12 July 2010

Attacked for calling my art "Gypsy Soul"

Yes, that's right.... I titled an atc "Gypsy Soul" with absolutely NO intent to cause insult to anyone. I was ignorant that the word gypsy had negative connotations associated with it. I believed the gypsy to be a free soul, wandering without constraints, free spirited, alive, happy, dancing in the rain - all my attachments to the word are positive :))

It seems some people cannot help themselves by thrusting their opinions upon other people, regardless whether it is asked for or not.

On my etsy site, I received a huge email outlining the definition of the word gypsy and my ignorance to it.
The email had over 15 Links, that the writer expected me to visit and educate myself by!

I responded by saying that I was sorry I didn't realise the word was negative and that I did not intend the title of my art to insult anyone.

I then received this email back:

Thank you for your response, but I don't think you quite understand what I am saying here. Your interpretation of the life of a gypsy as positive and carefree *IS* the problem, because in real life Romani people are horrifically persecuted. It is not my opinion of myself that is the issue.

If you bothered to read the links I supplied, you'd see why your misuse of this term is offensive. Your interpretation of a gypsy as some sort of free-spirited, nomadic person makes a joke out of a persecuted minority. Someday, I hope you come to understand my reasons for contacting you. Unfortunately, like many who use this word in such an inappropriate and offensive manner, you are refusing to see the truth about what a 'gypsy' really is, because that would mean letting go of the romantic, fairytale image you hold of my people. Even if you disagree or refuse to change the name of your piece, you could at least show some respect for the culture you are USING and appropriating, and read the links I've sent. I think you'd be rather surprised by the reality of the situation for gypsies around the world.

People think of gypsies as free-spirited, nomadic people but what they do not understand is that Romani people didn't have a choice. They moved (and still do) around because no one wants them there. I would hardly call that a 'free' life. Gypsies actually exist, and their lives are so far from the fantasy image people conjure up when they hear the word 'gypsy', with it's magical and bohemian, free-spirited connotations, that this is WHY your use of the word is offensive.

If you step back, and don't take this so personally, I really believe you will be able to see why it is so offensive. Read the links, even just a few, and you will understand a bit better where I am coming from.

This is not personal - I am not attacking your art. You are very talented. I am pointing out your use of a racial slur and your propagation of a stereotype about a persecuted minority. Of course, there are racial slurs for every ethnic group, however, few are as persecuted and hated like the Romani people. It is not that it differs from *MY* meaning... it differs from the *TRUTH*.

I then received another email............ Here is a direct cut & paste from my ETSY inbox:

You've Got a Message From kalishey on Etsy

** Do NOT reply directly to this email.**

SUBJECT: Gypsy Soul, listing #28944199

I'll put this very clearly: YOU ARE USING A RACIAL SLUR FOR MY PEOPLE TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS. You are making money off of other people's suffering, whether you want to admit it or not, and clearly, you do not. Almost every one of your items on this site has the word 'gypsy' in the title. Why don't you investigate your OWN heritage and keep your grubby fingers out of mine?

Something else for you to think about... when you put your art out there, and USE A RACIAL SLUR, however "harmless" you believe it to be, YOU INVITE CRITICISM.

People who don't know the true meaning of the word and use it are ignorant. People like YOU, who know the truth and use it anyway, are RACIST.

2 July 2010

Do you remember my post "Lost in my own world" the one with this pic ?- 

Today I received a beautiful comment from Kelly of  Kelly's Art Journaling .  It seems grief stays around for a very long time after losing someone so special and close to you.... Kelly's words of hope and comfort were very uplifting to me today.  Thank you Kelly!

I just wandered around Kelly's blog and she has linked to my post and talks about grief from when she lost her Father 17 years ago...  It would be nice if you popped by and visited Kelly, and say Hello for me too!
Her blog is full of gorgeous artwork, journaling and some links to other amazing artists.

Have a wonderful day, I am going to try to.  Today I am babysitting (dogsitting) Buddah and my poor Kitty was terrified and just ran and hid in my bedroom... wish them and me luck!