How do Czechs view Indians??

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

  1. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    Petr_B, okay, perhaps I've not expressed myself on a good way...
    I'm not saying that anything would be racism. No complex here. My apologies.

    Na shledanou.:
  2. AxeZ

    AxeZ Active Member

    It might not have to do anything with rasicm. I tend to believe that people are trying to examine someone different from them.

    I am caucasian, blonde hair, blue eyes and same thing happened to me in rural China. I was riding on a local bus and people were staring at me, few chinese women turned around looking back at me, giggling, as I was sitting at the far end of the bus.

    I don't think they were being racist at all and I didn't think that giggle was insulting. Maybe they just haven't seen pale skinned man, almost two meters tall, with blonde hair...that's all...;)
  3. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Yea, people just look out of curiosity, not meaning anything by it.

    In that last post, I meant my friend told me not to us 'cígan'. I hope you didn't think I was trying to tell anyone what words to use.
    I do not pontificate, especially on matters I know nothing about.

    An experience....little kids in Mexico really observed me closely(I could say stared at, but that has negative connotations:D ) because I was an oddity.
    So think positive, they're not talking bad about you, they're saying good things about you.
  4. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    That could be hardly shocking from a Czech Gypsy. :wink:

    I second this.

    I don't think they stare at you just because you are of Gypsy appearance, Czechs don't stare at Gypsies (rather on the contrary). The only reason related to the Gypsies I can think of is that there is something contradictory on you. A Gypsy dressed as a bank clerk could be exotic, for instance.

    They needn't be from the Indian subcontinent, but they are definitely closely linguistically and genetically related to the Indians.

    There is long way from being object of a prejudice to being a victim of the prejudice. So, what do you mean by "target of prejudice"?

    The question whether the Czechs are racists can not be answered without proper definition of racism.

    An average Czech is distrustful to the Gypsies as the result of his prejudices (being distrustful to any foreigners is the standard Czech attitude, but it is more intense in this case), he could be more careful when dealing with a person of Gypsy appearence, but he would avoid an action affecting the life of the person before giving him a chance to dispel or confirm the prejudices. One could say that the Czechs use the prejudices as a kind of statistical reflection, but that they take it with reserve.

    There is a famous quote of Švejk which puts it well:

    "Někerej Maďar taky za to nemůže, že je Maďar."
    "Some Hungarian is not to be blamed for being Hungarian."

    Of course, in the Czech Republic as everywhere else, there are some stupid people who are racists. Let's put out of our debate all the skinheads, football rowdies and alikes.

    It's rather that they are more likely to act this way.
    The Czechs are careful when spotting a Gypsy, the Gypsy pickpockets know it, and as the result the foreign tourists are in focus of the Gypsy pickpockets. :wink:

    This reminds me of one Gypsy who traveled around my town offering to sharpen the knives. He was well accepted as long as he didn't start to mark his customers by making cuts in their front door.

    As for the Czech words for the Gypsies, "Cikán" is the right Czech word for them, at least it was a neutral word for them before the snake dances of political correctness started. The word "Rom" emerged recently as a product of the political correctness and prevailed in media, but a lot of the people including me resist to use it.

    My reasons:

    1) We have no need of replacement of the traditional word.
    2) I always tend to resist to the political correctness.
    3) The term is inaccurate. "Rom" is used only by some of the subgroups of Gypsies.
    4) I met a lot of Gypsies who prefer "Cikán" over "Rom".
    5) The term "Rom" used this way is racist. It means "man, human, husband", the plural "Roma" means "people". By calling only a specifical group of people as "people" you are implicitly saying that the other people are something else (less?).

    The word "Cigán" is the Slovak variant, it is often used in the Czech Republic because most of the Gypsies here come from Slovakia.
  5. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    What about Radek Banga from They're a very popular band here. I saw them supporting Michal Prokop at Divadlo Archa last Christmas and they were brilliant. ... l=2007_519

    There was a very interesting piece on the BBC World Service last week, talking about the landmark legal case in Ostrava, I think it was, where a Roma mother has been awarded compensation because her daughter was placed in a special school on the grounds that she was mentally handicapped, even though there wasn't actually anything wrong with her.

    The programme specifically mentioned Banga as speaking out about the Roma community and saying they had to do more for themselves and should stop perpetuating the 'victim mentality' amongst the Roma community.
  6. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    I don't think that are that popular across many population groups. Even if they were, you know the saying "one swallow doesn't make a summer". E.g. the above-mentioned winner of the 2nd season of the Czech Pop Idol - Vlasta Horvath (there was also a Gypsie girl who placed in the top 5 in the same competition in the first season). In the US example I mentioned, the situation is different - there are several popular black singers and MANY sportsmen - as far as I know, e.g. one of the most popular sport leagues there - NBA - is pretty much dominated by blacks.
    Anyway, what we would really want is not Gypsie stars (actors, sportsmen, singers ...) but that normal Gypsies would finally started behaved like we do - cared about education of their children, started to work and cease their criminal activities.

    The prevalent popular opinion is: we've treated them so good at the expense of majority (e.g. the flat issue dating back to communistic era, using double standards - e.g. white attacks Gypsie - race hate crime, yet they overlook the racist attacks from Gypsies) for long time but they still only take from us and don't give anything back.

    By the way, the situation with Gypsie kids being sent to "special" schools is not simple - the problem is those kids usually don't even speak good Czech, often don't have basic hygiene habits etc. It would be wrong to send them to normal schools, they should go to some preschool first, but it seems there's no interest to do that from their parents. There's also issue of Gypsie children going to regular schools often heavily terrorizing other kids (and teachers), often using their older relatives. :(

    The whole Gypsie situation is unfortunate but I don't see any solution to it. I might be wrong, but I haven't noticed any REAL improvement (= not just hiding the problems) of the situation despite all the effort and money spent. Such situation only leads to frustration which can again lead to (public or silent) support of "extremists" groups.

    Cigán/Cikán vs Rom
    To me and many other people, "cigán" is a neutral word, which doesn't carry any negative connotation. The word "Rom" is just weird, why we should use a foreign word where there already exists a proper Czech one? It would be the same as calling a German "Deutsche" instead of "Němec".
    Gypsies often call us "gadžo" (in those cases we are not called "white swines", "shitty Czechs" etc.)
  7. Alena

    Alena Well-Known Member

    I can’t see any solution either. It’s a question of upbringing. If you’re praised according to how many wallets have you stolen instead of school attendance, marks and your behaviour you’ll grow bad way. We can’t force anybody to change their attitude. It’s everyone’s will to do it :) or not :( .
  8. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    I believe another problem is, that there is wide rift between gypsy "elite" and "common" gypsies. Common gypsies see successful gypsies, who acquired some position in society as traitors and in reverse, "elite" gypsies want to live among "white" and they don't want to live with "common" gypsies.

    Therefore emergence some rolemodels like let's say Martin Luther King or Jesse Jackson is improbable.

    About mentioned Banga - he is now in quarrel with his parents. They are angry, because he in tv talked about his childhood and he said that his father was alcoholic, that there was domestic violence.

    His father Julies said: It's our mistake. He sings gypsy, but he hasn't it in him.

    ("Je to naše chyba. Zpívá romsky, ale nemá to v sobě. Ani milimetr," říká otec Július.)
  9. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    That is all very interesting. I did not realize that Gypsy was really that distinct a subculture.

    Integrating into society...same story here, often blacks that have become successful, become accomplished, are then considered 'sell outs' or 'not black enough'. It is an odd situation. It's like they become their own worst enemies. I don't even want to get into rap music that encourages the violent 'hood'(neighborhood) life and degradation of women.

    That is a essentially very self defeating attitude.
  10. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    If we go back to the original question "How do Czechs view Indians?", it's unfortunate that this forum don't frequent (aside from asking a question or two and then never going back here) Indian workers from IBM's facility in Brno. They could have provided some answers, e.g. if they get mistaken for Gypsies and how they are treated by natives (considering Brno has at least one well-known very problematic Gypsie area - Cejl).
  11. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    I don't think they are so popular.
    I dislike this phenomenon, not because of the members of themselves, but because of the hypocrites who like to treat them as trained monkeys and to misuse them to demonstrate their "disdain for racism".

    There are other Gypsy singers who are successful without this circus and state subsidies, like brothers Gondoláns (1969 clip, something more recent), Ida Kelarová, or her more famous sister Iva Bittová (as Eržika in Balada pro banditu)

    I remember this from TV news. The girl had no problems with education but needed some special treatment. There was also disagreeing comment from some official from ministerium of education, who said that judgies passed a judgement based on the situation in the western countries and ignored that Czech Republic can not afford such a big number of teachers and assistents as the riche western countries.

    The problem is of economical nature. Czech Republic can't afford a generous approach to such a big minority, and the problems are growing faster than our capacity to solve them. We need the eastern states to prosper to stop the influx of new Gypsies and to reduce the number of workers from the east who squeeze out the Gypsies on the labour market (An Ukrainian bricklayer with university degree in nuclear physics is cheaper than a Gypsie with minimal education).

    Actually, it is not question of personal will unless you want the Gypsies to break their family relations. Once a Gypsy start to work he is immediately "outsourced" by his family fellows. Once a whole family starts to prosper, they invite their relatives from abroad and the misery starts again.

    There is also another kind of elites, the Gypsy loan sharkers who exploit their Gypsy fellows and live in luxury.
  12. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure how do you define success, I was a few weeks ago on Okoř open air festival and had many fans there (almost none of them were gypsies however). My wild guess is, that present-day record sales are bigger for

    I think I never heard about Gondolans, but it could be because I'm not big fan of folk and country music :)
  13. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Hmm... I had thought that "mluvčí" could be used both as a "spokesperson" as well as in a generic sense of "one who speaks." Yes I'm aware of the other construct and know that it is more commonly used, but I was attempting to keep the original sentence as intact as possible.

    Actually, these stats only show a racial breakdown of victims of violent crimes, not commiters of crimes.

    Most definitely. I'm not sure how much the negative attitude of Czechs toward gypsies is driven by racism (certainly it's a factor to some extent, or at least among certain parts of the population), but there definitely is some motivation based on culture clash.
  14. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    There was no problem with the word "mluvčí" but with the adjective "plynulý". The adjective expands the word "mluvčí" which means it is actually the spokesperson who is fluent, not the the spokesperson's Czech. It has a lot to do with the fact that we strictly use the adverbs to expand the verbs (mluvit plynule = speak fluently).
  15. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Aha! Thanks for the clarification, wer!
  16. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    Sorry my bad - I posted a wrong link. I meant something like this (offenders, not victims).

    And regarding "mluvčí". In colloquial Czech, the word is used pretty much exclusively for a spokesperson, i.e. a person who speaks on behalf of someone else and not for himself, except for (related to this case) "rodilý mluvčí" (native speaker).
  17. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Especially if they choose a different political affiliation than the majority of black Americans – if they choose to support Republicans over Democrats. Many black Americans including Jessi Jackson have openly rebuked black Americans like Jesse Lee Peterson or Alan Keys for their conservative viewpoints and called them names such as David mentioned and also “Uncle Tom”.
  18. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Yea, Katko, that's sad but true, right?
    American politics, way too divisive.
  19. Anna683

    Anna683 Well-Known Member

    That's a very good point. I'm quite surprised at how much prejudice there seems to be. I wonder how many of the people in CZ who criticise gypsies have actually suffered crimes at their hands.

    Maybe some of these: (The section on Czech and Slovak Roma personalities includes the biographies of a few Roma activists)
  20. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    Could somebody answer Scrimshaw's original question about how gypsies see themselves as a race and community? Do they feel that it is them against the world and that they should try to take what they can from the world whilst sticking together as gypsies? How do they justify the bad stuff to themselves?

    In Litomerice I think there is great integration of gypsies with white Czechs, there is very little crime there and if there is then it's just as likely to be commited by a white person. It might be because there is only a small number of gypsies there - maybe 5% of 25000 people. They are usually only the street cleaners/sewage wrokers etc. there but I noticed that the same people were doing the same jobs every morning for my 2 years there, they hadn't quit as their reputation says they should. I knew of some who had jobs as pigeon s**t roof cleaners in the big chemical plants, which maybe shows how difficult it is for them to move up the ladder even in a town where they are not a problem to the people. I have to say though that there is still a general underlying distrust of them among the white citizens.

    One of my Czech students told me a story of how he was once attacked by a gypsy boy and mugged whilst his friends (the white Czech's) stood and did nothing to help him. He says that it would never happen the other way round because if you hurt one gypsy, they will all come for revenge. So I suppose they must have a real sense of patriotism and community which maybe answers Scrimshaw's question at the top a little bit.

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