The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #164815 Message #3948978
Posted By: Raedwulf
08-Sep-18 - 07:34 AM
Thread Name: The 'Gypsy' Controversy
Subject: RE: The 'Gypsy' Controversy
Vectis - as I understand it, the Irish have long had an itinerant travelling community; nothing to do with anyone being thrown off of the land . Although in fairness, that might have contributed some extra numbers!
Will - There was always a strain of casual, almost unthinking, strain of prejudice in British society at all levels. Again, in fairness, every society does this to some degree, because we are all human. I wouldn't go as far as Thompson in saying "Words rule us when we think we rule them". But we organise the world inside our heads by labelling things; how else could we do it? And amongst those labels are words that define other people as "different", "outsider", "not us". Welsh, for example, derives from a Germanic word meaning 'foreigner'. Inevitably, we tend to be wary of the unknown, and that can lead to...
The problem, in my opinion, is when people take the label for the thing & aren't aware that they are unthinkingly labelling an individual with a whole host of associations that may be screamingly inappropriate. So if I say black, ginger, Chinese, punk, rocker, mod, hippie, goth, Yank, French, fisherman, doctor, an image immediately arises in the mind of anyone reading. There may be truth in that image & in those associations. Cliches & stereotypes arise precisely because they occur often enough to stick in the collective consciousness (and then we make jokes about those cliches & stereotypes! ;-) ). But the error is when people stick a label on an individual & then fail to see the individual. If you see what I mean!