Friday, August 17, 2012




Dr. Ian Hancock, University of Texas professor and director of the Romani Archives and Documentation Center, is calling for the National Geographic Channel to immediately halt broadcasting its a new reality series called American Gypsies.

The press has been less than kind in its estimation of the show, which follows a single, wildly dysfunctional Roma family in New York City (the New York Times called it "deplorable" and "without with, insight or anything else that might distinguish 'American Gypsies' from shows with 'Housewives' or 'Jersey' in the title").

A press release put out this week by the organization Rromani Zor laid out its case against the show: "[T]he series title and tagline suggest to viewers this dysfunctional family is representative of all “gypsy” Americans. The series tagline — "You don’t know Gypsy” — not only indicates this show is meant to be a broad ethnic portrait, but it’s deeply offensive too: “Roma” is what community members prefer to be called because “gypsy” is considered an serious insult... 

The press release also quoted Dr. Hancock as saying, “It's an abomination. … Our people have a long and fascinating history, but National Geographic slanders us with old and very dangerous stereotypes: the mysterious rogue; the dark, treacherous gypsy; the genetic criminal. … [The show] has set the cause of Romanies back decades.”

Hancock and members of Rromani Zor have asked that National Geographic cease broadcast, never again distribute the show, and issue a public apology to the Romani people. Rromani Zor's website also has a petition link to protest American Gypsies and TLC's reality show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.  More as this develops.
I so wish this horrible show was off the air and National Geographic would own up to the damage they have done by perpetuating these stereotypes.

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