The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #164815   Message #3948545
Posted By: Raedwulf
06-Sep-18 - 10:31 AM
Thread Name: The 'Gypsy' Controversy
Subject: RE: The 'Gypsy' Controversary
Lots of people tell you what you can or cannot say, Bonzo. You just imagine that your opinion (often ill-expressed on here, if not also ill-informed) can never be wrong, therefore you remain heedless. It doesn't mean that you're right, let alone Right! I wonder if you understand the subtle difference there.

Anyway, language is tricky. I find it objectionable that Tyson Fury labels himself "The Gypsy King". He isn't Romany, he's of Irish Traveller descent. He isn't gypsy, he's just trying to claim the associated glamour / romanticism that goes with the word. As Bob Knight says, Romany & Irish (or Scottish, but the Scottish are all Irish anyway; there's another can of worms... ;-) ). Travellers are not the same thing at all.

The problem is that people use words with a broad definition, and therefore they use them carelessly, imagining that everyone else understands exactly the same thing as they meant... Which often doesn't happen. So, whatever I or A.N.Other may think, Gypsy in many people's ears does encompass Irish Travellers & others.

For some reason, I forget why, I had occasion to investigate the question of Romany population in the UK a few weeks ago. Depending on your estimate it runs up to 200-300K. Particularly, there is (or was) a significant concentration in Wales; I have no idea why. I may be wrong, but I think the separate & distinct Traveller community is much the same (from afore-mentioned curiosity). There is also an umbrella organisation that covers both & others. Not because they are the same thing; they know they are different; but because they know that 'gadjos' (a Romany word for outsider, non-Romany) don't discriminate between the different communities, they only see the similarities. So you might as well ally, if you're all being tarred with the same brush!

Gypsy, of course, derives from 'Egyptian', from the belief that the original Gypsies originated in Egypt. They didn't. They originated in India, and their language shows many fundamental & significant similarities with Hindi & other Indian languages. Equally, I understand that Traveller argot has strong links with Irish Gaelic.

As to whether or not Romany or Traveller consider "gypsy" an insult, I cannot say. I can only suggest that, as always, some will, some won't, some like Fury will use the term for what they can get out of it by any means, and some will embrace it. And there are many who will hold, in some degree, more than one of those positions, even if contradictory.

Such is human nature!