justice equality

Rromani FAQ

What’s up, fam? For International Rromani Day this year, I thought it would be a good idea to maybe post some basic info. So here is your IRrD cultural crash-course cheat sheet:

  • The word “G*psy” is an ethnic slur. It comes from the misconception that we originated in Egypt (hint: we did not). Basically, white Europeans were like “hey those guys are brown. They must be Egyptians. lol ‘Gyptians. lol ~G*PSIES~”. AKA, they couldn’t be bothered to ask where we actually came from. Some Rroma have opted to reclaim this word and may use it to refer to themselves. That does not mean that it’s okay for just anybody to use it. Friendly tip: do not use this word unless you are actually Rromani.
  • Rromani people trace their roots back to India and some parts of Pakistan (but mostly India?). While many don’t necessarily consider themselves Indian or even South-Asian, we are also not white.
  • We are a diaspora group. That means we were expelled from the country/left nationless.
  • Rroma come in all colours. Some of us are dark-skinned and some are light-skinned. We are all POC. There are certain physical traits that are common in our ethnic group, but that does not mean that we all have these traits. In fact, many of these traits have been used to stereotype us, which isn’t cool.
  • Our culture involves a lot of dancing and music. And food. And our food is generally pretty spicy.
  • We are not Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). In fact, that book is hella racist and the movie isn’t really much better. In the book, Esmeralda was a gadje (non-Rromani) girl who was kidnapped by Rroma (stereotype) and raised in their community (stereotype). As you will know from the movie, she dressed provocatively (stereotype) and danced for coins (stereotype). Rroma women are often portrayed as sexual objects, which is really gross tbh. Although the cute lil’ goat friend is 110% factual. I mean, not really. But I had a goat friend. Her name was Rochelle. More on that later.
  • Rroma men are often stereotyped as lazy.
  • Other stereotypes include fortune tellers, witches, thieves, beggars, and street performers. I am here to tell you that we are honestly no more likely to do these things than any other cultural group so… yeah? And those that do are often forced into these positions by laws and discrimination in their home countries.
  • Speaking of which, forced eviction, mass deportation, sterilisation, systematic impoverishment and oppression, workplace discrimination, segregated education, and TAKING CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES are problems that Rroma are still facing TODAY.
  • Rroma are sometimes known as Travellers because we have historically been a fairly nomadic group (by necessity). Rromani people would (and many still do) travel from place to place, looking for work, only to be chased away by prejudiced locals. Think old man on a porch shouting “Get off my lawn!” at the paper boy. Dumb, right? Right.
  • We do not want your children. For some reason, gadje think we want to steal their children? Some even think we eat them??? We do not do this.
  • Gadje is not a bad word. It literally means “non-Rromani person”.
  • Our language is called Rromanes or Rromani Chib. There are like a gajillion different dialects. Those of us who actually speak our chib might not be able to understand another Rrom because of dialectical differences. It’s complicated.
  • We are not a costume. A G*psy is not something you can just become. You can’t convert. You either are or you are not. Wearing long skirts does not make you a ~*G*pSy*~. Being a hippie does not make you a ~*G*pSy*~. Pracitising witchcraft does not make you a ~*G*pSy*~. We are not mythical creatures. You cannot become Rromani any more than you can become Black or Asian or Hispanic. It is especially concerning when people act like we are a style instead of an ethnicity because a) it makes a mockery of our culture, and b) makes it seem like we do not actually exist.
  • Bread.

I came across this poster on Queen St. West in Toronto and I couldn’t look away. Posters such as these, strategically placed around the city are pushing people to question Canada’s dark, colonial history, as is the incredibly critical art being produced by Indigenous artists such as Kent Monkman and Rebecca Belmore. These artists, activists, thinkers and interventionists are destabilizing and dismantling biased, historical Canadian narratives.

In the decade or more of being in Canada, I have recently had the opportunity to establish close allyships with Indigenous friends. Through their research and lived experiences, I am learning about a side of Canada that I was not initially aware of. While the Canadian Citizenship book discusses our shameful history of residential schools, it presents a watered down version, summarized in undignified, short lines, mostly ending with, “Canada has since apologized.”

The abuse that was carried out on Indigenous children at these schools (the last residential school closed in 1996) was horrific and conveniently left out of textbooks. With more awareness around the topic, Canada’s internationally positive reputation is being challenged. Canada’s deputy minister of Indian Affairs Duncan Campbell Scott was quoted in 1920 to have said: “Our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic.”

While an apology by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a start, it is not enough. After all, actions speak louder than words. Grave injustices have been committed against Indigenous people. Erasure of language, culture and customs so as to benefit and serve colonial systems of oppression, unsolved cases of thousands of missing, murdered Indigenous women, increased likelihood of sexual assault on Indigenous women, an alarmingly high suicide rate amongst Indigenous youth and deplorable living conditions in some parts of Canada where Indigenous people reside. By deplorable I mean run down schools and homes and no access to clean, drinking water. How can we justify this while being one of the wealthiest countries in the world with a global reputation for excellence in living standards and human rights?

Far too often I hear fellow immigrants from my own community refer to Indigenous people as “drunks” and “criminals.”

“Oh these natives, they’re such a menace to Canadian society.”

“They get so much funding from the government. All their schooling is paid for.”

“They should be grateful and move on from the past. Look at the state of poor people in the third world countries we come from.”

“These people don’t know the first thing about oppression. They take all the money the government gives them and waste it on drugs and alcohol.”

It is ironic to see new immigrants settle on Canadian land while demonizing and othering the original custodians of this land.

Indigenous people have been dealing with institutionalized racism, discriminatory legislation and federal under-funding for over 100 years. As we mark our 150th birthday as a nation today, I hope that we can work toward addressing these important and urgent issues. Indigenous people are bearing the brunt of genocidal, colonial policies while the rest of us immigrating to Canada are reaping immense benefits such as world class healthcare and education, services that many of our Indigenous communities lack full access to. Our indifference and lack of awareness around these pressing matters has dire consequences for First Nations, Metis and Inuit people of Canada.

Today, on Canada’s 150th, I am stating a land acknowledgment for the first time in all these years of living, working, giving to and taking from Canadian land.

***I wish to acknowledge this land on which I currently reside and work. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. (Please correct me if I have stated this land acknowledgment inaccurately)

As a tribal daughter of the Indigenous Magsi clan in Balochistan, Pakistan, I stand in solidarity with my Indigenous brothers and sisters in Canada.

I wish you a safe, peaceful and more informed #Canada150 long weekend.

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hollywoodreporter.com
Gal Gadot Got Paid the Same as Henry Cavill in Their Superhero Stand-Alone Debuts
Slow your roll, Twitter Outrage.

Contrary to a story that Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot made millions less than her DC counterpart Henry Cavill as Superman, the two were paid the same for their debut standalone outings.

That’s according to a source familiar with both negotiations, who told The Hollywood Reporter that Gadot made the same amount upfront if not slightly more on Wonder Woman than Cavill made on 2013’s Man of Steel.

The alleged salary discrepancy story was based on a post from Elle magazine, which cobbled together salary information that had previously appeared in various publications and did not differentiate between upfront salary vs. bonuses and performance escalators.

The story was later updated but caused a stir on the internet as Hollywood’s gender gap on wages has become a popular issue. The Elle story said Gadot was paid $300,000 for Wonder Woman vs. $14 million Cavill received for Man of Steel. The source called the latter figure “ridiculous.”

Warner Bros., the studio behind both movies, declined to comment.

A salary of low- to mid-six figures is standard fare for Hollywood tentpoles, especially for actors with short track records; Gadot had bit parts in movies such as Date Night and Knight and Day before landing a more substantial but still supporting role in the Fast & Furious movies. Chris Hemsworth made $150,000 for his starring debut in 2011’s Thor, for example. Adam Driver was paid in the $500,000 range for his part in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to sources. Felicity Jones, who had an Oscar nomination under her belt before landing the lead in Rogue One, was paid more than $1 million for the Star Wars stand-alone.

These salary figures do not take into account box-office bonuses, which hit when certain benchmarks are hit. And actors gets substantial increases when it comes to sequels, even in spite of having option agreements and especially if a movie is as successful as Wonder Woman (the film has earned $574 million worldwide to date). Gadot’s deal will very likely be renegotiated.

If Riverdale can talk about: slut shaming, white privileged, racism, sexual violence, female empowerment, and get #justiceforethel all in one episode then there should be Asexual Jughead Jones….they even have Kevin Keller, the first openly gay Riverdale and Archie Comics character. I mean, if they can do all that then Jughead Jones should be asexual.

4

Economic security can’t be achieved without reproductive freedom.

In order for women to participate as full citizens in society and have the same economic opportunities, we must have paid family leave and access to affordable birth control and abortion care.

Fix it or Tear it Down
  • Disabled Community: (to building owner) Your building is inaccessible. You should fix it.
  • Every Building Owner: What do you expect us to do? Rip out out the **historic** staircases installed during the Roosevelt administration and redesign the entire bui...
  • Me: and redesign the entire building? Yeah, I do. I expect you to rip out the "historic" staircases that were installed in a time before women were considered people and redesign the building so that it accommodates everyone. I expect you to demonstrate actual morals by doing what is right *before* figuring out whether or not it will benefit you personally / economically.