General Question

nayeight's avatar

Why don't people like gypsies?

Asked by nayeight (3345points) June 4th, 2009 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

72 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Why don’t people like <fill in the blank>?

nayeight's avatar

Good point Ivan. But I’m not talking about <fill in the blank>, Im talking about gypsies.

lazydaisy's avatar

Who doesn’t like gypsies?

Maybe, like other cultures, they have a powerful negative stereotype.

bythebay's avatar

All I know is that when I was little and would misbehave, my Mother would say “That’s it, I’m selling you to the gypsies”. ;)

Dog's avatar

I have nothing against Gypsies nor does anyone I know.

If you provided a link to an example it would help us discuss the matter further.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

What kind of Gypsies are you talking about? There are soooooo many different kinds you know. Do you know?

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t accept the premise. It says that one group is “people,” the other group is “gypsies,” and everyone in the “people” group dislikes everyone in the “gypsies” group. That is just nonsense.

People do have a tribal mindset that must have been with us for a very long time. Definitions of “us” and “them” seem to have infinite variations, but there is always a “them” and an “us.” And there’s always somebody who doesn’t like “them.” But you can’t go around assuming that everyone feels the same way about any group.

LauratheRockStar's avatar


In many countries (particularly eastern Europe) the Roma (gypsies) are considered to be depraved thieves without morals.

I think it’s relatively similar to any type of racism. Some people have fairly little power and their lifestyle is different than the majority, so the majority thinks they’re dangerous and strange. Next thing you know, all Roma are considered theives, vagabonds and the like.

It’s odd. I’ve heard really really progressive minded folk who think “all people are equal” and then they just shake their heads and tut tut about Roma, saying that it’s not their faults but they all tend to be heathens. Quite odd.

whatthefluther's avatar

I don’t believe Cher helped much:

I was born in the wagon of a travelin’ show
My mama used to dance for the money they’d throw
Papa would do whatever he could
Preach a little gospel
Sell a couple bottles of doctor good

“Gypsies, tramps and thieves”
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us “gypsies, tramps and thieves”
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down

Picked up a boy just south of Mobile
Gave him a ride, filled him with a hot meal
I was sixteen, he was twenty-one
Rode with us to Memphis
And papa would of shot him if he knew what he’d done


Never had schoolin’ but he taught me well
With his smooth southern style
Three months later, I’m a gal in trouble
And I haven’t seen him for a while, oh
I haven’t seen him for a while, oh

She was born in the wagon of a travelin’ show
Her mama had to dance for the money they’d throw
Grandpa’d do whatever he could
Preach a little gospel
Sell a couple bottles of doctor good

nayeight's avatar

I don’t really have a link or anything. My sister was watching the cartoon version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and in the movie the priest and others hated gypsies. This then made me think of people in the media or that I know that have talked bad about gypsies. It’s never anything specific that they hate about them besides being “dirty thieves”. I’ve never known any gypsies or I don’t think so and so I just asked hoping that others might have something to bring to the conversation. Sorry for being to general but that was really the only question in my mind at the time.

robmandu's avatar

I heard they steal babies.

Wait. Or was that dingoes?

Hell, I can’t remember. Better hate both to be sure.

You know what… I’m gonna hate babies as well. Can’t be too safe.

_bob's avatar

Another interesting reading.

bythebay's avatar

@robmandu: Equal Opportunity hater, very magnanimous of you. ;p

adreamofautumn's avatar

I think that’s a very wide assumption, however I will say that people frequently categorize all people in a certain race/group/religion/ethnicity/etc/etc/etc based on actions they witnessed from a few. I have no problems with gypsies (in fact they never cross my mind at all really…), but when I was in France a few years ago me and some friends witnessed TWICE in different areas people throw a “baby” (which turned out to be a doll) at a person and when they drop their stuff to catch the “baby” they would take their stuff and RUN. A french friend we were with told us they were “gypsies” and they did that to tourists who didn’t know better all the time. In cases like that, I imagine the people of that particular city/town would have less than pleasant feelings towards that particular group of “gypsies” (who even knows if that’s what they were or if they were being scapegoated). But overall, i’m not sure the assessment “people hate gypsies” makes sense. I’d be pissed at anyone that threw a pretend baby at me then stole my stuff! ;).

ubersiren's avatar

I think they have a reputation for being general tricksters and low-lives.

btko's avatar

I don’t like gypsies because I was hit on the leg with a glass bottle after the gypsy parents told their gypsy daughter to attack me because I wouldn’t give her any change.

Aethelwine's avatar

There was a show on FX recently called The Riches. It was about gypsies, it only lasted 2 seasons. You may be on to something.

I loved the show btw!

wundayatta's avatar

So you’re asking something like “what prejudices do some people have against gypsies?”

Isn’t that kind of like asking “what prejudices do some people have against dark-skinned people?”

It seems to me, that to some degree, repeating the prejudice is propagating the prejudice, but perhaps I’m wrong. If your avatar is representative of the way you look, you would know better than I do.

Response moderated
DarkScribe's avatar

I’m people and I quite like Gypsies.

YARNLADY's avatar

The general population knows very little about “gypsies” and therefore stereotypes them into a category based on the worst possible false stories. It’s very similar to saying the only good Indian (Native American)is a dead Indian. (I am of Choctaw decent).

Jeruba's avatar

In the time and place that Victor Hugo wrote about in his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, there was no such thing as political correctness. Many people hated and feared gypsies because they kept to themselves, had no settled home, did not subscribe to the laws and conventions of the town dwellers, had a different appearance and different customs, and had a reputation for flouting conventional moral standards by lying, cheating, and stealing from people who were not of their own kind. It is easy to hate people who are different from you, no matter what the differences, because they can be seen as a threat of some sort.

The story would not have worked if Esmeralda had been a nice little maiden of the town.

buster's avatar

I don’t dislike all gypsies but I know two gypsies that run a used car lot and I don’t like them. They fleece the shit out of people with bad credit. The put sawdust in leaky radiators and all sorts of wrong stuff. Its easier for one bad egg to to make a small group look bad than a large group. Not that thats right but thats how it works. The people that don’t like gypsies in this thread all had bad experiences with them.

YARNLADY's avatar

@buster I know a Methodist who owns a used car lot just like that. It means all Christians are just like gypsies. (true story, I got cheated)

ems's avatar

I am afraid of gypsies throwing curses at me.

Darwin's avatar

What @Jeruba said.

It is easy to dislike a group of people who look different, dress differently, speak a different language, live differently, and who tend to consider folks outside the group to be fair game.

I don’t think I know any gypsies personally, but then they might not have told me because they still don’t trust outsiders not to be prejudiced.

MacBean's avatar

@bythebay I’m in my mid-20s and my mother still threatens to sell me to the gypsies sometimes. XD

bythebay's avatar

@MacBean: We must not be too bad if they’ve never followed through!

MacBean's avatar

@bythebay: That or we’re so bad even the gypsies didn’t want us!

bythebay's avatar

@MacBean: ;P good point!

wundayatta's avatar

I’d love to be sold to the gypsies! At least, in one life.

ems's avatar

The gypsies in my city go around bars selling roses and cheap stuffed animals. I honestly didn’t know gypsies were real. I thought they were witches and fortune tellers when I was a kid.

_Jade_'s avatar

I can’t speak for everyone, but I think it boils down to racism, not fully understanding a culture and accepting a stereotype without bothering to find out the truth. I only know one Gypsy, but if he is any indication of Gypsies as a people, I would certainly love to know more. Every ethnic group has it’s good and it’s bad. It’s wrong to condemn an entire culture based on stereotypes and old stories used to scare children (which is also wrong).

EmpressPixie's avatar

A wee bit of history to make this topic more accessible:
Traditionally, the gypsies had a skill-set that was adapted to their nomadic lifestyle. They could come into a town, fix pots and pans or sell crafts and then move on. People have always had a distrust of outsiders, so while people would purchase work from them, they weren’t exactly welcomed.

Then the holocaust came, and Hitler tried to kill them. Then communism came and suddenly the nomadic lifestyle was no longer permitted. Thus, a people with a skill set based on moving around were no longer able to employ their skill set appropriately and they were stuck in a town full of people who didn’t really trust or like them to begin with (as they were outsiders).

The problem of racism against gypsies—especially in central and eastern Europe is a pretty serious one. In a lot of ways, it’s not dissimilar from the American issue of Mexican immigrants.

Poopy's avatar

Not everyone is welcome here, right? You wouldn’t be where I roam either.

Poopy's avatar

@ Whatthefluther. Cher song is based on stereotypes.

Poopy's avatar

@ MacBean bull crap, no one does.

Darwin's avatar

@Poopy – Are you in a bad mood today? A different perspective is always welcome, but perhaps you need to expand upon your thoughts and use complete sentences.

whatthefluther's avatar

@Poopy…..Very true and why I suggested that Cher did not do gypsies any favors with the song.
See ya….Gary/wtf
PS: Welcome to fluther.

Mat74UK's avatar

I think it’s their total disregard for both the law and the general populous of their surroundings!

In the words of Snatch:

Gorgeous George: “It’s a campsite. A pikey campsite.”
Tommy: “Ten points.”
Gorgeous George: “What are we doing here?”
Tommy: “We’re buying a caravan.”
Gorgeous George: “Off a pack of fucking pikeys?” What’s wrong with you? This will get messy.”
Tommy: “Oh, not if you’re here.”
Gorgeous George: “Oh, you bastard. I fucking hate pikeys.”

Arisztid's avatar

Well, I need to make a decision about this website so I am going to jump in.

First thing, I am Rromani Gypsy. I am going to use the word Gadje because, well, I am so used to it. Gadje = not Rromani.

Second thing, read @EmpressPixie‘s answer: link

I wish to emphasize that our traditional ways of making a living became mostly obsolete: mending pots and other metals, taming and training animals, entertaining (yes fortune telling is part of that), camping on a landowner’s site, paying him back for this by doing various labor, etc. Our traditional means of making a living had to be portable. In most nations of the world, at this time, we are not allowed to be nomadic or are exiles from various places. Most of our traditional ways of making a living are now obsolete.

There is the slave dynamic in Romania: the Vlax Rromani were enslaved there for 500 years, ending in 1850’s to 1860’s. Unlike the black people in America, we were not helped to integrate and no efforts of tolerance were made… to this day. We got a kick in the ass and, having lost our traditional skills, were kind of out in the cold. There is a lot of dislike and distrust on both sides (Rroma and Gadje)... and that is putting it mildly. After the Holocaust, we did not get a homeland or anything but another kick in the butt and, often, had to hide in the very camps themselves to escape the existing anti Tsigani laws. The hate has not stopped.

A lot of the problem stems from us having been the eternal outsiders for so long and having been mostly on the lower end of the socioeconomic strata for so long that we have a distrust of outsiders. If you want to understand an aspect of this, read this link

Many people say that we are just plain criminally inclined and Hitler and his Doo Whop crowd used that as an excuse to exterminate us, us being one of two peoples targeted in the Final Solution.

I am not going to say there is no Gypsy crime problem because that would be a flat out lie. I am not going to tell you that in some parts of our community we do not hold a standard that it is OK to rip off the Gadje. However, in nations where we are not starving and can get work, that is nowhere near as prevalent. And, despite what many say, even in those nations we try to get work but we are not hired. There are still some holdovers to that attitude in America but the vast majority do not have that attitude.

Rather I am going to point out that the ethnicities in the lowest socioeconomic strata are always in the same boat as ourselves and we have been in it a bloody long time. We are also strung out all over the world with no homeland to return to.

The thing is, if someone who is not a Gypsy stole something, that would be that individual stealing things. If I steal something, my entire ethnicity steals it. That is how it works with stereotyping.

Many say that we do not want work. Yes, some do not. However, most do. I know this from an insider point of view, hearing from my folki from EU and why they fled Romania.

Many say that we do not want an education. There is some truth to this and, luckily, it is passing. We now realize that we need a Gadje education to progress in this life. Also, in Europe, we are stuck in substandard schooling for the mentally impaired or, if we are in a regular school, are treated poorly. Combine this with our resistance to integrate, and you have parents who do not want to send their children to school. Despite this, yes, we are desperate for our children to have a chance, which means a Gadje education.

This answer now far exceeds the “oh when will he shut up” time so I shall stop. It could be three times this long.

I shall be interested to see what happens because I have noticed a marked dislike of my people in this thread. I am putting myself out on a limb, something I am very used to.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Arisztid: Excellent response! Not sure I would have responded as pleasantly had the question been directed at black people.

baileysmom12's avatar

@Arisztid I do love your answers. I wish more people had your personality and your level headed way of thinking. The world be a MUCH better place if we all too a page out of your book.

_Jade_'s avatar

@Arisztid: Well said, Ari. As usual, you have provided a dignified, informative answer to what must have been a difficult question.

Arisztid's avatar

@SABOTEUR… thankyou. It is kind of a normal question. I have fielded it many times. This time I had the brains to save it to my blog for the next times I answer it.
@baileysmom12… thankyou and the world would be a lot crazier
@Jade… thankyou. I am used to it

MacBean's avatar

@Arisztid ”[...] I have noticed a marked dislike of my people in this thread.

Really? I went back and read through everything more closely and only found four responses out of forty-six that I thought showed a dislike of gypsies, and even one of those was stretching it a little bit.

Also, there is no such thing as “Oh, when will he shut up?” time, especially when the answerer is speaking from personal experience! We like learning things here. :D

The_Anonymous_Witch's avatar

@Arisztid , i admire your restraint ;-)

Arisztid's avatar

@MacBean I should have said from some people. I am also going to try to throttle in my penchant for writing novellas as answers. I have written some 2–3 footers
@The_Anonymous_Witch… no restraint needed. Nothing here required it. I answer this one all the time. It is oft asked. Errr, at least I used to answer it all the time.

Ivy's avatar

@Arisztid “If I steal something, my entire ethnicity steals it. That is how it works with stereotyping.” Yes, yes, and yes. I pointed this out to so many people after the shootings at Ft. Hood and attacks on Muslims increased exponentially. My son was stationed at Ft. Bragg when a white, Christian officer attacked his own troops in the same manner and no one started attacking Christians. White Christians can be excused for mental illness, but not a Muslim. I live in what has always been known as ‘Indian Country’, surrounded by reservations buried in poverty, disease, and little or no education. Another group of people that were targeted for extermination, right here in the good ol’ U.S.A. The stereotyping of them being lazy drunks and thieves is rampant, and when an Indian freezes to death in the city park (surrounded by churches), if their death even makes it to the paper, they blame the poor victim, as happened to a 40 y.o. woman just last week. I’m proud of you for speaking up and out. We all need to speak up and out. This isn’t just a case of people calling other people names. As you so well know, people are dying and people are being senselessly killed ~ today and everyday, and since our news media is biased and doesn’t educate, it becomes the job of the brave and victimized to do it. I am very, very proud to be your friend.

Dabria's avatar

Most people have a dislike for Gypsies because they have sterotypical opinions, its what they are told to believe from their parents, also many people have feared gypsies as many believe they will ‘put a curse on them’, (some still do!)
Gypsies have often been seen as ‘lazy’, yet I don’t think you will find anyone as hard working as a gypsy! Infact gypies have often been used for hard labour and rejected when not needed.
Many Gypsies were executed by the state up until the 1660’s, and although the state executions stopped in the latter half of the seventeenth century, the punitive and restrictive laws continued. Gypsies were tolerated when they were useful as farm labour, entertainers or blacksmiths, and were made to move on when no longer useful. Gypsies survived thus on the margins of society until the outbreak of World War II.
The outbreak of war meant that Gypsies became a useful source of labour for the war effort. The darker side of those war years is that along with Jews, homosexuals, trade unionists, disabled persons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Gypsies were also victims of the Nazi regime.
Although the post war years brought about a new tolerance for a while, there was plenty of work around in reconstruction and indeed many people were living in caravans or prefabs. However, this tolerance was short lived as land became more and more scarce, which lead again to the attitude of people seeing gypsies as an unwanted race.
Gypsies are human beings like any of us, yet they have been outcasted in society and poorly treated, what I have mentioned here offers a slight insight of how gypsies have been used and disregarded by people for many many years.

Arisztid's avatar

@Dracool It works that way regarding all stereotypes. If [enter person here] does [enter action here], if the two are of a stereotype, all of the stereotyped people are “responsible.” If the person is not of the stereotyped group, the individual is responsible.

I concur regarding Ft. Bragg. I also consider the Native American Holocaust to be the largest in scope in recorded history. I say “recorded history” because that is all we have to go on. I saw a rather frightening documentary about the indigenous peoples in Canada that proves, yes, it still is going on and it is being squelched: unrepentant

Our news media and history itself does not report all and, indeed, buries things.

@Dabria Thankyou very much! You know more of history than most. I could add to that but that would be classified under “bloody long” even for me. Many shall disagree with you about us being hard working but I know better. Thankyou for your words. All of what you say is the truth.

For some reason, my father never threatened to sell me to the Gypsies. I wonder why. :P

The_Anonymous_Witch's avatar

well… i am people ... and i like gypsies….;-)

Dabria's avatar

@Arisztid thankyou for your comments, I might add that the only thing that people need to do is research some of the history of Gypsies and they will cleary see the truth.
I think many would be quite amazed at what they found!!

Jeruba's avatar

@Arisztid, I am very much interested in your answer and value its authenticity. I also respect the fact that you felt you were taking a risk in posting it. From what I know of this community, I don’t expect you to regret it. Welcome to fluther.

Arisztid's avatar

@The_Anonymous_Witch .. thankyou old friend. :)

@Dabria Thankyou very much. Not too many know about us and, frankly, not too many care to do the legwork to understand and dispel the stereotypes they hold about us. There is a lot behind “how” we are, how we came to be in the situation (especially in EU), and our, frankly, culturally xenophobic ways. There are some of us who say “tell nothing!” Some say “tell all!” (very few) Some say “tell some!” I fall into the “tell some” category. You cannot dispel stereotypes unless you have real information to put in their place.

You have to know the history and try to think from the mindset of a people who have no homeland and who never have had one combined with repeated attempts to exterminate us. Etc. :)

@Jeruba Thankyou very much. I have been nailed to the wall more times than I can count at various places. Basically, one of the reasons I answered this is because I decided that I liked Fluther and decided that this question would be the litmus test as to whether or not I would stay. Of course another reason I answered is because I have a different perspective on the subject than Gadje.

It is best, I have learned, to get it out in the open rather than being nailed later. Answer or post in a controversial question/forum thread about us and see how it is met. I also am proud of my ethnicity, not because of anything trivial like skin color, rather the fact that we are survivors. Hence, I refuse to hide “what” I am.

I am happy to be able to be able to stay here.

Jeruba's avatar

@Arisztid, I have often seen the children selling flowers in the street, but otherwise I had no particular experiences of any sort with Romany people until I met a woman at work who shared your heritage. She had been so moved by this book to become open and accepting of her family history that she changed her last name to Sigan. Her story gave me a lot to think about. I have never experienced prejudice based on my family background, but I have many Jewish friends, so I have had plenty of opportunity to understand how evil that kind of thinking is.

Arisztid's avatar

@Jeruba That is an excellent book. Sigan? That is how Tsigane is pronounced, sort of. Tsigane (and a busload of variants) is what we are called in much of EU. A lot of the older generations in America hid Rromani heritage from their children, making up some other lineage and saying they are various things like Mexican or “Mediterranean” so their children had a better chance at a good life.

If your friend would not mind, I would be interested in her story. If you could share, please PM me so we do not clutter this thread too much?

Aethelwine's avatar

@Arisztid I am fascinated by your story and so happy that you shared it with us. Thank you!

SABOTEUR's avatar

@jonsblond: Are you aware that the link to your profile is not working? I tried to reply to your recent message (Thanks for the add) but I was directed to an error page (

Aethelwine's avatar

@SABOTEUR That is strange. I have received other pm’s this evening. I am so not the person to figure this out! :(

SABOTEUR's avatar

@jonsblond: Maybe a moderator will pick up on this and correct the problem. I had no success trying to contact one myself.

Aethelwine's avatar

@SABOTEUR That’s strange. I went to contact the community manager Augustlan and it did the same to me for her. I can’t reach several profiles. hmmmm? I’ll try more.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@jonsblond: I think it’s a glitch. I tried to reply to another jelly and got the same error page. They’re probably working to correct it as we speak.

Dabria's avatar

@Arisztid Yes I understand exactly what you mean, thanks for all the information you have provided here, I hope at least some people who read this spend the time in understanding Gypsies.

nayeight's avatar

Wow, this question got a lot of responses…. :/

Arisztid's avatar

@jonsblond Thankyou very much. I am feeling a bit more comfy now. :)
@Dabria I hope so too.
@nayeight My fault I fear. :P

casheroo's avatar

I’m shocked my comment got modded.

tamms's avatar

i my self am a romany gypise have lived in a caravan all my life .never went to school but can read and write ok .i am now married with 4 children 3 go to school and are doing great.still to this day gypise children get cast aside .mychildren do have some good friends at school but ther are stilll that few people who dont like them because they are gypises .why ?? they are not rude have very good manors dont smell dont steal dont swear &dont lie .yes ther are some bad gypise people but isent ther good and bad in everyone??

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Arrested's avatar

Most of those who wonder why people don’t like gypsies wrote, that they either didn’t know gypsies or knew only 1 gypsy. I suggest them visiting a town in North-East Hungary where the majority of the population are gypsies. I especially suggest drinking a beer or two in a local pub there at night. Let’s see what their opinion is when they have experience

whothef_i_is's avatar

Im watching the show called “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” right now and it shows them from WV, which is where I live, and I have never met one. Anyways it shows then having to go to Virginia to get married because they are first cousins. It showed 3 women on the show saying their husbands were also their 1, 3, cousins. This is Taboo to most, even I admit I was raised to think that it would cause birth defects. It shows a part on the show where a woman wants silver and white for wedding colors and the man/cousin/groom speaks up and says NO I WANT BLUE and she becomes quiet and complies. When asked by the stores owner why he chose when in America the Normal is the woman chooses colors, decorations, etc. she says “Romi women obey their Romi man”——The girls that are young speak poor english too, when seeing her decorations in the reception room she said “its got to be a wonderfulest best snow room In my life and I am the happiest when Im gonna get like a big princess to be married” -(it was snow themed) By the comments I assume they dont go to school or they drop out when they are 16 not sure…..all this just blows my mind..I never knew what one was, and Im still not sure!

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