Blog 3: Human Rights and Stereotypes

Many of the stereotypes and cliches about Romani people come from a culture of antigypsyism. For this week’s blog, go to http://www.amnesty.org/en/roma and read the content and watch the videos. Make sure that you have an understanding of the current Roma human rights crisis. After that, read Chapter 5 of Dr. Ian Hancock’s book We are the Romani people, “Explaining antigypsyism.” Then, answer these questions (300 words or more in total) by this Friday:

* Today’s antigypsyism is the culmination of many factors over time. What are they? How do they relate to the systemic racism that many Roma face today? How does the perpetuation of Gypsy stereotypes foster a culture of antigypsyism? Use examples from Hancock and Amnesty International to support your points.

Blog 2: The Danger of a Single Story

For this week’s blog, read chapter 11 and chapter 6 of We Are The Romani People by Ian Hancock and watch Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” and write about a “single story” that many non-Romani (gadje) have for Romani people. Choose an example to illustrate your point (something different than the example of sexualization for blog one) and provide a link to it if possible. The example could be a blog or blog post that uses cultural appropriation or that discusses “Gypsies” or “Gypsy culture” in a stereotypical way, it could be a song, film, TV show, a photoshoot… the list goes on. But make sure to do your own research so that you explain why the example is problematic and where the stereotype or misconception comes from. Use We Are the Romani People, by Ian Hancock to explain the complexity, origins, and/or misunderstanding of whichever “single story” Romani stereotype you choose to work with.

 

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Image from the blog http://www.gypsysouleblog.com/, both of which are examples of cultural appropriation and trade on the “free-spirit” stereotype

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and the gender and race bias at the Golden Globes

In her Huffington Post article  “‘Too Much Estrogen’: The Golden Globes, Chris Christie and Men Who Don’t Want to Share Culture,” Soraya Chemaly addresses accusations that the Golden Globes had “too much estrogen” with some hard facts about the gender and race disparity in the media and a good dose of satire. For extra credit, read the article and answer one or more of these questions, using Chemlay’s article to support your argument, in 300 words or more:

1. Why is it important for women to have a stronger presence in the media specifically?

2. Why is even a small increase in female presence in the media is so threatening to some men? What’s the solution?

3. How can humor support equality and raise awareness of gender and race discrimination? How can it hinder it? What’s the difference between those types of humor?

Remember to cite!

70th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Show

 

Image source: www.hollywoodreporter.com

Blog 1: The Sexy Gypsy

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Typical “Gypsy” Halloween costume from Yandy.com

For this blog response, I’d like you to read Ian Hancock’s article, “The ‘Gypsy’ Stereotype and the sexualization of Romani women” and then select a pop culture artifact (a TV show, movie, clothing/costume, song, blog or blog post, fashion spread, picture, ad, etc) that uses the Sexy Gypsy stereotype to analyze in 300 words.

Hancock explains that the”sexualized Gypsy” trope draws on a history of slavery, segregation, forced sterilization, and sexual exploitation of Romani people. This is problematic first because many of those human rights violations still plague the Romani people, and normalizing the stereotype of the sexualized, objectified, and dehumanized Gypsy woman, who’s spiritually and physically dirty and an object of pleasure, only serves to perpetuate misconceptions about Romani culture and Romani women. And worst of all, these misconceptions fuel the current human rights crisis. Hancock adds that this is not only true for Romani women– this is a facet of the wider problem that minority women are too often reduced to their sexuality and depicted and solely objects of desire in popular culture.

Also, from a writing craft perspective, stereotypes are cliched and one-dimensional. They are flat characters with nothing to add or say, instead, they function as props. In short, they’re bad writing. Three-dimensional characters step closer to depicting the human condition because they are closer to human nature, and consequently, they are far more compelling than stereotypes. Three-dimensional characters exist in art. As writers, we have compelling aesthetic and humanitarian reasons for forgoing stereotypes.

So, with Hancock in mind, include a link to the Sexy Gypsy example that you’ve selected and answer these questions:

1. How does the example sexualize Romani women?

2. What is problematic about the depiction? Use Hancock’s article to explain. Think about current and/or historical social problems that your example might evoke or reference as well as the repercussions of the stereotypes that the example reinforces. Be sure to cite Hancock, the example’s source, and anyone else you may use.

If you’re feeling stuck, consider this scene of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame as an example of the Sexy Gypsy stereotype. Esmeralda is the only Disney character to pole dance (and, later, to perform an unmarried makeout scene). In this way, she is unusually sexualized. The film is set in the 1400’s when Romani slavery in the Balkans was in full swing and Romani women were regularly sexually exploited by the men who enslaved them. While The Hunchback of Notre Dame  highlighted the social injustices that complicated Esmeralda’s life (segregation, prejudice, and genocide, to name a few), it also reinforced age-old misconceptions about Romani women such as promiscuity and loose morals, misconceptions which fuel the same anti-gypsyist sentiment that oppress Romani people both in the film and in reality.

So scour the internet! Let’s talk about The Sexy Gypsy.

Welcome ENC1142-01!

The Spring semester has commenced and here we are. The deal is that I post blog prompts here, and you respond to them in you own blog post in 300 words or more. Each blog will have its own specific instructions. You also need to leave a 100 word or more comment on a classmate’s blog– your classmates are all listed on the blog roll. It needs to be a thoughtful, specific, and respectful response to the blogger’s post– ideally, we’re fostering a discussion. Extra comments and extra class-relevant posts (you could post about Romani culture, Romani writers, writing in general, Romani issues, articles about writing and/or Romani arts and culture… etc) will count as extra-credit.

I suggest that you follow the blog so that you always know when it’s updated. You can always “unfollow” after the semester is finished, if you like, or you can hang around. Aside from the (mandatory) assigned blog posts, I’ll post extra class-relevant things from time to time and you can post responses to them for extra credit if you like, or you can just check them out.

Opre Roma!

 

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Roma Demo French Embassy – Photo Copyright: “Stalingrad ONeill”

Image source: www.indymedia.org.uk