View on Romani and About Them

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Ludwig Whitby
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2014-09-23, 19:35

Obviously there are differences between countries too... In the Netherlands usually children don't work, at least not when they're 12 years or younger.


Kids don't normally work in Serbia either, but the poorest kids in Serbia do. And when I say work I mean either helping their parents (in whatever it is they do, collecting secondary raw materials or something), playing music for money, begging or stealing.

After then, I think your second paragraph explains quite well what happens. But from what I have heard, Roma/Sinti people don't force their kids to get educated most of the time, they just don't think it as necessary as for example Morocan or Afghani people do. But maybe I shouldn't have used the word culture there, you're right. By the way, plenty of low educated people think (high) education isn't that necessary for children. (And sometimes they have a point because I guess you can find a job easier when you have a pratical education than when you have a university degree in some obscure language for example...)


Oh I wasn't talking about higher education. Many Romas here never even finish elementary school. At best they drop out of a low profile secondary school. They can only dream of going to university.

By the way, plenty of low educated people think (high) education isn't that necessary for children.

Exactly. I think that it is important not to forget this when talking about Romas.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2014-09-23, 20:05

Ludwig Whitby wrote:
After then, I think your second paragraph explains quite well what happens. But from what I have heard, Roma/Sinti people don't force their kids to get educated most of the time, they just don't think it as necessary as for example Morocan or Afghani people do. But maybe I shouldn't have used the word culture there, you're right. By the way, plenty of low educated people think (high) education isn't that necessary for children. (And sometimes they have a point because I guess you can find a job easier when you have a pratical education than when you have a university degree in some obscure language for example...)


Oh I wasn't talking about higher education. Many Romas here never even finish elementary school. At best they drop out of a low profile secondary school. They can only dream of going to university.

By the way, plenty of low educated people think (high) education isn't that necessary for children.

Exactly. I think that it is important not to forget this when talking about Romas.


Yes, I was talking about that too, though my last sentence suggested otherwise.
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-23, 22:31

linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:Actually, what I said was meant to also be able to replace the term Romani with any other. It wasn't intended to be Romani-exclusive.

That's precisely what makes this sentence so dangerous and what inspired my personal response to it. As Johanna says, it's victim-blaming. It puts the burden of changing one's behaviour on the person actually experiencing the unfair treatment and not on the one treating people unfairly.
No, I wasn't putting the burden on them, I just chose "Romani" 'cause it's easier than saying "white people" (graph amount difference).

linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:
Johanna wrote:The thing is, most Roma don't steal or behave badly, but they are still thought of as thieves and treated accordingly. So who should start with the trusting?

I know, so this is really regarding the ones who do happen to.

The point is that there are thieves in every population. Most corporate criminals, for instance, are straight white males. But we don't, as a result of that, make outcasts of all straight white males and tell them as a group, "We won't treat you fairly and justly until the minority among you who commit these crimes stop committing them."

I suppose, but considering one "reason" they are so hated is because of their reported behavior. I have no quarrel with them, so why should I be one to batter them? Everything I said is intended to be a solution that both sides should do. Like I said, I just chose "Romani" in my laziness.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-23, 23:48

Koko wrote:I suppose, but considering one "reason" they are so hated is because of their reported behavior. I have no quarrel with them, so why should I be one to batter them? Everything I said is intended to be a solution that both sides should do. Like I said, I just chose "Romani" in my laziness.

"Both sides"? Google "false equivalence", why don't you?
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-24, 2:29

I'm not sure I understand. All I said was that we both need to gain the other's trust and friendship; how is that false equivalence?

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-24, 3:18

Koko wrote:I'm not sure I understand. All I said was that we both need to gain the other's trust and friendship; how is that false equivalence?

You said a little more than that. To wit:
For both the sides, they need to gain trust with each other. I know it's difficult to do that when you've been bashing each other for decades, but what had happened is over[.]
The fundamental problem with this is that it frames the situation as a dispute between equals. It's not. As several other people have pointed out already, the history of the Sinti and Roma is the history of a vulnerable group's violent persecution at the hands of much more powerful and organised forces. The Roma were enslaved in Romania. Who did the Roma ever enslave? Roma, Sinti, and Travellers were forcibly expelled from a long list of countries. Who did they ever expel? They were rounded up and murdered by the thousands in the Holocaust. Who did they ever round up and murder like that? This is why your assessment constitutes a false equivalence.

The other major problem with this statement, of course, is that it describes persecution of Sinti and Roma as something which happened in the past: "what had happened is over". Yes, Roma slavery was abolished. But abolition of slavery in the USA (which happened at around the same time) didn't automatically confer full equality on American Blacks and this didn't happen in Romania either--or anywhere else in Europe. The Roma are still being forcibly expelled from countries where they have settled. They are still being discriminated against--in housing, in education, in the criminal justice system, in society at large. As Johanna said, what reason do they have to trust the non-Roma, non-Sinti majority? Do you trust someone who says he wants to be friends with you when, at the same time, he keeps slapping you around?
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-24, 4:10

The "over thing" isn't true, yeah. Though, it could be if we gave them a chance.

We give them a chance! If we (in general) just let them be and end what we're doing, eventually things would get better, right? 'Cause the people who had a problem with each other would eventually die and the new generations would get along. Even if they told their kids what happened, I doubt the kids would be mad enough to start it all over again. I'm not going to bully France because Napoleon conquered the European countries I like (including Italy, that dick. You don't take over your own birth-country by force [Corsica was still Italy at the time)]).

I think this a little unrealistic, though: how many who personally have a problem with Roma are just going to drop everything? How many Roma would "fall for it" (I'd think it a trick)? Not many, at least not right away.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-09-24, 4:42

linguoboy wrote:That was 40 years ago, however. What reason(s) do you have for believing this would still be the case today? (Moreover, we don't know that he would've been denied tenure even then had his Romani background become known, only that two faculty members thought it would.)

He's also been discriminated against for his ethnicity in academia after he got tenure and has said that he has experienced racial discrimination in academia in at least one interview. I don't know what's happened since I graduated, but this continued while I was there. Furthermore, Thomas Acton was kicked out of his office even though he isn't even Romani, and Adrian Marsh was kicked out of the department where he worked with a master's but his work was published as a dissertation several years later.
Johanna wrote:
Babelfish wrote:That's weird (and disgusting) - I don't know much about these events you describe, just that it is quite well known (at least in Israel) that the Nazis persecuted Roma, homosexuals and political dissidents quite like they treated the Jews, although perhaps not as vehemently. We learnt about it at school IIRC.

I learnt it at school, as a side note and then it was all about the Jews, which is a very good way to make the impression that it wasn't that bad for the other groups, while you can still hide behind the fact that you have mentioned it.

It's the same here; in fact, I think that's how it is everywhere. People other than the Jews are mentioned as victims, but only the Jewish part is really ever discussed.

The number of Romani people was not as big as the number of Jews in Europe to begin with, so it's not surprising that the Jewish victims were the greatest in number. However, I would say the persecution was every bit as vehement as the persecution of Jews, perhaps even more so. Only they and Jews were targeted for extermination in the Final Solution, and over half of the Romani population in Nazi Europe was destroyed by the end of the war.
Sweden kind of has a stake in burying the whole thing though, we like to see ourselves as open-minded and tolerant,

All of that is true of the US, too, even though the Holocaust did not even take place here.
so the fact that Roma in this country faced severe state-sanctioned discrimination for a long time even after the war had ended doesn't sit well with that. Especially not since the common narrative is that there were things going on before 1939 that were 'questionable', but that war made the sinners see the error of their ways and then everyone moved on, and we became this fair and enlightened country.

Romani people continue to face discrimination everywhere; even here in Austin, though this is not well-known at all, if any Romani person in a given district is suspected of a crime, anyone from the community may be arrested. And yet the narrative in schools here is also that everything was resolved after the war, when it really wasn't.
Heck, if a Roma person found their way to Sweden during or just after World War 2, they were sent back immediately, even if the person in question was a death camp survivor, while at the same time there was at least one organisation (run by a member of the royal family) who went and fetched a large number of Jewish survivors in order to treat them in Sweden. There were actually one or two cases of Roma survivors pretending to be Jews for that very reason.

Interesting, and useful information. Thanks! :)
basica wrote:gypsies

Hi. Could you please not use that word? Thanks. :)
Koko wrote: I wonder exactly what started the hatred towards them: it seems to have just grown from nothing.

The first Romani people to arrive in Europe were foreigners of Indian descent who Europeans had no previous contact with and did not recognize. Europe in the Middle Ages (which was when they arrived) already had a long history of xenophobia. Even the Jews, who Christian Europeans had been in contact with for thousands of years and owed their own religion to, were persecuted in Europe, often very severely. There was not a chance that completely unfamiliar foreigners would be spared.
That part especiay was one I wanted you guys to reverse the terms. I just happened to end up saying "the Romani can…" because it's easier to have a smaller subject.

Huh?
And this doesn't really work with the first thing I said in this post, but the one for us would be that Romani show us their culture and their way of life (you know, after we've gained their trust and they've gained ours and finally it's done; or before, maybe knowing this will help). Originally, one reason was because we didn't understand them (in terms of religion and such), right?

It can be very hard to find reliable information about the Romani people because they're rarely given a voice, honestly, but there already are Romani people who have written books for learning the Romani language, introducing Romani culture, discussing Romani history, and so on. Remember my response to Varislintu here? The quote at the end of that post is from a book written by a Romani person talking about all of those things.
linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:I mean, if the Romani don't want to be hated, simply stop acting how you currently are.

Oh, is that how it works? So all these years, if I wanted to stop being hated for being a homosexual, all I had to was stop acting so gay? Such a simple solution, don't know why I didn't think of it myself.

I don't mean that as in stop being Romani.

Oh, I didn't mean I need to stop being homosexual. I just have to stop doing those things associated with gay men that the majority disapproves us. Like, you know, bumfucking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDP3cLMMnG0
Ludwig Whitby wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:
Johanna wrote:
And why should the Roma start trusting the majority society? A society that has been actively persecuting them for centuries, and only 70 years ago worked at eradicating their people. Sure, the Nazis aren't in control of Europe any more so there aren't any death camps, but the notion that they are vermin hasn't gone away, and even after 1945 they weren't allowed to settle down, had their children taken away from them, their women sterilised, and were denied education. Then later on, when (at least in the Western world) that changed (often they went from being forced to move around to being forced to settle down in designated flats, with no regards to their culture or family ties), they found it very hard to find jobs, their kids got bullied at school, very often by the teachers, and that still hasn't changed!

But oh no, they are the ones who should start trusting us... :roll:



You write: 'they were denied education', this may have led to that they don't even want education at all, it's not valued as highly/important in their culture. This is a big difference with jewish people I think.

The different cultures argument is often abused in my opinion.

True, but it's still an important factor. Too often, schools attempt to assimilate their students into the culture of the majority. The effects of this can be extremely disastrous; in one case, it resulted in the student committing suicide followed by a media smear campaign against her parents.
in school they get picked on by both the teachers and other pupils.

And over 50% of them are put into special education classes in some countries.
Although, even if they had all the time in the world, the teenager would probably still do whatever the fuck he/she wants to do.

Given my understanding of both Indian and Romani culture and the emphasis they put on what parents have to say, I have my doubts. But whatever, it's just a hypothetical scenario anyway.
Oh I wasn't talking about higher education. Many Romas here never even finish elementary school. At best they drop out of a low profile secondary school. They can only dream of going to university.

My advisor never graduated from high school.
Koko wrote:We give them a chance!

I got confused by this sentence. :hmm: Did you mean something like "let's say we give them a chance"?
If we (in general) just let them be and end what we're doing, eventually things would get better, right? 'Cause the people who had a problem with each other would eventually die and the new generations would get along. Even if they told their kids what happened, I doubt the kids would be mad enough to start it all over again. I'm not going to bully France because Napoleon conquered the European countries I like (including Italy, that dick. You don't take over your own birth-country by force [Corsica was still Italy at the time)]).

I think this a little unrealistic, though: how many who personally have a problem with Roma are just going to drop everything?

Yeah, the whole point here is that the majority populations (and their governments and institutions and so on) continue to systematically oppress and discriminate against Romani people, so ending that is not that simple. The discrimination as a whole against them is getting progressively worse, not better. Probably the only positive thing about any of this is that many young Roma in Eastern Europe at least are making serious efforts to combat it and, in some cases, even to combat other kinds of discrimination. No non-Romanies are, not even international organizations or the NGOs that are set up by non-Romanies specifically for this purpose.

I think that nothing will improve until the general public is made more aware of the problems that the Romani people have been facing for hundreds of years and the importance of giving them a voice. I can only hope that by trying to share what I know, at least a few more people will be able to understand what exactly the issues here are.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby basica » 2014-09-24, 4:53

EDIT: Nevermind, not up for starting an argument.
Last edited by basica on 2014-09-24, 5:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-24, 5:00

I find it ironic how many countries of the UN are the main antagonists. Isn't the UN founded in order to unite (hence "united nations"), and generally doesn't accept nations that are big discriminators or something? If not, the name is very misleading.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-24, 5:09

vijayjohn wrote:The first Romani people to arrive in Europe were foreigners of Indian descent who Europeans had no previous contact with and did not recognize. Europe in the Middle Ages (which was when they arrived) already had a long history of xenophobia. Even the Jews, who Christian Europeans had been in contact with for thousands of years and owed their own religion to, were persecuted in Europe, often very severely. There was not a chance that completely unfamiliar foreigners would be spared.
So fear. Quite frivolous imo.

I got confused by this sentence. :hmm: Did you mean something like "let's say we give them a chance"?
A little imperative, but more like an exclamatory: I got a great idea from the sentence prior, so I decided to start it off with basically a one sentence summary.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-09-24, 5:17

Koko wrote:I find it ironic how many countries of the UN are the main antagonists. Isn't the UN founded in order to unite (hence "united nations"), and generally doesn't accept nations that are big discriminators or something? If not, the name is very misleading.

My (former, heh :P) advisor is (or at least was :?) the UN representative of the Romani people.
So fear. Quite frivolous imo.

I think all racism can ultimately be boiled down to fear of the unknown.
A little imperative, but more like an exclamatory: I got a great idea from the sentence prior, so I decided to start it off with basically a one sentence summary.

Oh, OK, I get what you meant now. :lol: Thanks! :D

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-24, 5:30

Strange how fear can invoke such things. The human mind should be changed to not be so stupid. (God should guide the scientists to find the way).

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-09-24, 5:36

Suppose you're scared of spiders, but you see one. As long as that spider is still there, you will always be scared of it. If instead you manage to kill the spider, you will no longer have anything to fear, right? (Until, of course, another spider comes along :P) That's how fear works.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby loqu » 2014-09-24, 7:57

Koko wrote:I find it ironic how many countries of the UN are the main antagonists. Isn't the UN founded in order to unite (hence "united nations"), and generally doesn't accept nations that are big discriminators or something? If not, the name is very misleading.

That's the thing with nation-states. Minorities are so rarely defended by the UN. The Roma and Sinti are an example, they are so numerous, but don't have a country to represent them and are scattered throughout the world, so the UN does little. We can also speak about the Kurds.

Where I come from the situation of the Roma people isn't that bad, they aren't recluded in ghettos or live marginally (-though I must say that some of them are-). We know them for having some weird habits (like celebrating 3-day-long weddings, haha) but that's it. As I said, there are some that still live in their own world and score-settling between them is on the news from time to time. They are not (specially) known for being thieves or anything - maybe because the economy there was so bad that everyone was a potential thief. I noted the difference when I came to live in Seville; even though there are also integrated Roma people here, the proportion of marginal ones is much higher.

By the way, Roma people in Spain do not speak Romani anymore. They speak Spanish with some Romani words, more or less depending on the place or the person. Also some Romani words have entered Andalusian through them, hence in Cádiz it's not refer to a guy saying el gachón or a woman saying la gachí. We also say currar to mean 'to work' (though this is widespread in Spain, not only Andalusia).
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-09-24, 8:14

loqu wrote:We know them for having some weird habits (like celebrating 3-day-long weddings, haha) but that's it.

Indians have 3-day-long weddings, too. :lol:

EDIT: Actually, the length of an Indian wedding varies widely from one community to the next, so they range in length from several days to five minutes. :lol:
Last edited by vijayjohn on 2014-09-24, 9:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Koko » 2014-09-24, 8:21

vijayjohn wrote:Suppose you're scared of spiders, but you see one. As long as that spider is still there, you will always be scared of it. If instead you manage to kill the spider, you will no longer have anything to fear, right? (Until, of course, another spider comes along :P) That's how fear works.

I don't have to suppose, but I wouldn't go try and kill a person I am scared of (unless they trie to kill me or someone else, then he/she deserves to die; just not by me).

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Marah » 2014-09-24, 13:06

loqu wrote:, hence in Cádiz it's not refer to a guy saying el gachón or a woman saying la gachí.

Young people here use it too. They can refer to a guy by saying "le gadjo" or a woman by sayin "la gadji".
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby linguoboy » 2014-09-24, 14:29

Koko wrote:So fear. Quite frivolous imo.

I'm not sure that there's anything "frivolous" about fear of outsiders. Historically, it's quite likely that they were coming to take your stuff, kill you, or sell you into slavery. Even in the present day, outsiders arriving in your community is often bad news--especially if you're already poor and marginalised. This is the chief reason why the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is spiraling out of control. Good governance has been in such short supply in that area for so long that communities automatically assume any official who shows up (either from the state or from an NGO) is there to exploit them and react accordingly.
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-09-25, 0:15

Yeah, Koko, I have trouble imagining myself killing somebody as well, but remember that this is medieval Europe we're talking about, not 21st-century North America. Most people were very poor peasants who had enough trouble feeding themselves as it was (and, being peasants, were in a subservient relationship to the lord of the manor or whoever owned the land that they worked on), and a lot of value was placed in those days on land ownership and property. Under the circumstances, either of us would have probably felt much more inclined to defend our land and kill someone in the process if necessary.


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