“gypped” is rascist language

Dear Editor,
It was with disbelief that I read the title of an article in last week’s Concordian-“Student Feels Gypped by ConU Admin”. I never thought I would see such rascist language used in our student newspaper, or any newspaper in Canada.
Let me explain, the word “to gyp” is a verb which means to swindle or to cheat. It is derived from the word Gypsy. Using this word perpetuates a racial stereotype that Gypsies or Roma, as they prefer to be called, are thiefs and cheaters. A fair comparison can be drawn with the phrase “to be jewed”. Few people would ever use that phrase today because of the awareness that it is offensive and perpetuates racism against a people.
Unfortunately the Gypsies-misnamed by ignorant English settlers in the 16th century who believed they originated from Egypt, when in fact their origins are in Northern India, traditionally have not been as politically organized in order to raise awareness of the rascism they continue to face. The Roma have faced discrimination and rascism throughout history. From the Holocaust, when half a million were murdered in Europe, to enforced sterilization of Roma women during the Soviet regime, to today. Today Roma are murdered and assaulted by neo-nazis in central and eastern europe. They also face debilitating discrimination in the social arena, including literal ghettoization in housing and a government policy in eastern european states of sending Roma children to schools for the mentally disabled. The reason that racially motivated attacks and systemic discrimination continues is because rascist stereotypes of the Roma as dirty cheaters, swindlers living outside society, thiefs, etc, continue. It is important that we educate ourselves not to perpetuate these stereotypes. Using the word “gypped” is not only offensive and rascist, it continues a cycle of violence and poverty against an oppressed people. Please check your language more carefully next time.

Kealia Curtis
3rd year Political Science and Communications
CSU VP Internal


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