View on Romani and About Them

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Re: What religion are you?

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-10-18, 19:52

In Italy by now the word rom (Italian for Roma) has become as pejorative as zingaro (gypsie) if not even more so.

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Re: What religion are you?

Postby loqu » 2014-10-18, 22:09

In Spain, romaní is a word used exclusively by educated people about the Roma culture, and I'd say it's a technical term. Not even Roma people use that word. The standard word gitano may have a derogatory tone or be used neutrally, depending on the context. Roma people call themselves gitanos.
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Re: What religion are you?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-10-19, 8:07

To be fair, the attitude that Romani people themselves have towards the term "Gypsy" (with or without capitalization, or the equivalents of this term in various European languages) is highly variable, even in Eastern Europe. I have seen a Romanian Romani person taking great offense at that term and a Russian Romani person embracing it. But in any case, what is considered PC in one country/language is not necessarily going to be what is considered PC in another.

In English, "Romani" is attested in the literature since at least the 19th century, and "Gypsy" is quite a loaded term all too often used to refer to a lifestyle rather than an ethnicity.

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Re: What religion are you?

Postby הענט » 2014-10-19, 8:52

I agree with loqu. Cikán (Gypsy) can be both derogatory and neutral depending on the context.

Example: Jeden můj kolega je cikán. (One of my colleagues is Gypsy)
Zasraný cigoši (cigáni, cikáni), nechtěj makat!! ( Fucking Gypsies, they just don't wanna work!!)

The term cigán, cikán among Gypsies can be both neutral and derogative as well, but when they want to badmouth some other Gypsy whom they consider dirty or inferior, they will call him degeš (fem. degeška) .

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Re: What religion are you?

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2014-10-19, 10:29

mōdgethanc wrote:Well, we don't say "kike" anymore and "Jew" hasn't become pejorative instead, because there have been societal changes since then which have made antisemitism unacceptable nowadays.
I agree that "Jew" isn't, and shouldn't be, pejorative, but nonetheless a significant number of people (almost all of them non-Jews) do think it's pejorative and use "Jewish person" instead.
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Re: What religion are you?

Postby Weerwolf » 2014-10-19, 10:54

In Hungarian ’cigány’ (gypsy) is a neutral word [of course it can be negative if you put a pejorative adjective before it, like ’mocskos cigány’ (filthy gypsy) ]. I read an article by a Hungarian linguist on the use of politically correct terms in which the author says that ’cigány’ is not derogatory at all. Lots of Hungarian ’cigány’ organisations use this word in their names. In Hungarian you should avoid words like cigó and cigi, the PC term is cigány (or roma).

There are several factors that encourage the use of ’cigány’ versus ’roma’. Firstly, the majority of Hungarian gypsies (beás (băiaš) cigányok) wouldn’t like to be called ’roma’, because they find it derogatory. Secondly, the rules of Hungarian come in, the derived terms of the word ’roma’ sounds weird and nobody would use them.
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Re: What religion are you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-10-19, 18:31

Lazar Taxon wrote:I agree that "Jew" isn't, and shouldn't be, pejorative, but nonetheless a significant number of people (almost all of them non-Jews) do think it's pejorative and use "Jewish person" instead.
I've seen that too (it seems to be an American thing) but I've never heard a Jewish person object to it. It could be offensive in some contexts ("a Jew lawyer") but I don't see any difference between "two Jews just came in here" and "two Germans". I would still say "he's Jewish" rather than "he's a Jew" for the same reason I'd say "he's German": it sounds better.

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Re: What religion are you?

Postby Sol Invictus » 2014-10-19, 18:54

Weerwolf wrote:Firstly, the majority of Hungarian gypsies (beás (băiaš) cigányok) wouldn’t like to be called ’roma’, because they find it derogatory.

How come - are gipsies in Hungary members of another group or is there another reason? Here we are told that it is the name of one of major groups of gipsies and gipsies in Latvia also are members of it. Also čigāni isn't a derogatory term and they themselves also seem to use it, so only overly politicaly correct people would insist on using roma, for others it's a new synonim.

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Re: What religion are you?

Postby Weerwolf » 2014-10-19, 19:45

Sol Invictus wrote:
Weerwolf wrote:Firstly, the majority of Hungarian gypsies (beás (băiaš) cigányok) wouldn’t like to be called ’roma’, because they find it derogatory.

How come - are gipsies in Hungary members of another group or is there another reason? Here we are told that it is the name of one of major groups of gipsies and gipsies in Latvia also are members of it. Also čigāni isn't a derogatory term and they themselves also seem to use it, so only overly politicaly correct people would insist on using roma, for others it's a new synonim.

Depending mostly on the language there are different groups of gypsies in Hungary and there is a group (the one I mentioned above) that finds the term ’roma’ offensive. By the other groups ’cigány’ is the general term, ’roma’ is somewhat new but isn’t taken pejoratively. Certain people, like you say ’only overly politically correct people’ would use ’roma’ as the only correct term which I think originates from English-speaking PC – terminology.
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-10-19, 20:18

If I'm not much mistaken, Weerwolf is referring to the Boyash. I didn't even realize until now there were any outside of Romania (or maybe somebody told me there were and I forgot :P), and I'd never have guessed that they made up the majority of ethnic Romani people in Hungary. :shock: (I also didn't realize that "Ludari" and "Rudari" were just alternative names for this group of people even though I've seen those names before. Huh). In fact, I'm still skeptical about that claim, but I suppose it could be true for all I know.

Anyway, during the period of slavery in Romania, the ancestors of the Boyash were house slaves who were forbidden from speaking Romani or practicing their customs. As a result of this, the Boyash have ended up in a very awkward situation; they speak Romanian (albeit their own dialect of it), and I'm pretty sure they practice Romanian customs, yet even then, Romanian society does not accept them as Romanian because they're not ethnically Romanian. I think of this as a microcosm of the struggle for Romani people to deal with social pressure to assimilate to the culture of the majority on the one hand and with the realization that the majority will never accept them on the other.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Weerwolf » 2014-10-19, 21:04

vijayjohn wrote:[...] I'd never have guessed that they made up the majority of ethnic Romani people in Hungary[...]

I actually got that wrong in the sense of their number, the majority in Hungary is the so-called romungró or muzsikus cigányok (musical gypsies) but their mother tongue is mostly Hungarian. The Boyash tend to speak their own tongue, that's the case where we can speak about that they are in the majority. The Boyash are about 20 % of the Hungarian gypsy population.
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Sol Invictus » 2014-10-19, 21:06

That's strange, I thought problems minorities face are due to different culture. :shock: Here gipsies are mostly accepted, but there are still some unpleasent stereotypes about them, however it might be because there are some groups that have deep socioeconomic issues, but there are attempts to solve those problems.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Патрислав Андреевич » 2014-10-19, 21:48

Just adding my two cents.. I think I haven't heard anyone using the term Rom in Poland, except in TV (and on Wikipedia :lol: ) Hmm, the only time I have heard it used colloquially was when somebody was mocking being overly political correct on some drunken party. :lol: It feels like it's something that came and has been forced upon us from the West.

People mostly use the word Cygan (pl. Cyganie) parallel to other central and eastern european languages, and similarly it can be neutral (most commonly) or derogatory depending on context. No surprises there. Don't know what Gypsies themselves think about it here.

A quite common derogatory term for Gypsies is the word Rumun (a Romanian). It's a result of mixing up Romanians and Romas, common here. It's also used as an insult, e.g. "ty Rumunie!", with stereotypical Gypsies in mind, not Romanians.

In fact, when thinking about it, Cygan is not really derogatory. :hmm: I mean, for example, IME it's not used as an insult, while Rumun (like above), Żyd (a Jew), or sometimes even Murzyn (a Black) can be used when insulting someone.

As for myself, I use words Gypsy and Cygan, as these are the most natural to me. And while I could possibly switch to using Roma in English (which I use interchangeably with Gypsy even now), I can't see myself using that in Polish, it's just strange and overly PC, trying to fix something that ain't broken. :lol:

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Saim » 2014-10-19, 22:31

U Srbiji puno ljudi kaže "rom". Nije tako često kao "cigan", ali nije ni da je termin skoro odsutan kao što ipak jeste u Poljskoj i Kataloniji (kad u Kataloniji govorim o romima skoro niko me ne razume, a kad pominjem romski jezik kažu "zar se ne zove caló?").

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-10-20, 1:31

Thanks, Johanna, for moving this discussion here. :)
Weerwolf wrote:I actually got that wrong in the sense of their number, the majority in Hungary is the so-called romungró or muzsikus cigányok (musical gypsies) but their mother tongue is mostly Hungarian. The Boyash tend to speak their own tongue, that's the case where we can speak about that they are in the majority. The Boyash are about 20 % of the Hungarian gypsy population.

Aha! Good to know that my guess was right. :lol: Anyway, yeah, that sounds about right. The majority belong to the same group as my advisor's ancestor. :) I'm pretty sure the language shift in their case is much more recent, though.
Sol Invictus wrote:That's strange, I thought problems minorities face are due to different culture. :shock:

Not always. The struggle to deal with both cultures at the same time is often a problem faced by minorities (and I can vouch for that myself lol), but racism isn't always motivated by cultural differences. Jews in certain parts of Europe were not so culturally different from the majority non-Jewish population before World War II, but they were still victims of racism. Black people here are not so culturally different from white people here, but they're victims of racism, too.
xivrox wrote:Don't know what Gypsies themselves think about it here.

No offense, but see, that's the thing about this stuff that bothers me. Not a single one of us is Romani; why should we be the ones to decide what is derogatory or not? Shouldn't they have the right to decide for themselves what they want other people to call them?
A quite common derogatory term for Gypsies is the word Rumun (a Romanian). It's a result of mixing up Romanians and Romas, common here.

Not just in Poland - I think that's quite common in various parts of Europe. I've heard about this confusion between Romanians and Roma in Italy and Russia as well. I've also heard that Romanians hate it.
I can't see myself using that in Polish, it's just strange and overly PC, trying to fix something that ain't broken. :lol:

I think it's more like trying to fix something where you don't even know whether it's broken or not, tbh.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Sol Invictus » 2014-10-20, 5:18

vijayjohn wrote:
Sol Invictus wrote:That's strange, I thought problems minorities face are due to different culture. :shock:

Not always. The struggle to deal with both cultures at the same time is often a problem faced by minorities (and I can vouch for that myself lol), but racism isn't always motivated by cultural differences. Jews in certain parts of Europe were not so culturally different from the majority non-Jewish population before World War II, but they were still victims of racism. Black people here are not so culturally different from white people here, but they're victims of racism, too.

Maybe culture wasn't best word to describe what I mean, it seems to be mostly about lifestyle diffrences and political/religous views etc. The way that the particular group of gypsies were described makes it sound like they are like Romanians in every way, except for their ancestry

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby linguoboy » 2014-10-20, 15:12

Sol Invictus wrote:Maybe culture wasn't best word to describe what I mean, it seems to be mostly about lifestyle diffrences and political/religous views etc.

Yeah, that's not so much the case in the USA, where perceived race is such an important determiner of minority status. There are plenty of middle-class African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, etc. who were raised in a culture and lifestyle not very different from that of their White neighbours--and every one of them can tell you a story about being singled out for negative treatment on account of their race.

There's also what Freud termed the "the narcissism of small differences" coming into play here. The harder it is for anyone to distinguish Boyash from "ethnic" Rumanians, the more the latter have to insist that the difference is real and important.
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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-10-20, 22:58

And besides, the Jews and black people I mentioned in my last post didn't/don't necessarily have significant differences wrt lifestyle or political/religious views from other people where they live(d).

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Sol Invictus » 2014-10-21, 0:46

You seem to be focused on racism against certain individuals, but what I meant was perception of the group in general - if there's significant part of that minority that seems to be different from what is accepted by majority as "normal", some people will just overgeneralize and assume that this is how all members of that minority are. Like, if we return to gypsies, they often live in very poor conditions and are not educated, which does lead to some of them being rather antisocial (this is an example of what I meant by lifestyle), however people generalize and associate that kind of thing with all gypsies.

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Re: View on Gypsies and About Them

Postby Johanna » 2014-10-21, 1:27

Can we all just not call them "gypsies" in English? It's one thing if the corresponding term is OK in Czech for example, but that doesn't make one bit of a difference when it comes to English.
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