see for themselves..who has been and is being persecuted and who exactly has been persecuting for exactly what reasons. To participate with the rest of our world and finally be free of this discrimination we ourselves have never known different from. You do not think we can tell the difference between that and spoiled brats who are unable to speak openly about their own wrongs, criminal element, dysfunction, whatever (that is no different then any other race)or are afraid to be truthful in regards to whom we are? So I ask you; I am a Rromani tribal member who has known and lived amongst thousand of Rromani and I can prove it...whom exactly are you and how do you know our people?

Rebe said...

FraudTech got it backwards. All Roma are Gypsies, but not all Gypsies are Roma. Example- Pavee's are Gypsy, but they are not Roma. Actually, pretty much everything FraudTech said is garbage. It seems like it is coming from someone who thinks they know about us, but has no real firsthand experience with Roma.

In all honesty, the only folk I have ever heard consider it racist are Roma who didn't "grow up traditional" so-to-speak..Meaning folk who are Rom by blood, but not raised in our culture, and are hyper-sensitive about anything involving us. As well as Romany activists. I tend to liken them to politics 'radical far left' - petty and out-of-touch with the mainstream (for those assuming I'm republican, I want to note I am an independent with left leanings..thank you very much). And this is more of a recent issue..Like within the past decade, I never heard of anyone having any issues with the word when I was younger..
We don't really use the word amoungst ourselves, for a number of reasons, but not cos it's racist..more often simply because it is not what we are. Would you call yourself white, if you were not white?

I use it often simply because I am in America and most American's don't really know what, or who, a Gypsy really is. When I use the words Roma or Romany, they immediately think of Italy or Romania....The frustration I hear of most often from my brother's and sister's.
It just adds confusion when trying to teach people about us, especially because most often the moment I am presented with to teach someone is too quick to get into details without sounding preachy or boring them.

One note- It should always be written with a capitol 'G.' It is a title, after all.

I take issue with Gabe's remark about it being a pity because in the 30's it evoked poetic imagery of people living free lives It must be noted that the term was originally coined for, and has always been used in reference to, Roma. The idea that it is a lifestyle has long been a stereotype that we have tried to get rid of, and we severely can't stand people who dress like hippies and go around calling themselves Gypsy. They look, and act, like uneducated fools. Trust me, I'm holding my tongue. They are one of my biggest pet peeves, and I am, by far, not in the minority with that opinion.

And in re to the song by shakira, it has a racist undertone. Normally I would chalk it up to simply not knowing, but she has a spanish version of the song titled "Gitana". The word Gitana does not come with the same confusion as "Gypsy." If you know the word, you know who Roma are, so she definately knows who we are, and still chose to use racist stereotypes in her lyrics.

I know there are activists who would disagree with some of what I said, but to be frank, I don't really care. I am also an activist, founder and President of the Opre Foundation. I come from a long line of Romany activists. And I, for one, think that most of our activists take it too far. I understand wanting to correct the image people have when they think of us, but to act like we have no thieves, no liars, no child abductors..that we are an innocent people who do no wrong. It's ridiculous. And they wonder why people don't take us seriously. I don't try and cover it up. We have thousands of theives and criminals. What is important to point out is so do whites, and blacks, and latinos, and Asians, and Native American's. Then, it is important to ask why, if we are just like any other ethnic group, do our few criminals serve as the face of our whole people, when this is not the case for any other ethnicity. THIS is what we should focus on. Not on trying to make people believe the impossible.

The anonymous poster who made 7 points said it better than the rest of us.
And I appreciate your attempt to educate people about us. I don't think anyone even focused on that or thanked you for it, so I wanted to make a point of thanking you for that.

brycetphillips said...

It's complicated. I often use the term Gypsy just because almost no one has heard Rroma in the US. That said Gypsy does come with a lot of bad stereotypes like Gypped. Given the context you were speaking in I think the person who was upset with you should have known you were not trying to offend anyone. In recent times some Rroma are trying to use that name instead of gypsy, as Rroma actually comes from Romanes, the language. That said my family used the word Gypsy. It is almost always what is used in the United States. Maybe in Europe there is a stronger push to use Rroma instead. Rroma in Europe are in a lot of ways facing the same things as African Americans. But we have yet to really have a civil rights movement.

gypsygirl81 said...

I am Romani Gypsy. I am proud of my heritage and I do not find the word Gypsy racist if used in the correct term. If it is used with a negative modifier then it becomes racist. Also when people have it percieved in thier minds that Gypies a lesser culture then their own then it becomes a problem. I am proud of my heritage and have taught my children to be proud of their bloodline also. Teaching our future generations about our heritage and traditions is what is important. Some people don't understand the Romani Gypsy culture and most people fear what they do not understand. The Gypies are beautiful people with strong family bond, if people accept us for who we are instead of what we are less this world would be a happier place.

TamaraD said...

Rebe Thank you, nais tuka cheyo, I am quite embarrassed my writing points were written incorrectly and duplicated,but...lol oh well...typo.

Tey avel oh gius ki si thrieve amarey shukar suuney kanna mongas undo raadna ty volimous. Tey beshes undo mistimous ley Devlesa murro ty murro tacho Tem.

P.S I use to think Shakira (what ever her name is) reminded me of us...now I know; nothing could be father from the truth. She just gained some but she just lost "ONE"

Anonymous said...

@Tamara
Check a map or a newspaper from 1960 or before. There was no Romania in English. It was Rumania. Only in English or in Italian Romania is called Romania. In other languages , including Spanish and Russian is called Rumania. Maybe Romania should be called like always Rumania. Roma and Romani are unique and divine concepts

Anonymous said...

I think it is not a racist term- The current gypsies in the US are criminals. I worked as a investigator in Florida and the only NOmads going north to south are the criminal element. The Scottish travelers and other Bunko fraud elements. THEY are the ones that go bezerk if you call them a gypsy- OH well- the term fits.
I realize that there were gypsies who were not criminals way back in history- In todays terms they basically are. I got admonished recently by using the word GYP- said it was racist. Accoring to the dictionary it is not a racist word like some others.... everyone is pretty thin skinned....

Tanya Ott said...

Fascinating conversation! I was writing a blog post about my childhood travels to Ireland and the Irish Travelers (some call them gypsies, though their Celtic, not Roma) we encountered.

I've linked to your blog here:

http://necessarypleasures.blogspot.com/2011/03/bit-of-blarney-and-white-girl-fro.html

So glad to have discovered your blog... and thrilled to see Brian Lehrer's name in the first graph. I'm a long-time public radio reporter/editor and love the work his team is doing!

Anonymous said...

gypsy aint racist but isn't the correct way to address someone from Roma you simply call them Romani

Michael MacDonald said...

It's actually a really old racist term. It came from the word "egyptian" because they assumed that they came from egypt when they actually came from northern india. "Gyp" is the really racist version of it. Like when you say somebody gyped you. Don't use that term. it's actually really really racist. It's understandable to not realize that "gypsy" is racist, but it would do the roma people a great service to keep informing people that it is a racist term seeing as they face more racism in the U.K. than any other group these days. I think a lot of these anti-racist sites use the term gypsy because people wouldn't realize what they're talking about if they used the term roma. Just pass along the info to people who don't realize it's a racist term when you get the chance and it's all good.

Michael MacDonald said...

anonymous said "think it is not a racist term- The current gypsies in the US are criminals. I worked as a investigator in Florida and the only NOmads going north to south are the criminal element. "

It's funny.
You claimed that it's not a racist term and then came right back with the exact racism that's always used against the romani.


no wonder you made an anonymous comment, because that's exactly the kind of racism that we're talking about.

It's always the same pile of crap.
people are always trying to say that they're all criminals.
hence why the term gyp is the most racist one about them.

Anonymous said...

@Rebe

Hmmm.. I found your post kind of subjective man.

other people have different views on it in your own culture so you can't speak for everyone.
That's not fair.
You're speaking out of your own personal views and experiences not for the entire culture as a whole.

And don't shit on the far left either. It's really just as bad to call us all radicals. Well, not as bad a racism, but it's still an unfair generalization. I'm a new democrat and we stand for all civil liberties and fiscally responsible, transparent government which bases it's policies on scientific evidence instead of political ideology.
what is so radical about that?
If anything, it's rational.
let's just be more open minded no matter where you come from or what your views are, because we all have different ones even if we're from the same culture.
I found you injected your political views into that a little too much which is counter-productive because that just offends everyone who doesn't share your views even if you're trying to address the same problem.
no hard feelings though.

Anonymous said...

If I ever wanted to blow myself up, I'd drive a car into a gypsy encampment and blow up those backward retards to hell.

Victor said...

I work front desk at a hotel in Arkansas and we have a Romani community in nearby Spiro, OK. At first I couldn't differentiate them as Gypsies but they began telling me who they were and of the discrimination that they usually face when they come into town.

They also kept referring to themselves as Gypsies so it is surprising to me as well that the term can be considered racist.

Travel Size Tori said...

Gypsy can refer to a wide variety of people:

Romani people, a group widely dispersed throughout Europe

Dom people, an Indo-Aryan group

Lyuli, a Dom subgroup from Central Asia

Lom people, a group from East Anatolia and Armenia

Banjara, a group from India

Irish Travellers
Scottish Travellers

Yeniche people, a group from Europe, living mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France

Sri Lankan Gypsy people

Part of why I think the term may be considered offensive is that it takes a very diverse group of people and refers to them using one word.

Anonymous said...

My Gypsy pal says he's gypsy as in his Race. I don't see how it can be racist.
Racism and offense are one of those things that are usually taken, not given. You can say something and a person can take offense, when none is meant.

Anonymous said...

I'm a gypsy and Im 11 I do recive racism from teachers at school but other children like us a teacher pushed my mate (who also is a traveller ) to the ground on the concrete my mate split his head open needed 6 stitches when he was on the ground holding his head the teacher walked away me and other boys had to tell a teacher to call an ambulance because the crack on the ground made a huge crack so shouldn't that school and teachers be done for abuse and physical assault

Anonymous said...

Gypsy comes from the word "Gyp" which is a shortened form of "Egyptian". It was a derogatory term given to the Egyptian people who were exiled for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus. (these people are said to be the origins of the Rroma people). Thus, it is a racial slur. However, it is mostly viewed as a racist slur today by those who resent the overly sexualized and romanticized image of the Rroma people under the term "Gypsy", and mostly angers American Gypsies. But it's orgins still mean it's a slur and I do personally find offense to it, not just because of it's meaning, but because of the over romanticization and sexualization of my culture that had resulted from the hollywood image of the "gypsy", which sits alongside the negative stereotypes of the "Gypsy" being a thief, scam artist, liar, black magick user, etc.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, if the ethnic group the word is used for says it is pejorative, I'm not going to contradict them based on historical use of the word. They have the final say, end of story. How long have other words been used despite the groups saying it was a slur?

Anonymous said...

LOL at the racist calling you to tell you you're a racist. Assuming that you should be anything because of the color of your skin is JUST AS RACIST AS SAYING "GYPSY" if not worse because while you didn't know, they are saying "Because you are black" which, last time I checked, is racist as hell.

DebbieG57 said...

I pulled this up because my husband is Romani Gypsy. He has gone by the name "The GYPSY" since high school and is almost 56 now. His boss (new HR manager) is hell bent on forcing everyone to call him Jim "because Gypsy is racist." Give me a break!! NO IT ISN'T IF THAT'S WHAT SOMEONE WANTS TO BE CALLED. He just won't shut up about it so my husband is legally changing his name RIGHT NOW!!

DebbieG57 said...
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DebbieG57 said...
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Benji Rifati said...

I am Rom and I do consider the term "gypsy" to be quite racist. When one thinks of a "gypsy," they think of the offensive stereotype of a nomadic fortune teller caravanning around and stealing from anyone and everyone. At least that's the popular depiction in the media. We were mistakenly called gypsies because people thought we were from egypt, in this sense, it is just as racist as calling Native Americans "Indians" because white settlers thought they looked like them. STOP USING THE TERM, if it doesn't offend some roma it is only because those Roma are also ignorant to the fact that "gypsy" is a racist term, probably because it is so damn accepted everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I dont know so i would ask, is the term negger more racisticl than the gipsy?
How the outhor think about it, maybe the spaniar there know

Anonymous said...

I was having a very enlightening conversation ( texting ) when this person corrected me and said " Actually the term is g*psy is a slur so we should all use the word Roma". I was never aware of this until now. This irks me though, as I was being told this by a "politically correct" person who believes she is a historian, when she is not yet out of high school, nor is she in any way able to represent the Roma people. The term gypsy is an antiquated word, no different than calling Caucasian people "white", in a. Non racist manner. As far as I am concerned, if any of the Roma people or their descendants indicate their dislike this word, I will stop using it. Not because of a sheltered 16 yr old who think she knows best.

zombiebatbunny said...

I am a Romani Gypsy as well by blood. But the only way I see Gypsy is a derogatory term is if they say they were gypped or cheated. Other than that, I am fine with being called gypsy.