Saturday, June 24, 2017

No - You Don't Have a 'Gypsy' Soul

Gypsy is a pejorative term for the Romani people.

The word Gypsy (Gyp, Gip, Gyppo etc.) comes from the mistaken belief that the (relatively) dark-skinned Romani people originated in Egypt--hence Egyptian became 'Gyptian' and 'Gypsy' in a similar way that Europeans called Native Americans 'Indians' and never bothered (or cared) to correct the error.

Stylised Romani Flag Source:

Romani people have been the victims of systemic and persistent oppression since they first ventured into Europe from Northern India around 1000 years ago.
They have been criminalised by virtue of race, forbidden in many places from owning land (one of the reasons many remained nomadic), persecuted, killed (e.g. 25-50% of Europe's Romani population were killed in the Holocaust), and were even rounded up and sent to the Americas as slaves.

Now though, and possibly due to the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 1970s in which fantastical 'Gypsy' stereotypes were romanticized, and due to these stereotypes of Romani as free-spirited wanderers, new-agers and Instagrammers and others have appropriated the term Gypsy to denote practically anything that embodies any aspect of hippy, hipster, new-age or counter - culture.

When I've brought this up in posts and in conversation, the typical response is 'lighten up man', or 'it's just a bit of fun', or 'it doesn't hurt anyone'...

But the reality is that it does hurt people. It is highly offensive to the many people who have been victimised and oppressed, to have their culture stereotyped, and the pejorative that was given to them, then appropriated by people who know nothing of their struggle or people, and who simply go on to further promote damaging stereotypes. It's damaging to the people who lost, and are only now reclaiming their cultural heritage because it was hidden by necessity, in order to survive in an antiziganist world.

As an example, some of my Maori friends have said that it's no big deal but I wonder if they'd feel the same if people were using stereotypes of Maori as jovial, lazy, easy going, occasionally prone-to-violence drunks and using #HoriSoul ? I think not.

And many of my liberal friends will rile against the bigotry of Trump, post about the plight of oppressed minorities... and then post pics of their well-earned post-work drinks at Gypsy Caravan or images of their 'gypsy' lifestyle in instagram... Why? Because #GypsyHeart #GypsySpirit .... That's why.  🤔

The most liberal among us fall into casual racism. I've done it, you've done it. Heck, even Taika Waititi has 'given a little to racism'. (And by the way - I think he's doing an awesome job of casting light on casual racism in NZ). But it's on us to do better, and be better.

So, you don't have a 'Gypsy' soul, or a 'Gypsy' heart, and just because you have cool arm tattoos, wear a moustache, and run a brightly coloured food truck, you're not a Gypsy-preneur.
You're a casual racist.

How to stop yourself getting Gypped...

I remember watching TV a few years back and seeing someone say in an interview that they got 'Gypped'...and not an eyelid batted.

Just a few weeks back a good friend of mine was telling me how someone had 'Gypped' him in a business deal.

Even in scholarly, academic, and other circles, people use the term Gypped without any knowledge that this is an offensive term and that its meaning is extremely damaging.

The Meaning and Origin of Gypped
The term Gypped (or Gipped) comes from Gypsy, itself a pejorative term for the Romani people.
Gypsy (Gyp, Gip, Gyppo etc.) comes from the mistaken belief that the dark- skinned nomadic (not always by choice...a topic for another time...) people originated in Egypt--hence Egyptian became 'Gyptian' and 'Gypsy'. Now that may seem quite innocent...but it's also ignorant and by extension oppressive...similar to how Europeans called Native Americans 'Indians'.

The systemic and persistent racism against Romani people goes way beyond just the use of an ignorant name to describe them. 
It has become the common association of the Romani people with cheats, thieves and liars. And THAT is the common use of the term 'Gypped'... So--if you're using the term, you are implicitly promoting the stereotype of Romani people as thieves and cheaters. And if that's not just plain racism...I don't know what is. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Don't be a proDICKtivity guru...

If you have an autoresponder that says something along the lines of...

"Thanks for your email, in the interests of being a super-awesome human, probably better than you, I only reply to emails at 11.17am and 3.58pm. 
Thanks for understanding that I am telling you that I read The Four Hour Workweek"

Really, if anyone emails you at 9 am and expects a reply before 11 am...or sends an email before lunch and has a little cry because you haven't replied to them before 4 pm - then that's their problem.
But in all likelihood, nobody cares.

Emails like the above might be a cool way for you to tell the world how productive you are but all they do for other people is add to their already overfilled inboxes.

You're better off not saying anything.

Shoosh now...I have a Tim Ferriss book to read.... 😀