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<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: Non-static method BP_Options::get() should not be called statically in <b>/home1/lotusnhc/public_html/community.poppyswap.com/forum/bb-includes/backpress/functions.bp-options.php</b> on line <b>9</b><br /> International Roma Day (April 8) : Creating a more kind handmade community « Poppy Swap Forum

Poppy Swap Forum (Home) » Community Events and Education

International Roma Day (April 8) : Creating a more kind handmade community

Hiya!

Today is International Roma Day which celebrates Romani culture and contribution to society as well as raising awareness of the ongoing issues that the Romani people face throughout the world. As Poppy Swap sellers and buyers we have an opportunity to make our online, handcrafting community more inclusive, more kind, and more just by simply adjusting our language to honor a culture that many feel inspired by. 

The term “Gypsy” is a pejorative and offensive word used to describe the diverse population of people known as the Roma / Romani / Romany / Rroma, depending on local Roma dialect. Removing the word "Gypsy" from shop names, product descriptions, and profiles is an easy step to take.

While many folks on view “Gypsy” as just another descriptive term to be used to sell items or describe a situation it is important to recognize that words are the framework that hold together institutional racism. Words and their connotations are necessary tools of oppression, so they do hurt, they do matter, and they are worth questioning and hopefully dismantling.

As herbalists, especially those who practice Western herbalism, we have a particular responsibility to honor cultures that have perserved herbal knowledge through the centuries and that we now use today.  In my practice and devotional work with our plant kindred, I have watched how we become more like the plants we work with and the plants become more like us in turn.  So when there is a plant that plays particular importance within a culture or a remedy that is associated with a certain people, I pay attention to both the stories of the plants and of the people they are so closely intwined with.  There are many plants and remedies associated with Romani culture, from the mythic Queen of Hungary Water to "Gypsy" cold cures featuring Peppermint, Yarrow, and Elder, many herbalists have not only heard about these remedies, but make them as well.  What's more is that there is so much romanticizing that goes on about Romani culture and the Roma themselves, that learning historical Romani herbal remedies can be a hard thing to do, especially since Romani culture is beautifully diverse.

Interested in learning more? I recommend the following article by Professor Ian Hancock. He is of Romani descent and writes about the history of the use of the word “Gypsy” and why it is a term that is offensive and oppressive to the Roma people.

What's In A Name?

There are many more useful and appropriate words to use in place of "Gypsy" to describe shops, products, and livelihood, and I encourage folks to brainstorm below!

As a final note, I hope that any conversations that ensue from this post are from a place of compassion, willingness to learn, and understanding that words hold power so we should celebrate that gift and use them respectively.

All the best,
Alexis

Replies to this topic

  • admin
  • kiki

Alexis, 

Thank you so much for this post. We all need help at times to raise our awareness and collective consciousness to develop a more inclusive and peace producing world. Language is HUGE! Words have so much power and when we keep derogatory or racist language alive, even through innocence or ignorance, we reinforce systems of hate and potentially renew the experiences of pain and oppression.

Thank you again for calling us into the light and encouraging discussion. I'm going to repeat your final note here and hope that all who enter in the conversation can keep this at their center:

 

As a final note, I hope that any conversations that ensue from this post are from a place of compassion, willingness to learn, and understanding that words hold power so we should celebrate that gift and use them respectively.

Kiki
~bring people herbs~
poppyswap.com
  • mayamade
  • mayamade

this is an awesome article. thank you so much for posting it. i have seen cultural apporiation used, sometimes unwittingly, frequently and for a long time involving the roma people. this is something to think about involving how we use other names, and plants, that have historically been used by other cultures. thinking specifically of the indigenous peoples of the world.

http://www.poppyswap.com/shop/mayamade or you can go to my (still working on it site) at http://www.mayamade.net <3 love the plants, love each other.
  • Boline
  • Boline

Thank you thank you thank you for this post. My son is part Roma and this subject is near and dear to my heart. It is surprising how many people do not know that the term is a racist one. It is innocent ignorance, but igorance all the same.

As a chile, there was a Shel Silverstein poem that eventually was changed ("Gypsy to "Googy", whatever that means!) about how Roma steal children away from their parents. I am also always surprised that people don't know the term "gyp" (meaning to rip someone off) is from the word Gypsy and is also racist.

Boline: Witch made remedies, both medicinal and magickal, in Columbus, Ohio.

Thanks everyone for your kind words, support, and continued effort to create change!

I am hopeful that as this conversation continues we can change the way we describe ourselves, our products, and our shops here on Poppy Swap (and out in the rest of the world).  

On another related note, with the premiere of "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" on TLC in the United States, I am planning on writing further articles on the use of the word "Gypsy" on other online platforms (like I have done on my blog) in an effort to expand the understanding of Roma culture beyond skewed, ratings-driven, reality television.  I encourage other folks to write here and other places about their experiences within the Roma community as well as their understanding of why "Gypsy" is an outdated and harmful.

Again, thank you, everyone, and let's keep talking!

All the best,
Alexis

  • mayamade
  • mayamade

hi boline! i don't think people know about the word gyped (or jewed) being racist. i totally agree, ignorance or not.  the issue i have had is when you kindly and with great love point out to a person that the word they are suing is racist do they stop and consider how language effects people or do they call you a politcally correct word nazi.

because one way the person is learning, as we all are, and the other the person is continuing a racist idea. and is no longer welcome in my life.

  • mayamade
  • mayamade

i gave this like to rosalee de la foret, just so you all know. i think the thread explains everything much much better then i could. i hope that she has additional ideas for us.

Thanks, mayamade!  Does Rosalee do work around the Roma cause and/or similar causes?  

P.S. On a side note, has anyone else noticed the strange additions to the tags for this and other forum threads?  Like "nike air max 2"? 

  • mayamade
  • mayamade

on facebook and herbmentor (and other places i am sure) she was giving away recipes and a cold care one was one of the recipes.

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