Gypsies, Travellers and Prejudices

Television is a great time-waster. It’s also a great source of entertainment. And occasionally, it makes us ask questions, seek more information.

This was the case when I came across the show on Foxtel called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. The show is based around the lives of Travellers and Gypsies, and I was disappointed to hear that in today’s age Gypsies and Travellers are being routinely discriminated against.

I remember dealing with Gypsies back in my younger days. They used to come through our town every summer. I remember their men being very proud, independent and decent fighters. Their girls are beautiful dancers and really easy on an eye. When the men weren’t busy smoking and talking trash, they earned their living as blacksmith and horse handlers. Women used to bring money into the tents by dancing and fortune telling. Their kids were known to help themselves on occasion with stuff that wasn’t bolted down, but I don’t remember it being a big problem – it’s not like they were the only ones with sticky fingers – there was enough home-grown low-lives to cause trouble throughout the year.

So where does this animosity is coming from? Why do we treat people who live next door to us, look like us, work like us with such content?

The answer, I think, is simple…. all this is because of the lack of knowledge and understanding.

Gypsies are different, in many ways still maintaining the way of life their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. They were known as nomads, as the “descendants of Cain”.

Because of this being different, Gypsies suffered greatly during the WWII. They were sent to extermination camps together with Jews and homosexuals.

This makes the way they are treated today even more appalling. It is really sad when in a 21st century UK a grown up man is afraid to show his face on TV for fear of loosing his job, or a bride is refusing to name the place of the wedding venue till the very last moment for fear of the venue cancelling on her simply because she’s a Gypsy.

 

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