So you're a Gypsy?
So you wear your hair in braids, or tousled, coloured. You wear long skirts and all your jewelry at once. You like the idea of freedom and travel and long to be with nature. The photographs you post are pretty, there’s no denying it,
but they are not “Gypsy”.
See, Gypsy is an ethnicity. It’s a label that was given to an ethnic group a long time ago. It’s a label that has marginalized and murdered Roma, Sinte, and others even just yesterday.
Me som Romni.
Ame sam Roma.
Your pictures and poems, as pretty as they are, don’t reflect the history, culture, or language of my people. In fact, they are represent a danger to us. A threat.
Why? They’re just pictures right?
No, they’re not. They’re a misrepresentation of an entire set of peoples. Gypsy doesn’t just refer to ONE ethnicity (not the white, stereotyped, Irish Travellers you see on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding).
There are many ethnicities all crammed under the exonym. This serves several purposes. Firstly, it takes away our individuality and serves to marginalize our cultures even further. It’s like calling people “Asian” or “White” - words which cluster large groups of people together and erase important cultural markers and individual languages and so forth. It makes it easier to pass laws and regulate our traditional ways of life (just ban everything “Gypsy” and you strike against multiple nomadic and travelling ethnicities all at once (nomadic and travelling are not the same).
So, when you post a picture of a white girl in a pretty skirt and call it “Gypsy”, not only are you using a slur (an aspect which I’ve deliberately not mentioned in this post - that’s another thing entirely), you’re effectively erasing my identity, and the identities of countless other groups.
Not only is Gypsy considered an ethnic and racial slur - it’s also simply wrong. When you tag your pictures you’re stating that “Gypsies” are white and adhere to the cultural practices you promote (bare feet, smoking pot, sexual promiscuity, lying and stealing (a lot of the poetry I read in the tag seems to suggest we just like to steal men, period), and sitting on the beach/in a field/in a forest half-naked.
Most of which, by the way, are against our cultural rules (the only questionable one is bare feet - some allow it, some do not).
Even if you refuse to believe that the word Gypsy is a slur, at least realize that by tagging white hipster girls you’re erasing millions of peoples identities and creating an image that is not only false and misleading, but incredibly damaging.
Hyper-sexualization and fetishization of cultures promotes and condones sexual violence against women. Posting such images tagged as Gypsy is dangerous for ME as a Romani woman.
Similarly, posting images of women doing drugs (especially combining sexualization) is even more damaging.
I’ve actually been approached by a group of young men asking me if I wanted “to smoke out and get banged” because I was a Gypsy (they knew from a presentation I had given to their senior college class. They were all at least 23 years old). It was frightening (I was alone in an area of campus and there were seven of them…
Please just think before you tag. Use another label - indie, hippie, boho, whatever it is,
don’t label your pictures and poems as “Gypsy”
Casual Racism in (Deviant)Art - Ethnic 'minorities' are not elves. A very quick little rant.
One of the most annoying aspects of casual racism I often witness on DeviantArt, in addition to the use of outdated and offensive anthropological terminology aka Eskimo, Lapp, Gypsy, is the continuous dehumanisation of ethnic ‘minorities’ via the use of overly mystical and magical imagery. I’m not going to go into too much detail about why this is ‘bad’ as I would hope that you should be able to figure it out for yourselves…
Anyhow my criticism of such work has often resulted in people missing the point entirely, believing that my problem is not with the dehumanisation of vulnerable communities but with fantasy and magic. This is not the case in the slightest, I utterly adore fantasy as one should be able to see from viewing my gallery. The difference between my gallery, and the gallery of someone who enjoys dehumanising communities is that elves are not real. Portraying elves as magically beings (that being exactly what they are) harms absolutely nobody whereas continuously portraying real world communities as magical, as elves and fairies, is harmful. It dehumanises them, taking away their humanity and white-washes over both the historical and contemporary struggles of these communities. It can also add to the political rhetoric used against them and decreases the believability of human rights abuse reports. It’s not on.
I’m not even going to go into the costumes used prominently in these pieces. Some of it even amounting to, and the equivalent of, black-face.
You want to appreciate the majesty of Native Americans, of Inuits, of Saami, of Romanies, of Maori, of Imazighen? Plus ultra? Read a book, one with footnotes. Preferably written by someone within that community.
*shakes tambourine and shuffles out*
Rromani Do Not Steal Children
This is a very old stereotype deeply rooted in European racism towards Rromani people.
It is rumored that in a village somewhere in Romania, a child went missing. The local villagers blamed a local Rroma woman. It was later found out that the kidnapper was Romanian & not an ethnic Rromani. The crime was published in the newspapers, but they never corrected the fact that the kidnapper was not Rromani.
That is just a tale about how this stereotype started, but I have no idea whether it is based in fact.
What is more likely the root of the stereotype is that Rromani women were occasionally seen with light skinned & light haired children. They were often accused of having stolen White children from local villages.
In actuality, most of these children were born of rape at the hands of White men.
Rromani in Europe still have children taken away by police and governments because they are light skinned or “too pretty” to be Rromani. Even when the child cries for their mother & insists that they were not kidnapped, when there is no proof whatsoever that these children were kidnapped, sometimes they are still placed in orphanages or some form of i institution.
These things happen & are still an issue in Europe.
Why would we kidnap non-Rromani children?
Statistics show that our children are more likely to be kidnapped and sold into labor or sex slavery than White European children.
These stereotypes are old & not based in any fact. In actuality, it is the belief that our women are so sub-human that they are not even “worthy” of rape, which has driven these stereotypes.
It was White women constantly accusing us of stealing village children because it was easier than dealing with the fact that their husbands and brothers were busy raping our little girls.
THAT is where the stereotype comes from.
Rromani don’t steal children.
We don’t want your ill-mannered hot-dog eating babies, anyway.