so i just saw a phrase “g***y magic” and i googled it to get more sense of what “g***y magic” was referring to because it made me uncomfortable as fuck just looking at it. i found a large amount of wicca sites claiming to know the magic of the romani/dom people. i’m not familiar with wicca at all (asides from the little i remember when i was 10 and wanted to be a witch), so this whole sect of “g***y magic” really stunned me. my immediate concerns were its truthfulness and whether or not it was something that outsiders could participate in. there is a real danger of people borrowing from racist stereotypes of ethnic groups to create what they believe are “traditions” of this group or actually taking things that are not allowed. for example, a lot of people espouse philosophy that is apparently “native-american”, when it is just a made up jumble of racist stereotypes of what first nations people in the americas believe. so i’ve been looking stuff up to see whether or not my suspicions are valid and i found this post, which i will now share with you.
“it is not possible for romani or dom traditions to be taught and practiced by outsiders of the culture. these traditions are passed down through family and community. and people are only considered part of these communities if they adhere to various traditional connections to their ethnic communities. just throwing things together and calling them ‘gypsy traditions’ doesn’t work – the community has to welcome you and feel that connection between you and their culture. otherwise, you are gadje - an outsider. even those brought into the community through marriage or birth may not be considered part of the culture if they are detached from various aspects that make up that culture. yes, even with romani or dom heritage, you can be gadje. on top of that, the majority of romani and dom are christian because of the (white, christian, often focusing on conversion) dominant cultures they live in. so some of the folk traditions and beliefs are beginning to slowly die out, only maintained by the few. painting all romani and dom with these traditions and beliefs ignores the slow erasure of folklore and culture through cultural assimilation.
third, the distribution of traditions painted as ‘gypsy magic’ to outside audiences en masse is a form of culture appropriation. as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the cultures of the romani and dom people are closed to those they do not welcome. taking these traditions, or even things that one labels as ‘gypsy traditions’ (even if they have no actual relation and are thus compromised of stereotypical bullshit), is appropriation of their culture for one’s own personal gain. that is stealing…
fourth, many of the traditions of ‘gypsy magic’ or tarot is based off of ethnic stereotypes, romanticizing images and ideas that are far from representative of the people these stereotypes are attached to. after all, many of those that are slandered as ‘gypsies’ aren’t even romani! folks like the pavee may even be white and have their own traditions, thus hardly the depiction of dark skinned ethnic beauties in their golden jewelry and brightly colored clothes. what’s worse, these popular depictions of ‘gypsies’ in fantasy worlds such as games, books and movies suggest that they don’t even exist anymore! like they’re some sort of magical fairies that add color and excitement (or theft and deception, like that’s so much better!) to such environments and then magically disappear from the world during the medieval times. yeah, the folks that are suffering from racial, class and cultural oppression throughout europe and various other locations throughout the world? don’t exist, apparently. those molotov cocktails being thrown into their homes and fascist organizations terrorizing entire communities just for existing? fiction, apparently. and their voices shouting at the world to stop these assaults on their peoples? just whispers in the wind.”
i’m looking for more information on this (because i’m curious to see exactly how inaccurate this concept is) but seriously y’all, i think the fact that the phrase “g***y magic” relies on an ethnic SLUR is a great clue that it’s racist as fuck. the hints of cultural appropriation and reliance on ethnic stereotypes with the term is also RACIST AS FUCK. don’t use this goddamn phrase.
FILE UNDER: SHIT WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT A LOT MORE.
i’m thinking of making a little zine about racist slurs that still get used a lot under the guise of hip, whismical alternative communities. it’d be super short, just a little run down of the power of words, and a short blurb about their history. this is largely because there is a vintage company in quebec (run by two white girls) called “boat people,” another enterprise (run by two white girls, again) called “sauvages” and i saw a necklace at a zine fair called “sqaw.” [sic] i don’t think a lot of these people are being intentionally shitheads, but i definitely think it is a sign that there’s a lot of work to be done in the arts community in quebec.
don’t even get me started on how many goddamn fashion bloggers think “gypsy” is interchangeable with the word “bohemian” or “whimsical.”
would anyone be interested in contributing?