How do Czechs view Indians??

Discussion in 'Culture' started by shreypete, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. shreypete

    shreypete Well-Known Member

    I was wondering how Czechs view Indians. I'm in fact half-indian (and look like one too). I find it so strange when people stare at me in the metros or trams or on the streets. Of course not everyone does this...just a few random ones.

    Do they stare at you because they've never seen Indians? (or other races with darker skin?) And on numerous occasions, I've seen some Czech girls in the trams who stare at me and say something to their friends in Czech...if only I understood Czech!!!

    I'm asking this because I hope I'm not being mistaken for a gypsy?? Here are my pics:

    Sorry about the 4th one which is too blurry...
  2. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    next time stare them in the eyes and say "rozumím česky" (I understand czech) then watch their reactions, that might give you a hint to what they are saying. Of course they might say something to you, then you'd be forced to admit "nerozumím". 8)
  3. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    Dzurisova, o! it could be dangerous, afther "nerozumím" they could say really bad things, or only laugh a lot, or, who knows, they start a chat and make everything clear =)

    By now I can say"Rozumím velmi trochu" in some months the velmi shall disappear, then the trochu ... and then a moc enters and I'll be happy :D (okay, it's s distant future, I confess)

    Na shledanou.:
  4. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    Tagarela: true, Czech wouldnt say "velmi" and "trochu" together :)
  5. shreypete

    shreypete Well-Known Member

    Ale pravě učím se česky a myslím, že češtinu (čeština?) je velmi těžký. Tuším, že je nemožný se stavá plynný v česky. Doufám, že co jsem psal je opravdu??? Jsem totiž nováček.
  6. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    Based on photos 14, 10 & 1, I would say you do look like a Gypsy. Of course, most of us believe that Gypsies originate from India, so it's no wonder you look like one of them. For comparison, here are photos of probably the most known young Czech Gypsy, winner of the second season of the Czech variation of The Pop Idol show (Cesko hleda Superstar).

    But we don't stare at Gypsies, they are very common here. We might check our belongings if they're still there though when spotting one, as Gypsies groups of pickpockets often sweep trams, buses or subway and other populated places. I guess we Czechs are racists, after all. :lol:

    By the way ""Rozumím velmi trochu" is wrong (literal translation from English?). Use either "Rozumím trochu / Trochu rozumím" (I can understand [Czech] a little) or better "Rozumím jenom trochu" (I can understand a bit).

    Indians are rare here in Czech Republic (based on information from this forum it might be different in Brno), so most people haven't formed any generic opinion.

    In the end, you just might be too self conscious. I have no experience with staring myself, but it can't be that bad. Maybe uncomfortable, but you should grow thicker skin in no time.
  7. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I think "velmi" seems to mean "very-much" more than very, is there a word that goes in front of things for emphasis? Like especially?
  8. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    Thank you for correction! It's more literally translation from Portuguese than from English =)

    Well, I think that there's something mmm not very wel clear about Czech racism and prejudice. It seems that officially every prejudice is about Gypsies since it can be "justified" because of their "bad behavior". But then, say that anyone with a darker skin is a Gypsie-like and for this reason may be target of prejudice is a little bit too much, isn't?

    Na shledanou.:
  9. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    more over, "trocha" is noun ;-)

    velmi and very are similar but not the same - i cannot imagine "very first" translated directly to czech.
  10. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    It's understandable, just a few suggestions (from another non-native Czech speaker :) ) in red.
  11. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    Great job Sova

    *správné - right/correct content.
    správně - correctly (writen)/in correct way - correct form or grammar.
  12. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Wow, Sova, that's impressive. You sure you're non native?

    About the subject of gypsies. It seems quite apparent that the common
    Czech attitude is that they will readily steal from you given a chance.
    That's probably based on experience, so they have I would say a bad image.
    We have in this country people that travel around offering to do home repairs(without state licenses), and then doing very poor work, and often running off before the work is done, then they just disappear. Those are referred to as gypsies, or gypsy like.

    Are they're any gypsies in CR trying to improve that image? Speaking out saying things like, that is not true, That is a myth, That is unfair to lump us all together, We do not all behave like that.

    Just wondering if an effort is being made to try to fight the negative connotation of 'gypsy'.
  13. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    Sorry, sova and kibicz, but "plynulý mluvčí češtiny" is plain wrong - shreypete isn't the spokeperson for the Czech language, is he? :wink:
    Something like "mluvit plynule česky" (speak fluent Czech) should be used instead.

    It's not just stealing and numerous other crimes. They are also viewed as very abusive of our social system, refusing to work or generally obey laws.
    And yes, state tries to improve their image, like not collecting/publishing crime stats by race/ethnicity (even uber politically correct USA publishes these despite them proving the unpopular facts, e.g. here). They also officially changed the name for the ethnicity from Czech "cigán" to one originating from Gypsy language "Rom" (requested by Gypsies, this might be international thing though). Many people including me refuse to use this new name where there's one that have been used for a long time. There are many state-funded programs and jobs (for Gypsy advisors working for government and local authorities etc.) trying to integrate them, but so far with no visible effect.
    But this is all for naught, because we see how the Gypsies behave despite pumping so much money and effort and many of us are very frustrated about double standards often used when it comes to Gypsies and think they leeched off us enough (for example how they have been handed new flats again and again after destroying them, in era of serious housing shortage). For example the Gypsies who steal metal parts (think eaves, fence, sewer lids, traffic signs, wires, fences, even metal parts of graves ...) - very common here, are not called thieves, but metal collectors. :roll:

    People are also afraid to be involved as witnesses when it comes to crimes committed by Gypsies. They always had to fear the rettribution of the clan, but now they have also to fear of being labeled and treated as race hater / neonazi /whatever by media. Seems police and courts are sometimes scared too.

    I still remember the fiasco when they tried to hire Gypsies to work as cops in one region. First, they had to relax the criteria for applicants (e.g. education achieved - originally at least high school graduate), but in short time all (or almost all) these newly hired "cops" were convicted of crimes anyway.
    Or the affair involving social benefits abuse of one of the tops of Czech Gypsie community (Gina, news anchor for main news on Czech TV) or something similar with most known Gypsie music singer (V. Bila).
    I could go on and on, but it would be not only pointless but unfortunately also somewhat dangerous in this era of political correctness and unification.
  14. Petronela

    Petronela Well-Known Member

    Maybe I’m just too out of touch to know better.

    But has it crossed your mind that maybe they were staring at you coz they thought you were cute and absolutely no malice was intended?

    They were young (according to your description) and you are young … add in some hormones … ohh to be young again ….. :lol:
  15. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    Petr_B: you are right, but i didnt want to complůicate it..

    ad cikán/rom - i use it in the same way as Čech/čecháček Rus/rusák černoch/negr etc..

    the goodguy/badguy diferenciation.
  16. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I wonder how a gypsy would describe himself and his culture(honestly) if he were asked about it.
    Would they answer, well I steal when I get the chance, I don't like to work, and I take advantage of people and cheat government programs when ever possible? That's just how we are, and we're proud of it.
    Or would they say that is all stereotype. Don't blame us for the actions of a few.

    There is prejudice here, though much less than it use to be.
    There are groups like NAACP...(National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the ADL(Anti Defamation League)(that works to expose discrimination and unfair actions against Jews.
    They are both pretty powerful organizations.
    Is there any such organization in Czech Republic advocating rights for, and denouncing unfair stereotyping of, Gypsies?

    Just curious
  17. Alena

    Alena Well-Known Member

    It also could be the reason, some white girls prefer "dark" men and find them "exotic", I think. It's quite personal stuff. I wouldn't be straightaway suspicious about being "stared at" because of racism.
    Shreypete, if people are worth your friendship they give you a change to show them you're quite a nice guy. Don't take care about ignorants :wink:
    Hope my English makes sense
  18. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    I think that the "cute view" is possible, but maybe too much on the "brightside of the life". For sure, the young ladies may found him handsome or "exotic" because he is different from most of their male friends... but still, even if it has a "positive' meaning, there's some racism in it. For sure, it's not like that they're going to harm you... but only "examinating" you... and perhaps they would be a little more careful if you intend to talk to them... or they would like it, they might be curious about where you are from etc etc.

    Na shledanou.:
  19. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    As I wrote before, there are organizations like that who try (along with the government and media) to improve the image of Gypsies, trying to find Gypsies who live decent lives and publicize it. But unlike with blacks in the USA, there are no popular Gypsie artists (at least not in mainstream, except for L. Bila, who is not pure-blood Gypsie) or athletes.
    But all this effort can't compete with everyday reality of our lives. I know what I had written before looks like plain racism/prejudices, but it's not that easy and unless you lived here for long time you won't understand.

    Sigh. Thinking that someone is hot/handsome or "exotic" is now racism too?! I think that colored people should stop thinking about the color or their skin all the time and get rid of that inferiority complex. You know, although you might not believe it, most of us "white" people don't care about the tone of your complexion.
  20. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Pert.b wrote....But unlike with blacks in the USA, there are no popular Gypsie artists (at least not in mainstream, except for L. Bila, who is not pure-blood Gypsie) or athletes.
    But all this effort can't compete with everyday reality of our lives. I know what I had written before looks like plain racism/prejudices, but it's not that easy and unless you lived here for long time you won't understand.

    Thanks for that explanation. Not being judgemental at all on my part, please understand that. People deal with realities. So I understand.

    I know a czech friend, who was sort of explaining that subject.
    She said the idealized gypsy we know from western movies is not the gypsy that is known in europe. She said there were two words for gypsy, cígan and rom, but don't use cígan, as it is an insult.

Share This Page