Blog 6: “Gypsy Mafia” and the “Tough Guise”

” It is… clear that those law enforcement officers who focus on the people they refer to as “Gypsies” and on “Gypsy crime” are in violation of the constitutional protection afforded Romani Americans (“Gypsies”), who are shielded as a group from this kind of discrimination under the terms of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  While an individual must be judged on the nature of his offense, he cannot pay a price for being what he is, though it is abundantly clear that in the United States today, as in 18th century England, simply being a Gypsy is enough to brand a person as a lawbreaker. ” –Dr. Ian Hancock

This week you read Dr. Ian Hancock’s “Gypsy Mafia, Romani Saints: The Racial Profiling of Romani Americans” for class, in which he examines connections between pop culture representations of “Gypsies” and the US Law Enforcement’s unconstitutional practice of racial profiling.

In class today, we also watched the trailer to Jackson Katz’s documentary Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity in which he examines the correlation a culture of violence and ‘macho’ masculinity and pop culture artifacts that reflect that culture.

For your blog this week, you will select a scene from a film that depicts Romani men as violent and/or criminal stereotypes and use Hancock and Katz to analyze in 300 words. Come up with a thesis statement that poses an argument about the function of the Romani characters in that clip and use specific examples from the primary source (the clip) to analyze and use the secondary sources (Katz and Hancock) to support your thesis. First you’ll need to decide whether the characters are necessarily Gypsy or incidentally Gypsy (see Hancock’s The Origin and Function of the Gypsy Image in Children’s Literature).

Note* Both of these sources would be appropriate academic sources for your research paper, if relevant. If you want to use the documentary in your paper, make sure you rent, buy, or borrow the whole thing.

Thesis Statement guides:

Both The McGraw-Hill Handbook and The Curious Researcher have excellent sections on writing a thesis statement. You can also check out OWL Purdue’s Thesis statement guide:


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