Archive for the 'Roma' Category

Istanbul: Historic Roma District Faces Destruction

Turkey’s Prime Minister has called a historic Roma (Gypsy) district in Istanbul “ugly” as the government plans to evict its ancient residents in the name of development.


A U.S. government agency has sent a letter of protest to PM Erdogan urging to reconsider planned destruction of Sulukule, one of the oldest Romani settlments in Europe.

A petition is available for your signatures.

Yahoo! the ®acist

One wouldn’t expect the webmasters of’s homepage be academics, but being blatant racists isn’t too helpful either.

Linking to an Associated Press article about business controversy of two Romani “clans,” Yahoo! summarized the news on its homepage several hours ago as “Gypsies’ fortunetelling feud” and that “Gypsy feud gives rare look at hidden culture.” 

From the first look, there is nothing wrong with the title, but consider how we’d feel if it said “Jews’ fortunetelling feud” or for that matter “Jews’ jewelry feud” or “Armenians’ jewelry feud.”  This is in lines with popular stereotype and racism against the Romani people, most of who prefer not to be called Gypsy (one reason the omnipresent racism against them), as seen in American TV icon Judge Judy’s racist comments and her usage of the word “Gypsy” as a derogatory term.

The Associated Press article itself is not free of stereotype; the whole style of the article is somewhat arrogant and presents Gypsies as an essentialist entity.  Although it takes a note that Gypsies faced persecution in Europe after migrating there in the 1300s, there is no reference to the Gypsy Genocide – part of the Holocaust – in which about half million Gypsies were mass murdered, a fact hardly mentioned in the context of Holocaust studies within the popular culture in the United States.  And more importantly, no reference to the unchallenged, blatant, dehumanizing and delegitimazing racism against the “Gypsies” in the United States.

I think Yahoo! the ®acists owe an apology to the Roma people.

Racism in the U.S. – From Judge Judy to Everyone Else

Image:Romany girl from cz 2005.jpg

A Romani woman from the Czech Republic.  For her and the other 15 million members of world’s Roma community the term “gypsy” is like the term “nigger” for African-Americans.  

I must confess that the only show I watch on American TV is Judge Judy.  I must say she is very entertaining, but often racist too.  Don’t get me wrong, that racism is not personal at all. Almost everyone else in the United States like Judge Judy uses the word “gypsy” to offend someone else.

I can’t recall the exact date and the case, but I have heard Judge Judy calling someone a “gypsy” as a derogatory term at least once this fall on My20 in Denver, Colorado.

Doing a Google search, I found another observation of Judge Judy’s usage of the g-word:

My name is Hilda and I’m from Australia. I admired Judge Judy and watched her show every day. Last week I got a shock of her comment. Judge Judy said to one of her client “she doesn’t look like a Gypsy thief does she?” I always thought Judge Judy was an inteligent women but how can a person with high inteligence make such an ignorant racist comment in national television?
I want a public apology from Judge Judy televised in national tv. about her racist comment of my race. I’m a Gypsy and I can assure Judge Judy I’m not a thief. I’m shure if she would of say “she doesn’t look like a Jewish thief or a Nigger thief” she would lose her job over it.. but is it ok to say Gypsy Thief?

Few people realize that “Gypsy” is actually reference to an ethnic group – just like Armenians, Russians, Germans.  There are about 15 million “Gypsies” in the world who prefer to be called Romani.

Judge Judy and the rest of America should go and educate themselves before making derogatory comments against an entire people who have been marginalized throughout centuries and due to omnipresent racism often hide their identities.

Roma action

If you have noticed, most of my posts deal with Armenian issues.  But in this entry I would like to invite my readers’ attention to injustice against the Roma (the “gypsies”) .  The letter below says it all with specific examples.  If you remember, Roma were also victims of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, and there is still lots of prejudice and hatred against this people.  Now I can go to see my emergency doctor.  Thank you, Borat for making me more human.

An exhibition “Watch out, gypsies!
Luxembourg, 26.3.2007, 16:04, (Roma network) The European Roma and Travellers Forum recently expressed its dissent with the organisation of an exhibition “Watch out, gypsies! The story of a misunderstanding” by the Luxembourg-City History Museum in cooperation with the Museum Astra in Sibiu/Romania. This exhibition is currently shown at the Luxembourg-City Museum in the context of “Luxembourg: European Capital of culture 2007” and will, later this year, be presented in Sibiu/Romania, Luxembourg’s partner city for this year.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum which represents Romani interests at European level criticises the fact that the exhibition has been conceived and implemented without participation of Roma organisations and their representatives.

The mere choice of the title and the use of the word “gypsies” throughout the whole exhibition constitute a provocation against Romani people who in 1971 at their first World Congress after WWII expressed their wish to be called Roma.

I have complained in the past about conferences on Roma which have taken place without any Roma participating or helping organize; most recently Alena Aissing ([email protected]) of the University of Florida has created such an event — a week long — consisting almost entirely of song and dance performances by non-Roma. The programme is reproduced below, and the promotional poster is attached.This kind of exploitation for academic gain has to stop. I urge all Romani organizations to e-mail your protests to the persons ultimately responsible: Amie Kreppel, Founding Director of the Center for European Studies ([email protected]) and in particular Jean Monnet, who is Chairman of the Miami European Union Center (reachable through [email protected]). Both of these individuals should know better, given the reality of the Romani experience. A conference to discuss Africans, or Jews, or Armenians, or Native Americans without their active participation would be unthinkable in this day and age; the same respect should apply. To promote racist stereotypes and inaccuracies (“Irish Gypsy Kelts”, “American Tribal Gypsy”) is a shameful reflection upon the institution of higher learning it represents.