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  • dennis 7:29PM
  • jmmeehan 7:29PM

The term "Gypsy"?

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  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Siv Lie is an ethnomusicology professor at U of Maryland and did her dissertation on Romani music and culture. She's done talks at Django in June touching on this subject. Michael H linked her dissertation on the site here: http://www.djangobooks.com/download/Lie Dissertation Final.pdf
    JojoIan StenlundBill Da Costa Williams
  • I think the preface of the dissertation sorts the matter succinctly
  • edited September 10
    Half the internet's mention of the word Negro in the last 10 years is right here in this thread.

    But on the serious note, it's not all just a PC thing. Words have different cultural weight and baggage in different places. Before I lived in the US I didn't give this or any other word mentioned here a second thought (although where I lived we have/had our own baggage) but I view them differently now having lived here for the past 20 years.
    Ian Stenlund
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Di Mauro x 3, Sonora, Favino (classical), Bucolo, Patenotte, Hoyer, Martino resonator and a few electrics.
    edited September 10
    I watched 'Les Fils du Vent' again, paying specific attention to the way the four describe themselves. Tchavolo, Moreno and Angelo all at various times refer to themselves as Manouche with not much else to add, although Moreno when asked about his appearance does explain (half jokingly) that he could not perform in a "sun hat and Heinekn T-shirt" as people would say "look at that Manouche" as if it was a put down.
    He also mentions that while he is Manouche, the others from any further east are Tsiganes, like his wife.
    (Here the subtitles substitute Tsiganes with Gypsies).
    Ninine Garcia has the most to say although it seems he contradicts himself with some complaints.
    He states he is half-Manouche, his father being Manouche but his mother is "like the Gipsy Kings a Gitan".
    When asked if he doesn't like that term he says "it is a general term and not accurate, everyone gets it wrong, we are Manouches, Sintis, Yeniches or Voyageurs, but the Gadje call us Gitans".
    He also says "it is not pejorative, but wrong, they call us Gitans, the ones from the south" yet he has already claimed he is half-Manouche and his mother is "like the Gipsy Kings" and therefore a Gitane, as in the race from the south.
    Descendants of the great Manitas de Plata and Jose Reyes, the various, and ever changing members of this group originate from the border region of southern France and Spain and have many times sung songs including phrases like 'soy Gitano' (I am Gitan) or, 'mi Gitanita' (my little Gitan girl) apparently with pride. I was lucky enough to spend time around them in Arles, Ste Marie de la Mer and Nimes on various visits and when they are not being the world famous 'Gipsy Kings' but hanging out at home with family, the various cousins and children all take turns in playing the real deal, real Gypsy music. I even witnessed a small show by Manitas himself in his retirement. The point being they all call themselves Gitano with no sense of shame or insult, and seem proud to be so.
    Yet every time Ninine mentions 'Gitan' in the film, he thinks it incorrect and the English subtitles replace it with Gypsy or Gypsies, which brings us back to where we started.

    I had not seen the dissertation by Siv Lie before, but there are some points in that which explain the inconsistencies I was hearing from Ninine, specifically; "Gitan may have different meanings depending on context of usage, Gitan can refer specifically to French Romanies with Spanish roots, or Spanish Roma. Gitan can also be used as a colloquial, sometimes pejorative, form of Tsiganes and thus more accurately corresponds to the English meaning of "Gypsy" than does Tsigane. In my translations from French, I preserve Gitan when it is used to refer to the Romani subgroup with Spanish roots. When its usage corresponds more closely with the English meanings of Gypsy, I translate Gitan as Gypsy".

    No wonder Ninine was confused! On the one hand he says his mother comes from the south and is therefore a real Gitane, from a genuine tribe proud to be identified as such, but on the other he dislikes being called Gitan in the sense it can also just mean Gypsy in a pejorative way.
    He also then says, as if it explains his dilemma, that "Sioux, Commanches, Apaches are all Indians, the same language, the same culture" which surely shows a complete ignorance of a similar lumping together of different tribes and is equally insulting to all concerned!

    Then, the icing on the cake, later in the film he sings back at the family barbeque making up a song about "I am a little Gitan, a Gitan from Colombes......"
    Is this a case of we can joke about ourselves, but non-Gitans are not allowed to use this word?
    Is this similar to how Dave Allen was allowed to tell such Irish jokes on British TV, yet no Brit could?
    And why did I feel guilty about laughing so much when I saw Jackie Mason at the Playhouse Theatre, London back in the '90s and probably one of very few 'Goyim' in the audience?

    May I respectfully suggest we ask Dennis for his opinion on this as he is probably the person on this forum who has spent the most time with these people - maybe he can shed some light?
    Ian Stenlund
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole,Gitane DG250m, Manouche Moreno, Anastasio,
    Wow, that dissertation is quite a read. Well worth pursuing in further detail.
    Ian Stenlund
    always learning
  • Ninine Garcia has the most to say although it seems he contradicts himself with some complaints.
    He states he is half-Manouche, his father being Manouche but his mother is "like the Gipsy Kings a Gitan".

    Please note that to add to Ninine's trouble, his name Garcia (father's name Mondine Garcia) is a spanish name, when most Manouches (especially in the suburbian city of Colombes where he lives) have german-sounding names (like the Baumgartner family, relatives of Django's son Lousson). And names like Reinhardt, Weiss, Winterstein are definitely german-sounding names to a french ear.

    Best

    François
    Ian Stenlund
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Di Mauro x 3, Sonora, Favino (classical), Bucolo, Patenotte, Hoyer, Martino resonator and a few electrics.

    Please note that to add to Ninine's trouble, his name Garcia (father's name Mondine Garcia) is a spanish name, when most Manouches (especially in the suburbian city of Colombes where he lives) have german-sounding names (like the Baumgartner family, relatives of Django's son Lousson). And names like Reinhardt, Weiss, Winterstein are definitely german-sounding names to a french ear.

    And to any ear.
    Actually I had noted that and thought to mention it before, he says his father is Manouche and his mother is from the south, but Garcia? Or is there some way they assimilated the mother's surname? Maybe, but it would have read like I was being too hard on Ninine so I left that thought out. The point being, it seems ok to use the terms Gitan, Gitane, Gitano etc when referring specifically to the ones 'from the south' but not when it is used as a general label, particularly when the subjects are Manouche or Sinti. Truly a minefield for us Gadje to understand!
    Ian Stenlund
  • Ian StenlundIan Stenlund Minnesota, USA Gallato Django
    Great input on here. I recently ordered the 'Les Fils du Vent' DVD and haven't had a chance to watch it, so that is on the to-do list this week.
    MHC
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Di Mauro x 3, Sonora, Favino (classical), Bucolo, Patenotte, Hoyer, Martino resonator and a few electrics.
    Great input on here. I recently ordered the 'Les Fils du Vent' DVD and haven't had a chance to watch it, so that is on the to-do list this week.
    A great film on many levels, just don't expect the sub-titles to always be an accurate translation.

    Ian StenlundAndrew Ulle
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    I wrote a lot about this topic here, so I don't have much to add.

    http://denischang.com/index.php/2015/08/09/sinti-culture-language-and-the-origin-of-the-name-django/

    I will say that this very past week, I hosted Dorado Schmitt's family in my home (minus Dorado himself), and this week, I have Sinti from Germany here. We actually talked about this. They have no problems with the word Gypsy. They don't find it offensive at all. However, I will, of course, never lump everyone into the same category. I will happily call anyone by how they want to be called. But I would definitely be annoyed if a non-Gypsy tells me not to use that word because it's offensive. A friend of mine in SF used the term Gypsy Jazz and was corrected and told he should call it Roma Jazz. I guarantee you that it would royally piss off a Sinto if that were to happen.
    François RAVEZChris MartinaltonIan Stenlund
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