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Please stop putting "Gypsy Soul" on your Instagram bio.
When I refer to the "G" word, I'm referring to the word "gypsy." And yes, that is a racial slur.
For years, it's driven me nuts when privileged females refer to themselves as having "gypsy souls" or simply as a "gypsy."
In fact, the word "gypsy" is a derogatory term for a group of people called the Romani or Roma.
According to The Oxford Dictionary, the definition of gypsy is as follows:
A member of a traveling people with dark skin and hair who speak Romany and traditionally live by seasonal work, itinerant trade and fortune-telling.
Originating in India, the Romani people took to a traveling lifestyle and made money through trades. They primarily settled in Eastern Europe, but they live all over the world today.
A six-minute MTV Decoded video explains how the Romani people were stuck with the racial slur. Apparently, Europeans incorrectly thought the group of people was from Egypt, so they gave them the nickname "gypsy," and it's stuck with them ever since.
In Europe, "gypsies" are typically stereotyped as thieves, criminals and low-class citizens, if even citizens at all. During the Holocaust, Hitler exterminated at least 250,000 Roma, but their persecution dates back to the Middle Ages.
Now, have you ever heard of the term gypped? Otherwise known as, to cheat or swindle? This comes from the declared "untrustworthiness" of the Romani people.
Right now, the Romani are treated as second-class citizens, especially in Europe, despite the fact that there are over 10 million Romani residing there.
France has deported tens of thousands of Roma people, Denmark and Sweden are looking to expel them and Italy declared a state of emergency. These European countries deny social services, housing and support segregation.
Even in the United States, where there are over one million American Roma, citizens of the descent hide their heritage in order to avoid hate crimes because they might be a "dirty gypsy who only travels around in caravans and tells fortunes."
While many people of Romani background don't always have dark features, it is still feared to reveal having a heritage of Roma descent. I mean, if Hitler still murdered Romani that fit his Aryan standard back during World War II, then it makes sense that Romani descendants are still terrified to talk about heritages.
So, if you ever use the word gypsy to describe your "free-spirit," please choose a different word from the dictionary, because you are using a racial slur. You are a privileged woman, not an oppressed group of people.
And if you ever catch a friend referring to themselves as having a "gypsy soul" or if you even see it on an Instagram or Twitter bio, just let he or she know of their insensitivity and blatant racism.