ROMEA organization's standpoint on the use of the term "Gypsy" in literature
First published in Czech on 14 April 2010
The proposal made by Mr Miko regarding the Czech children's story about the tomcat Mikeš because it contains the word "Gypsy" is something we consider ridiculous. However, we have no choice but to issue a statement about this issue because it could harm the Romani community as a whole in the final result.
We absolutely reject the newspaper headlines alleging that "Romani people dislike tomcat Mikeš, call Lada a racist" and we would like to draw everybody's attention to the fact that the letter demanding the removal of that children's book from circulation is solely an activity of Mr Miko's and the associations who are affiliated with him. This is not an opinion generally shared by the Romani community (there is no mass petition to that effect accompanying his letter!) and therefore it is inappropriate to generalize that opinion as one held by all Roma.
Josef Lada and many other authors used this term in their works, and Romani people themselves considered it a neutral term in those days. There is no need to rewrite all titles containing the term "Gypsy", but there is a need to discuss the context in which new works are being created.
We are not going to raise hell about famous films or musical compositions using this term either, and we regret that this mini-scandal has been given so much attention by the media. The final upshot of all their attention may just be to further inflame relations between the majority society and the Roma.
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