The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23696   Message #3599686
Posted By: Jim Carroll
09-Feb-14 - 03:16 AM
Thread Name: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
Have got out more - thirty odd years more, so please don't tell...grandmother - eggs etc.
In the xenophobic world that we live in today - where it has become almost a crime to be 'different' "Real Gypsies" has become a form of racism - sometimes a frighting as Aryan - non Aryan.
We've seen this up close over the three decades we worked with Travellers.
Basically there is no important difference between the life-styles and problems of all Travellers today - they are all subject to extreme persecution.
We saw the results of this demonstrated in a spectacular fashion in London in the 1980s.
A group of Irish Travellers we were recording set up an organisation called 'The London Roadside Travellers', aimed at improving conditions for those residing mainly in East London.
They campaigned for permanent halting sites for the large number of mixed English, Scots Welsh and Irish Travellers in the area and won the support of the GLC and one of the local Councils, who entered into negotiations with the Government to raise money to establish several sites.
When some of these were completed the Council came to the group and told them they were unable to deal with them so they were not officially recognised - they would only turn the sites over to The Gypsy Council - the English Travellers group.
The Gypsy Council, who in those days adopted the "real Gypsy" line, turned the new sites over to English Gypsies, who by and large were still travelling in the rural areas surrounding London.
After a short time of settling the sites, the new occupants decided to move back on the road en-mass and sold their sites to the people who had fought for them in the first place.
Travellers are travellers and until that fact is recognised that they all share the same problems, the real and non Gypsy nonsense will continue to act as a divide-and-conquer crowbar to keep travellers in the squalid conditions in which they are forced to live.
Please don't try to tell me that I need to "get out more" - been there - done that, don't need to rely on romantic and mystical garbage.
One of the most telling statements to come out of the Radio Ballad, The Travelling people was when the Midlands resident house-dweller told the interviewer - "They can't be bothered to live like us... they're not real gypsies anyway - cue Spanish guitars and clicking castanets!!!
Jim Carroll