Are the Romani criminals?

In this thread I posted the following tangent:

And received the following reply:

Now I admit my surprise at the size of the current Romani population. I had believed that they were actually almost all killed by the Germans. But I still believe that the Romani are the victims of medai stereotyping, systematic marginalization, and that comments like that would be held as intolerable if made about almost any other social group in Europe.

Any thoughts or facts to contribute?

My thought on the matter is: What is the debate? True, they are real, (you can hardly wipe out a race of people stretched o’ower the earth) and they are stereotyped. What do you expect when mothers threaten to sell their children to them, if the tykes don’t eat their peas? However, there are stereotypes about most races which are honestly believed to be true. That seems more GQ then GD.

Also, as to why it is permitted, I would have to say because they are mobile. If you live in a London flat, and are gay, then you are likely to be offended if you hear a show making a gay joke. You will then try and change things. Gypsies tend to move, and thus don’t have a home base from which to protest, unlike the chap’s flat. I suppose they could hire a lawyer, but the impression I get is that they dont care what people say about them.

Yes. I’m glad Kal isn’t around any more. Since he is Romani, I’m sure he’d have a few choice things to contribute. As I understand it, the Romani or gypsies are no more criminally inclined than any other ethnic group, especially one which has been systematically marginalized. In other words, the notion that Romani are thieves is about as legitimate as the notion that blacks are lazy and about as insulting to them.

I’ll see if I can dig up some more information.

Some quick comments :

1)Your title is misrepresenting my statements. I didn’t claim that “roms are criminals” but that a particular kind of crime (and 'm including the exploitation of children for begging in my definition of crime) in a particular place is the province of a particular subset of the Rom population. The number of romanian street urchins (beggars, pickpockets, meter robbers…and even in some ases child prostitution) in Paris is estimated around 200-300.

  1. My statement isn’t anymore unnaceptable than stating for instance that the mafia in such or such place at such or such place was mostly in the hands of italian immigrants.
    3)I was wrong. I searched around and though this petty crime is apparently still in the hands of Roms in cities like Lyons and Marseilles, it’s not the case anymore in Paris, where they’ve apparently been supplanted by non-gypsies coming from a specific area in north-western Romania. However, the romani slums I was refering to apparently still provides a number of beggars (as i already mentionned, these beggars are women and children. I wouldn’t know about men that I couldn’t tell apart anyway).

4)We’re talking about a peculiar kind of immigrants. Besides cultural factors that might prevent them from “settling down”, the can’t rely, contrarily to other kind of illegal immigrants, to an existing established community, to help them “upgrading” to a pleasant life including underpaid under the table jobs and sleeping with ten other guys in an overpriced 30 square meters “flat”.

Immigrants from central europe are a rather recent phenomenon, non-rom romanians generally speaking don’t wan’t to have anything to do with them, and I don’t think they receive much support from the french Roms (Roms used as a generic term, since french roms actually aren’t Roms strictly speaking), either. Finally, contrarily to usual illegal immigrants, they generally come in whole families rather than as individual adult males, which certainly doesn’t simplify the issue.

Also, when I’m refering to “slums”, I really mean slums. Third-world style. No water, no toilets, rats running around, etc… and the whole thing being wrecked down from time to time by the authorities.

5)I searched around for the official positions about these issues of tzigane organizations, and found out that their main association headquarters, study and documentation center was situated a couple street away from home. So, I might pay them a visit in the coming day to inquire.
6)Since your OP is more general than my comment about beggars in Paris, I would mention that the criminality rate amongst nomadic gypsies (only around 1/3 of the french gypsies still follow this lifestyle) is much higher than in the general population. read figures as high as 30 times higher. However, since there aren’t any official figures (french law prevent authorities from establishing ethnicity-based statistics), they’re as likely to come from serious sociological studies than to have been made out of thin air.
By the way, the french gypsy population is about half a million people, I believe. I don’t know if it includes illegal immigrants or only french citizens. I don’t know either who exactly is included. For instance, one of my friend is part gypsy but never had any connection with this community, except for his father who disapeared from his life in quick order. So, would someone like him be included in this figure, I don’t know. In any case, it can only be a rough estimate, since, as I mentionned above, no official statistics exist.
Also, it seems around half a million of them have been killed during the holocaust. I’ve no clue about the population figures at this time, but on the basis of the current ones, I would assume that a much smaller part of the Rom population than of the jewish population has been murdered during WWII.

Wow. You have some interesting ideas about the Holocaust. Interesting, as in deeply historically misinformed.

I am not an expert, but I figure this much should be relatively common knowledge:

A. No Nazi ethnic purges in Spain. Period. Franco was not a vassal of Hitler.

B. Lots of Tzigane (Gypsies) as a hated ethnic minority in Romania today.

C. Gypsies, being nomadic, & breeding like, well, Gypsies, have presumably managed both to make up for whatever population losses they suffered in the 1940’s, & reëstablish themselves anywhere they want.
[snide]Gee, I wonder if you know about the number of Jews (who Hitler hated more) that survive today, or do you believe that Israel has a population somewhere south of 100 000?[/snide]

Hitler just wasn’t that successful at genocide, & the Gypsies weren’t his chief hated enemies like the Communists & the Jews.

Atually, I won’t pay them a visit, because it’s only possible by appointment, at unconvenient hours and upon paying a yearly fee.

Clair, sorry if I misrepresented your position.

Fools, Well excuuuuuse me. I readily admit to my ignorance. I did not know how dispersed the Romani were and are.

No snideness here- I find your “& breeding like, well, Gypsies …” offensive. Any more would move this to The Pit.

And they’re very much dispersed, indeed. For instance I learnt last year that there was a community living in Israel (and not recent immigrants, but people who have been there for a very long time).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that the Roma are Romanian.

Perhaps it’s gotten so that anyone who looks shady is labelled a “gypsy?”

No, but a lot of them are from the Hungarian/Romanian area. It never ceased to amaze me how openly racist intelligent and fairly liberal people were in Budapest when it came to issues about the Roma. Anytime I tried to chime in with a parallel about blacks and marginalization/poverty/racism in the U.S., every single time I was stopped with, “But you don’t understand. You can’t understand. The Roma. They’re different. They’re not like blacks. They don’t want to change.” :rolleyes:

How do you argue with that?

I didn’t mistake Roms for Romanians. Roms are gypsies from central europe. The people I was refering to are both Roms and Romanians.
As for you putting gypsies between bracket, I’m sorry, but I can’t keep up with the current american PC terminology. Romani is a shortening of the most derogatory term used in france to refer to them. The french equivalent to “gypsies” isn’t derogatory and refers to people who used to live in Spain. The french PC term would be translated by “travellers” in english, hence wouldn’t ring any bell on this board. Tziganes is sometimes used over here to refer to the whole group, and sometimes not. As a result of this mess, I used in my posts either roms (that can also refers to the whole group or for only a part of it) and gypsis as generic terms.
Concerning “everyone who looks shaddy” : I mentionned previously that I was mistaken about the street urchins, since the (insert word of your choice here) gangs that used them have apparently been superceded by non- (word of your choice) gangs also from Romania, at least in Paris. Concerning the shaddy appearance, the female (word of your choice) from central europe usually seen dragging their kids around, besides their usual skin complexion and language, wear a distinctive attire that won’t be worn by a random french shaddy character.
Of course, for all I know, they could be non- (word of your choice) Bulgarians wearing their usual countryside attire. However, the general concern about the Romanian (word of your choice) illegal immigrants living in slums in the Paris area and their activities let me assume that they actually are Romanian (word of your choice).
Comments about said concerns from a site that appears to be a (word of your choice) site since it displays their wheeled flag :

I let the translation up to you, given the late (actually early) hour. Basically they describe the awful living conditions in these slums and them becoming the center of various criminal activities, ranging from theft to child prostitution. They also (surprise!) refer to the people living here both as Romanians and as Roms.

By the way, I noticed that the same site gives a estimate (from the Council of Europe) of their population in Europe. According to the site, it would be betwen 7 and 9 millions, with five countries where they make up more than 5% of the overall population : Romania (between 1.2 and 2.5 millions) , Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic.

How are they both Roma and Romanian? Are the Roma who recently came to France from Romania? So far as I understand, Roma/Gypsy is a separate ethnic group from Romanian/Vlach/Romance-speaking Slavs.

If you’re referring to Guin statement:

I don’t think it has anything to do with “current American p.c. terminology.” Guin put “gypsy” in quotes for the same reason I just did, because she’s using “gypsy” for the word “gypsy” and not for its meaning. And I believe she’s under the same assumption that I am that Roma/Gypsy is a specific ethnic group.

“Traveller” is commonly used in English to refer to non-Roma Gypsies, such as the “Irish Travellers” (Pikies) in England and the United States.

Ethnicity and nationality are two different things - Roma is the former, Romanian the latter.

PC terminology in the UK:

  • Gypsy is capitalised

  • ‘Traveller communities’ is the term favoured to cover Roma, Irish travellers, and all other groups

  • In legal situations, ‘Gypsy’ covers all traveller communities and ethnicities.

That’s what I was trying to get at. Clairobscur’s post wasn’t clear on this point.

Actually, I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that. There are ethnic Roma AND ethnic Romanians. Most (but by no means all) of the latter live in the state of Romania, which coincidentally has a bit of a negative outlook on those citizens of a non-Romanian ethnic persuasion.

Welcome to Europe, bringing you ethnic conflict since before history began :rolleyes:

Precisely, yes. Actually not only from Romania (though in majority due to demographics) but also from various other central european countries (in particular, at some point, from Yugoslavia). However the current issue mostly involves Romanian groups.

Yes. But they can nevertheless be Romanian citizens.

Besides, there are a number of sub-groups. The gypsies who have been traditionnally living in France are Sintis or Manouches, not Roms.

Maybe I misunderstood her intent, then.

I heard about that (though only regarding the british isles, I wasn’t aware of it being the case in the USA). But this phenomenon doesn’t exist in France. And the french term “gens du voyage” (travelling people) specifically refers to gypsies, as far a I can tell including also the majority that doesn’t have a nomadic lifestyle anymore.

Just in case it wouldn’t be clear, once again due to termiology issues. I wasn’t using “Roms” here as a generic term but as the name of a sub-group.

Sintis and Roms (for instances) are both Gypsies (or whatever generic term you’re accustomed to). They have the same origin. They just are sub-groups that diverged after centuries of separation (contrarily to say, the irish “travellers” you were refering to, who never had anything to do with gypsies, and don’t belong to this ethnic group, if I understand correctly).

Ah, so they’re Romanian Roma. But what about the term Romani as you used it? I know it only as the Latin plural of Romanus. Romani ite domum.

So are they all considered Roma or not? Is “Gypsy” the only umbrella term for them?

Most Americans didn’t know about them either, until that Madelyne Toogood incident a few years ago, in which she was videotaped by a security camera savagely beating her daughter about the head. Apparently in the United States, Travellers are stereotyped as shoplifters and handyman-scammers.

the "gypsies in Israel are the Domari (I think, either that or a name begining with L, I’ve forgotten what Kal has told me in previous convversations).

As for the holocaust, there was a higher percentage of Roma and Sinti killed than there was Jewish. that’s not to take away anything from the suffering of Jewish people, but when your looking at 500,000 from what was then an estimated population of around 1.5 million it’s pretty significant. I’m not 100% on my figures, but it is representative.

the Nazi’s set up a specific bureau for “the treatment of the problem of the Gypsy Menace” almost it’s exact title, which didn’t close down until 1972.
the Irish Travellers self identify as “Pavee”, not pikeys. They speak Shelta, and have no cultural ties with the Rom.