fortune teller costume

A few things:

01. Gypsy is a slur & there is no “positive” or “acceptable” way of using it if you aren’t Romani (or part of a group related to Romani that has been targeted by the slur too). Some Romani might not find it offensive but still it should not be part of your vocabulary – the same goes for the term “gypped”. If you want to talk about the slur censor it or simply call it “the g slur.”

02. Anti Romani racism exists everywhere and there is a slur for the us in every language. Gypsy is the slur used in the English language but there is also Zigan, Tigan, Cigan, Gitano, Zigeuner, etc. - a lot of them stem from the Greek word for “slave” and are considered even worse than the Gypsy slur. However all of them are still slurs.

03. Gypsy is nothing but a derogatory slur against Romani that has been screamed at us while we have been branded, enslaved, hunted down, murdered, put through a genocide and a holocaust, segregated and discriminated against. It doesn’t meant “free-spirited”, it doesn’t mean “wanderer” or anything along those lines either.

04. Romani is the proper name of the people that are being targeted by the G slur. Some people write it as Rromani which is also correct. (But there are a few groups that are part of the Romani Diaspora that don’t identify as Romani.) The term Roma/Rroma can be used too, however not all Romani are Roma.

05. Romani and Romanian do not mean the same thing. Romani are brown people originally from India. Romanians are people from the European country Romania.

06. The official term for racism directed towards Romani is called “Antiziganism”, that term however is offensive since it includes the word “Zigan” which is a horrible slur against Romani. Please do not use that term and instead use “Anti-Romani racism”, “Anti-Romanism”, etc.

07. Anti-Romani racism is very extreme in Europe (segregation in housing, education and health care, forced sterilizations, evictions, demolition of Romani neighbourhoods, police brutality, etc), which is why we even received the title of “Europe’s Most Hated”, but it’s not an exclusively European thing. Anti-Romani racism exists in America and Canada as well. (Canada even has an immigration ban on Romani.)

08. “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” does not display actual Romani people as far as I have heard so it does not represent Romani people/culture at all.

09. Your believes that Romani “don’t want to work”, “don’t want to send their children to school”, “steal children”, “are dirty”, “genetically prone to crime”, “are lazy”, etc. are nothing but racist stereotypes and left over Nazi propaganda. All of them are untrue as well. (Also: Romani would love to work and go to school but the extreme discrimination against us in the field of education makes that very hard. And the widely spread traditional anti-Romani attitudes and prejudices don’t make it any easier either.)

10. Stereotypes such as that all Romani women are “sexual temptresses” and promiscuous disregarding of age are obviously incorrect too. Believing in those stereotypes is very harmful and dangerous as well because despite Romani being only a minority in most European countries we make up the highest % when it comes to sex trafficking victims.

11. Romani culture doesn’t have anything to do with witchcraft, wicca, paganism, etc. We didn’t create tarot, palm reading or crystal balls either. You can stop calling yourself a “Gypsy Witch” and faking Romani heritage now. The only reason why assumptions like that came to exist is because of racist believes and lies spread by the church. Our skills with medical herbs and palm reading were seen as “evidence of heresy” and from the 16th century onward we were outlawed, expelled and persecuted, culminating in the organized killing of our people. 

12. Fortune teller costumes are usually racist. Romani women have always been stereotyped as fortune tellers which is why the stereotypical image of a fortune teller is always linked with Romani women - dark skin, messy black hair, a big nose, a “weird” accent, a headscarf, big hoop earrings, gold coins added to clothes and an “untrustworthy/deceiving” nature, etc. Personally, I’ve never seen a fortune teller costume that wasn’t racist. (A lot of people even use the term “fortune teller” like a synonym for the G slur nowadays.) A person’s race/ethnicity is not a costume, so if you ever consider dressing up as a fortune teller chose something different. 

Of course I don’t speak for all Romani. This is more of a “faq” actually since these are the types of questions and incorrect assumptions I have noticed the most. If you are Romani too please correct me if I made any mistakes and please feel free to add anything onto this list if you like!

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Fortune Teller for Halloween