Discrimination Against The Gypsies Essay

4564 words - 18 pages

"There are some 15 million Roms dispersed across the world. Their history is one of suffering and misery, but it is also one of the victories of human spirit over the blows of fate. Today the Roms revive their culture and are looking for their identity. On the other hand, they integrate into the societies in which they live. If they are understood by their fellow citizens in their new homelands, their culture will enrich the society's atmosphere with the color and charm of spontaneity" (Ghandi).

The word Gypsy is used to describe a particular nomadic group of people who originated in Northern India. It was when they began their nomadic ways, for reasons unknown, and traveled to Europe that the term Gypsy was born because the Europeans mistook them for Egyptians, which they later shortened their name to gypsy. This group of people known more widely as Gypsies, are called Roma. The Roma people are composed of a multitude of cultures that have over time integrated into one big culture. Ian Hancock, a professor of Romani studies at the University of Texas in Austin, has done research on the Roma people and has deduced from evidence how the Roma culture took on many other cultures. Hancock believes that the Roma people, because they considered their lives of higher value than other cultures’ lives, they composed their army of many smaller neighboring cultures. As the Roma army began to fight the Muslim army who was attempting to take over Indian territory, they began to migrate into different parts of India and later on into Europe. These migrations have been speculated to be as early as the 11th century. The Roma people are comprised of three main tribal groups: the Gitanos, the Kalderash, and the Manush (Columbia). Because of the Roma’s diverse culture, there is no universal language or even traditions that all Roma follow. There are, however, five main points that all Roma have adopted. These are loyalty to family, a belief in God and the acknowledgement of the devil, a listing of standards and norms followed by the tribe members, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions from migrating (Patrin). They also all have a high level of respect for the elderly among their tribe, and put strict regulations on their unmarried women. Also, the different dialects of the Roma seem to have stemmed from one source, which is considered to be Punjabi or Hindi. Whatever tradition the different groups of Roma may have, they all hold on to these traditions and are still put into play today. For example, the Roma women are married young, usually around twelve or thirteen, and the marriages are arranged according to the ties or in an attempt to strengthen ties between two families (Wikipedia). Gypsy communities can be found all over the world. Gypsies were even among the earliest settlers in the Americas because the European government began rounding up entire Gypsy communities and deporting them to the Americas. Gypsies were...

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