Opinion | Ioana Spataru | Racism – the lifestyle choice

Lies diesen Artikel auf Deutsch: Rassismus als Lifestyle-Choice

„Gypsy“ is the new „Ni***“ – racism is the new way of living. For the Romani people, however „Gypsy“ does not mean freedom, neither does it stand for wandering nor adventure. It’s not just another word for „hippie“ or „bohemian“. It’s not a political movement. It’s not a lifestyle and not a Halloween costume. „Gypsy“ means genocide, forced sterilization, expulsion and discrimination.

 

A „Gypsy“ is supposed to be someone who is a „free soul“ and is passionately wandering through the world. They follow their „wild hearts“ looking for adventure, love and music.  At least according to the image of the lifestyle stereotype „gypsy“ that was made up by the fashion industry. Nothing but a poor interpretation of the culture of an ethnic minority.

In the 16th century the common believe was that the Romani people originated from Egypt and therefore they were called „Gypsies”. We are not Egyptians. In fact, linguistic research has shown that the Roma originally decanted from India. We didn’t choose this name. Most historical data on the Roma, was written down by non-Roma. Thus, the exonym “gypsy” was passed on and widely spread without the influence of the Roma themselves.

We were perceived as strangers in Europe. They said we were „different“.
The use of this word lead to stereotypes, prejudices and racist constructs, resulting in slavery and the genocide of the Roma people. „Gypsy“ is the English translation of the German word „Zigeuner“.

The harmful propaganda of the Nazis was spreading this word. „Gypsies“ were seen as „inferior“ and „anti-social“ when it came to the racial ideology of the Nazis.

It is obvious that this word has brought a lot of injustice to this minority
and yet „Gypsy Fashion“ is a tolerated part in our society. Used by advertising companies to sell lies and wrong images.

Marketing slogans such as „Gypsy Vibes“ or „Stay At Home Gypsy“ make me roll my eyes that far back into my head that I could perform my own retinal examination.
„This is such a nice message!” said my friend while looking at a T-shirt that had the words „Blame it on my gypsy soul!“ printed on it. I asked if she would consider „Blame It On My Nigger Soul“ to be just as „nice“
Needless to say – she thought I was being inappropriate. This comparison seems to be too radical for most people.
Many are defending or arguing in favor of this positive stereotype saying it wouldn’t be a problem to use the word „gypsy“ as long as it is put into the „right context“.

 

The sentence „I love the beautiful and colorful culture of the Negros,“ is still racist.

No matter the context.  It is only a matter of time until these be considered to be equally inappropriate.
You can find such clothes in your everyday stores as well as on the internet. The „Gypsy Trend“! Coming soon! To the shop near you!

„Gypsy Outfitters“, „Jungle Gypsy“ and „Gypsy Warrior“ are online shops that are selling fashion and lifestyle products. These have as much in common with the culture of the Roma as McDonalds does with a vegan diet.
If a skirt has a floral pattern and is long enough to prevent a bladder infection, it is apparently legitimate to put the word „gypsy“ in front of it. However, it will remain a mystery to me why a dream catcher is called a „gypsy dream catcher“.

Someone must have mixed up the minorities. I guess everything that isn’t white it’s more or less the same and gets labeled as “foreign”, why take the time to differentiate? Can we please proceed to that part in history where xenophobia is a big exception and not every day reality?

Welcome to the 21st century! We use gender-appropriate and politically correct language over here. Minorities should not be stigmatized and or discriminated with exonyms.

The past has shown that language has the power to kill and destroy. Our language shapes our reality and our society.
Words such as „Gypsy“ and „Zigeuner“ have to vanish off our everyday language.

In the spirit of Karl Popper: No tolerance to the intolerant.

Let’s cut off the money supply of „Gypsy“ online shops. Those of you who are living by the motto MAKE FASHION GREAT AGAIN will be confronted with the hashtag #gypsyisaracistword.

 

Ioana Spataru / Roma – Activist and Photographer based in Vienna.

more about Ioana

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