Prom theme isn’t racist, you’re just sensitive

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Prom is the night that nearly every eligible student anticipates throughout the school year. One night to dress up, dine, and dance with your best friends and classmates is surely one to be memorable. This year’s theme was bohemian, and on the invitation cards read a phrase saying “Stay wild, gypsy child.” This seemingly harmless phrase spiked controversy and discussion among peers regarding its implications. In modern-day U.S., gypsy is not a racist term.

“Gypsy” is a historical word with varying definition and connotation. The word first sprung to life between the 8th and 10th century C.E., when tribes of Roma entered Europe. The tribes adopted the European term as a way to label themselves due to the lack of a singular nationality within their travelling tribes.

“The term “Roma” has come to include both the Sinti and Roma groupings, though some Roma prefer being known as ‘Gypsies’,” The United States Holocaust Museum explains in their article “Roma (Gypsies) In Prewar Europe.”

This means that the term “Gypsy” has neither a religious or racial connotation. Although initially it was a blanket term to label traveling nationalities ranging from Sinti and Roma groupings, it spread to cover other migrating groups consisting of Germans, Slovaks, and Croats according to Britannica. The label didn’t even become a slur until the Holocaust, when racial groups were targeted by the communist agenda.

The oligarchs of the Holocaust civil war misused the word as a blanket term to label any colored person, disregarding its original mixed definition of representing “a nomadic or free-spirited person” and/or “travelling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling.” (Oxford Dictionary).

Some may say we (US citizens) have romanticized the term and, as a result, have erased its past. In all reality by adopting and keeping this definition of gypsy, we are encouraging a more open-minded society which does not look down upon travelling or migrant workers. Although gypsy may be a term to be disgusted or hated by in other areas of the world, the US has come to embrace the gypsy lifestyle with little to no racial connection or general ambiguity.

By refusing to use the term on someone who has adopted it, you are creating more of a negative racial connotation to a word of which there shouldn’t be, plus you are refusing someone’s identity/association. By refusing to acknowledge the true, historical meaning of the term “gypsy,” you are erasing its past, its significance, and its impact on modern day society within the United States.

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