I’ve repeatedly seen the “don’t use this, can’t say that” gatekeeping nonsense. I’m Rom, and the issue of “don’t use Gypsy” and “don’t Say Gypsy” is very relevant to me. What’s worse, who asked me, who asked the Rom? No one.
So do us, me and the Rom that I come from, a favor and stop it.
Because, in my many travels on this Earth, one (maybe two) people have ever asked me about my opinion on the subject. And do you know what I said? “Why not?”
Gypsies, travelers, that is who the Rom have been since the 1400s. It doesn’t offend me. It didn’t offend my grandmother.
I will never understand why the English can’t keep to English problems—of which there are many—and stop inventing problems in places that there were none. Except, I know exactly why these “problems” are created, to distract from the many problems the English have that they refuse to face. Attack others for being “wrong” and distract from the wrong they have perpetuated.
To those who insist on barking about Gypsy being used in names, used by other people, by—GASP—non-Rom people, go be offended somewhere else.
Until you take the time to do something other than be a keyboard warrior, until you put your money where your mouth is and open a shop, stop bugging us with your made-up English problems.
Problems that do not exist, problems that have never existed.
Are you working to remove the settlement laws in Nitro, Charleston, Vienna and everywhere else? Do you even know what I mean?
You are not a real supporter, you are fake supporter who uses the community for your own gratification, to achieve your own goals. Nothing you are doing is bettering our community.
What you are doing is taking the already difficult process of one finding their own path and raining a mudslide down on it, paving a way, not for those who seek and wish to find community and connection, but bulldozing an expressway through our community for you, and others like you, who want to “feel good” and get pats on the head for being socially conscious and culturally sensitive, over issues that we have not had, over problems that do not exist.
What you are doing is dog-whistling to your fellow English, what you are doing is taking a culture, a people, religious practices and turning them into a gladiatorial spectacle for your own enjoyment, sewing anger where none previously existed, and never needed your help.
So, what are you really doing is continuing the work of the Third Reich to erase us. Erase us from the conversation, erase us from history, and erase us from our very communities.
This is not why my grandmother’s family was sent to this country. Not chose to move here, but sent here but sent by their slave owner who was pressured by international powers to “release their slaves.”
Not released, not allowed to continue traveling as they saw fit, and not paid reparations.
Rounded up, forced onto ships, and sent into the unknown.
With what my grandmother and her family of nine could carry in their hands, at that very moment, ejected from where they were and sent away.
And after that ship set sail, the captain had to be bribed to keep from throwing elder family members overboard.
Eventually, my ancestors were dumped out on the docks of New York. They were not immigrants, they were not refugees—banished, exiled, outcasts.
They left with little to nothing, they lost much of that trying to keep their elders alive, they arrived here forced out of their home country, with nothing. Their entire life uprooted, their futures uncertain, with no clue what they were supposed to do next.
That is what your pumpkin spice-drinking, Ugg-wearing, Rebeca Crystal-worshiping self thinks is a “slur.”
What you are doing is furthering Nazi-era propaganda and continuing the erasure of people and communities. You’re engaging in quiet genocide of a people, destroying it’s heritage and culture, whitewashing the pain and suffering, all in the name of social justice.
Because you want to get rid of a word that you, ensconced in white privilege, are uncomfortable hearing, and that you feel shouldn’t be used. Because you have decided to be offended on our behalf.
Even as a member of that community tries to tell you how wrong you are, you continue to double down on it.