Why do people think gypsies are dirty and stupid?

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  • #4107

    I’m a real gypsy (Rroma), and I have noticed a lot of people have stereotypes about my race/culture. Though we may not be widely recognized as a real minority group, other than from fairy tales and fantasies, we still receive prejudice and are the subjects of stereotypes from guyshaye (all other races that are not gypsy). People seem to label us as nothing more than petty thieves and criminals, and claim we are filthy and dumb compared to others. Why is this?

    User Detail :  

    Name : cOnFuSed-ChiK, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Gypsy, Religion : Greek Orthodox, Age : 20, City : somwhere in Florida, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : Self-Employed, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #20039

    H.J.
    Member

    I suppose the stereotype is because people tend to remember negative experiences more than positive experiences. The honest Gypsies are home working, going to school and being clean, so most people are only exposed to the thieving, dirty Gypsies. Also, there’s a long tradition in Europe of viewing Gypsies as ‘less than,’ and bad gypsy stories may have been passed down through generations of ‘Euro-Americans.’

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    Name : H.J., City : Los Angeles, State : CA Country : United States, 
    #29796

    Aleksandra
    Participant

    When I was younger I wasn’t allowed to talk to Gypsies because my parents said they were dirty thieves. After thinking this for many years I went to Eastern Europe for vacation and found out that in fact … my parents were right! They don’t have decent homes (nomads), they abuse animals (dancing bears), they are thieves (the United Kingdom’s growing problem in airports: Gypsie thieves) and last but not least, they are dirty. Have you ever taken a look at one? Or even worse, stood by one? Disgusting is the only word I can use to describe the stench.

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    Name : Aleksandra, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Black American, Religion : Orthodox Christian, Age : 26, City : na, State : na Country : United Kingdom, Occupation : Public Relations Director, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper class, 
    #37781

    Ann23810
    Participant

    Everyone in a whole race of people cannot be the same. The poster clearly states that she is a gypsy and you ask has she ever seen one? Come on, you can do better than that insulting response. After all, aren’t you in Public Relations?

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    Name : Ann23810, Gender : Female, City : Boston, State : MA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #13790

    JerryS
    Member

    Roma that blend in with the mainstream population more or less become invisible, at least in the United States, where the population as a whole is heterogenous. In European countries where the main population is more homogenous, any minority sticks out. The Germans and French have been name-calling for 1,000 years. Aside from those generalizations, from what I’ve read, Roma traditionally have a similar contempt for others and, to a degree, view them as prey. (I don’t have a lot of information, but I’ve read the Yoors book and a few other things.) Certainly the few Roma that I’ve knowingly met were con artists and thieves, and my wife saw them begging all over Poland when she visited there. Again, odds are that if a bank teller were a gypsy, I probably wouldn’t become aware of it unless I noticed an unusual name and got nosy.

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    Name : JerryS, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 52, City : New Britain, State : CT Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #37404

    Dominique
    Member

    It goes without saying that any group of people will have their good members as well as bad. And I’m sorry to tell you folks, dirtyness and stupidiness are not genetic. If it were, all the people who belong to Aleksandra’s ethnic group(s) would be stupid as well. Think about this: the comments you hear about Gypsies everywhere sound exactly the same as the ones I hear about other minority groups in the United States. If you aren’t a member of the ‘desired’ group, then you would be one of the ‘undesirables,’ as Hitler put it. The saddest part is that human beings of all backgrounds still harbor ignorance such as this, even though someone could be thinking the same about them.

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    Name : Dominique, Gender : F, Age : 20, City : Houston, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Scientist, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower class, 
    #23248

    Susan
    Member

    It’s unfortunate, yes, that people generalize about minority groups and cultures. However, the reputation of your ancient lineage has been tarnished by some seriously sick criminals. Where I live, ‘Gypsies’ (as they identify themselves) are usually engaged in confidence-game scams and thieving, frequently against vulnerable elderly people. They are also known to use their own children as a diversion; causing accidents in stores, for example, so that all the managers will come running and another Gypsy can steal merchandise or cash. The crimes they commit are considered the lowest of the low: exploiting the most vulnerable victims they can find.

    I understand not all people who identify themselves as Gypsies or Roma engage in this kind of conduct, but of course those are not the ones you hear about. And the Gypsies who do get caught are usually not at all shy about touting their heritage. In fact, in a class my husband went to, it was explained that Gypsy criminals frequently claim to have a ‘divine license to steal.’ Apparently there is a legend that a Gypsy attempted to steal the nails that were to be used to crucify Jesus. He was caught and punished or executed, but Jesus told him that from then on, his race would be exempt from punishment by heaven for stealing. I’d be interested to know if this is actually a widely held belief among Gypsies, or something that was invented by the ‘Gadje’ (non-Gypsies)

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    Name : Susan, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, City : Chicago, State : IL Country : United States, 
    #16901

    Jade
    Member

    In Spain, gypsies are treated badly, but in a way, I can see why. When I was little and living in Spain, we lived on the U.S. Air Force base, and I would leave my toys in the yard and so would all the other people living there. Things would always get stolen by the gypsies who lives on the vacant lot down the road – even our BBQ. I was in Spain in 2003 and everywhere you went you were harrassed by gypsies trying to sell you things. In a bar one day we didn’t want to buy a lighter from this gypsy woman and she stood there for about 10 minutes yelling and cussing at us. Three gypsies where caught in the time I was there for murdering people at bus stops for money. So if gypsies’ reputation in Spain isn’t very good, these are some of the reasons.

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    Name : Jade, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Spanish, Religion : Catholic, Age : 16, City : Sydney, State : NA Country : Australia, Occupation : Student, Social class : Upper class, 
    #26569

    Francesca-R
    Participant

    I am appalled at the message that says Rroma stink, are dirty thieves and abuse animals. I am rrom and have noticed that there are bad people in all races, classes etc. I judge people as individuals, not as a part of a race.

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    Name : Francesca-R, City : Leeds, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, 
    #18269

    Soila
    Member

    I have always empathized with the rrom and all outcasts of society. I was raised on the edge of society and know what it is to be untouchable. I love the gypsies, all they stand for, all they have withstood, and all they give to society. I wish i could contact confused chik and tell that person that we are not all hateful toward the gypsies.

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    Name : Soila, Gender : Female, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Age : 32, City : Oakland, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : Less than High School Diploma, Social class : Lower class, 
    #19179

    Betty
    Member

    Ignorance. That’s the only real answer as to why people create and believe stereotypes against entire demographics. I don’t think I’ve ever met a real Gypsy, but in my experience, they do seem to get a lot of bad press, for lack of a better term. They also seem to get little to no recognition here. It was only last year that I learned, to my horror because I had used the term before, that ‘gypped’ was derived from ‘Gypsy’ because of the stereotype that Gypsies were thieves.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Betty, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Bisexual, Race : Asian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 17, City : Medford, State : MA Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : Less than High School Diploma, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #33933

    Tinuviel
    Member

    When I traveled to Romania several years ago, I was amazed at the horrific way the Roma people are treated. One of the presidential candidates at the time was heard to say on the radio, ‘I will take all the Gypsies, the Hungarians and the Jews, put them in the Bucuresti stadium, and kill them.’ I was shocked. Such racist, nationalistic feeling! There was a very high population of Roma homeless children, as well, and this disturbed me a great deal. From my perspective, it seemed that both the Roma and the ‘true Romanians’ (a term many of my friends call themselves) helped perpetuate the stereotype. For the Roma’s part, I witnessed many involved in harassment of foreigners and stealing from the general populace. But I also met several college-educated (and extremely wealthy) Roma people during my visit, and good, plain Roma people living quiet lives. But even the ‘good ones’ were distrusted by my friends. The ‘true Romanians’ (forgive this term, please), for their part, summarily dismissed the Roma as awful, terrible beasts beneath consideration or hope. Some of my Romanian friends are genuinely loving, caring people, but when confronted with a Roma person — of any class or education level — they became absolutely uncaring and cold. It was amazing to behold. I was raised in a multi-ethnic family within the United States so you can imagine how surprising this was to me. Roma culture appears to be very closed, and I can understand why when you consider the horrible way general European society treats Roma people. As a side note, Roma music is spirited, beautiful stuff. It seems to reflect both the jubilation and suffering experienced by the Roma throughout the hundreds of years they have lived in Europe.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Tinuviel, Gender : Female, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Bahai Faith, Age : 37, City : Albuquerque, State : NM Country : United States, Occupation : Teacher, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower class, 
    #40591

    Nathan20143
    Participant

    I’m an English Romany gypsy. It really annoys me too that people think gypsies are bad people. I have been well educated and went to study business at college after high school. I have respect for people and me and my family are clean, decent people. Yes, there are dirty, rotten, thieving gypsies out there too. There is good and bad in everyone and you shouldn’t judge all of us all the same. Good gypsies are not shown enough for being the clean, decent people we are. The dirty, scummy gypsies get seen a lot for thieving, etc. The media only picks up on the bad stuff. We are not all bad. We are normal human beings like everyone else.

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    Name : Nathan20143, Gender : M, Race : Black/African American, Age : 40, City : Seattle, State : WA Country : United States, Occupation : Tech, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #21831

    Well I know that Polish people have lots of prejudice against gypsies, simply because Poland is filled with many homeless gypsies who are beggars on the street. I came from a small village and one of my closest friends was a gypsy. She often said she felt everyone looking at her with dislike. In my village the gypsies living there were all extremely wealthy because the government recompensated them. This brought on a lot of hatred and mistrust towards them.

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    Name : ScarletteLastar, Gender : Female, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Half Black-Half White, Religion : Humanist, Age : 22, City : Montreal, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : student/receptioniste, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #22109

    PetraG.
    Member

    I’m ethnically Romany, so I think I’m a decent judge of what constitutes an “average Gypsy.” It depends on the country and locale, sure, but in general we’re simply decent people trying to make it. The fact that most Roma are poorly educated and many have no job is another matter, the discussion of which would be more complicated. But to lump all Romanies together and say much of anything about us a group usually isn’t too smart. We’re just as diverse and stratified as, say, Jews – only our class distribution is different. Most Roma are poor, but that doesn’t mean they’re dirty or criminal any more than the Gadje (non-Roma) around them. People in Central/East Europe LOVE to act as if we Roma are the only ones who “abuse” the welfare system and have members of our ethnicity be a drain on t

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    Name : PetraG., Gender : Female, Race : I'm ethnically Romany (Gypsy), Age : 29, City : Boston, State : MA Country : United States, Occupation : PhD student/Teaching fellow, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
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