A few people have reacted to this blog in ways which make me feel like I should clarify what the word “gadje” means, what it means to me, and the context in which I use it.
Strictly speaking, “gadje” means someone who is non-Rroma, and not one of the Walking People in general - an outsider. There are Rroma languages which feature the word gadje in specifically this capacity - many dialects feature words which are used to specifically describe Rroma people, and words which are specifically used to described non-Rroma people. (So, for example, instead of saying, “that man is eating an apple”, you would say “that non-Rroma-man is eating an apple” or “that Rroma-man is eating an apple”.)
I am, of course, not a linguist. But there are people on tumblr who have spent much time learning Rroma languages and analyzing the use of terms like “gadje” - lisipuska is one of of them, and she’s non-Rroma herself!
I will say that there are non-Rroma people who I would never call a gadje - for example, my husband, who makes an effort to understand my own heritage and history and background (and whose own cultural heritage is matrilineal, meaning that when a man from his culture marries a woman, he is considered to have married into his female partner’s community and culture)… and individuals like lisipuska, who demonstrate repeatedly their understanding of Walking Peoples’ lives and cultures. While these folks are not Rroma, they’re also not, strictly speaking, purely “outsiders” - there are non-Rroma who have demonstrated that they can be trusted to write and speak about Rroma and other Walking People with compassion and a cultural understanding, and for that I do not refer to these people as gadje (although, I want to say, other people might, and that is completely valid!).
When I call someone a gadje, I am essentially calling them an outsider - someone who does not understand my family, my people, and our culture and history.
It is NOT a race-specific term. Anyone who is non-Rroma may be called a gadje, regardless of the shade of their skin. Nor is it a derogatory term! The worst thing it’s use implies is an ignorance of Walking People and our cultures and histories - which, frankly, is a very widespread problem, not exclusive to any specific people.
When I call someone a gadje - and perhaps you are reading this blog after being called a gadje yourself, and you feel insulted by the term, in which case, please read this and take it to heart! - I am not casting aspersions on their race. I am, essentially, calling them out on the fact that they are an outsider to Walking Peoples’ cultures and histories. I, personally, tend to take this a step further, using the term to refer to people who SPECIFICALLY spread and perpetuate racist stereotypes about us Walking People - but that’s not how all Walking People use the term, and that bears keeping in mind.
In short: if I call you a gadje, it is because you have displayed an ignorance and/or racism towards myself and my (and others’) people(s). I am not calling you “impure”, or stupid, or anything else derogatory. I am calling you an outsider, and more specifically, an ignorant outsider.
Also, there is NO analogy between the term “gypsy” and “gadje” - they are simply not comparable at all. Unless you have ever been denied housing, a job, food, shelter, safety, or any basic survival need for being a “gadje” … the word “gadje” just does not carry the same connotations and power as the word “gypsy”. “Gypsy” is a word I and my people have heard for centuries as we’ve been systematically displaced, exterminated, etc by settled people. “Gypsy” was the word my father taught me when he told me that I needed to have a skill that could be easily transferred from place to place, because “you never know when you’ll have to leave” your home… and so on…
“Gypsy” was the word that gave my grandparents flashbacks to World War Two and the persecution they’d faced in Europe. Being gypsies is why my family kept to ourselves for generations… when my aunts returned to Europe to try to “settle” there, being “gypsies” is what drove them back to North America… our culture, our language, etc, has been driven underground, into closed communities, chased across continents, burned at the stake, eliminated in gas and labour camps, all because we were “gypsies”.
Does the word “gadje” make your blood run cold? Does it make you want to run? Do you fear your landlord’s knock on your door, because you are a gadje? No?
Then being called a “gadje” is not at all like being called a “gypsy”. I promise you. And no matter how many non-Walking People I call gadje, I will never have the systemic, institutionalized power to make you experience the kind of persecution my people have experienced.
So please keep this in mind if/when I ever call you a gadje. Keep in mind that it is, at best, in good humor, a teasing term; and at worse, an expression of anger and contempt at your own professed racism and anti-ziganism.
- snarkengaged likes this
- remarkably likes this
- euralmanac reblogged this from stfugadje and added:
- euralmanac likes this
- wherethingsbreakdown reblogged this from hellowhales
- oportet likes this
- timeofthenomads likes this
- bessarion likes this
- foreverfalling reblogged this from golden-zephyr and added:
- foreverfalling likes this
- tyrotheterrible likes this
- aj-rromale reblogged this from thecouscousqueen
- waterlights likes this
- lisipuska likes this
- stogucheme reblogged this from thecouscousqueen and added:
- fuckyealiz likes this
- stogucheme likes this
- salisero likes this
- sexdrugstapas likes this
- virginal-princess likes this
- thecouscousqueen reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- asystoles reblogged this from stfugadje and added:
- golden-zephyr reblogged this from ltstarbuck
- ltstarbuck reblogged this from stfugadje
- ltstarbuck likes this
- fight-blog likes this
- troubledsigh likes this
- stfugadje posted this