The Gypsies (or Roma as they prefer to be called) are a proud, nomadic people who have inherited pretty much every negative ethnic stereotype in the world! http://www.cracked.com/phpimages/topic/1978/summary_image.jpg Featured Image
Ever since they first appeared in Europe some time in the 14th century, the Gypsies have been systematically persecuted by pretty much everyone that they came in contact with. That is, of course, when the various European nations weren't busy calling for another Crusade or persecuting the Jews. But much like driving through Kansas with a Darwin fish on your bumper, having swarthy good looks and a funny accent was pretty much asking for trouble back then, so the Gypsies were still pretty high on the list.
Oh, and they don't actually call themselves Gypsies either. Their actual name for themselves is Roma, which despite sounding similar, has absolutely nothing to do with Romania. In fact, we can only assume that they went with that name to piss off the Romanians. The Roma actually originate in India, but the first waves entering Europe claimed to be Egyptian Christians fleeing from the Turks. Once again, we have to assume they did this entirely to fuck with the European peasants, who had never even seen an Egyptian. Either that, or they wanted to somehow work the mummy into this article by bringing up Egypt, so they could claim ALL the classic horror movie monsters.
Of course, being that they wound up in a part of Europe that is still known for ethnic cleansings, things didn't work out so well. It didn't help that the Gypsies brought with them their OWN exotic customs and heritage to boot! Did you know that playing cards probably entered Europe with the Gypsies? That's right, your sorry ass wouldn't even have poker if the Gypsies hadn't left India, let alone strip poker! Think about that next time why don't you!
Aside from fueling stereotypes about gambling and fortune telling, the Gypsies also have a long history as musicians and entertainers. Which is really convenient for pretty much anyone who is going to be on the road their entire lives anyway. But from Transylvania to Andalucia, the Gypsies are pretty much credited with creating every style of music in Europe up until the British invasion! Paradoxically, the Europeans seem to LOVE Gypsy music as long as they don't actually have to SEE a Gypsy in person, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8225989.stm">as Madonna found out the hard way in Bucharast!</a>
Speaking of which... the Gypsies don't actually kidnap children either. That's mostly left to Hollywood celebrities like Madonna or Angelina Jolie these days.
Nor are all Gypsy women prostitutes. In fact, all things be told, traditional Romany culture is sort of prudish. They have very strict taboos about coming into contact with any bodily fluid, let alone touching (or even MENTIONING) dead things. These taboos extend to pretty much everything below the belt, which means even masturbating is unclean! And it gets worse, because having SEX with an outsider (who are lovingly called 'Gadjo' by the Roma) is considered about as low as you could get. And given the history of Romany persecution throughout Europe they probably have every right to feel that way.
In case you were thinking that this was all in the past, let's bring up some recent history. The most notable event was the Holocaust, which was so fucking terrible that the Romany language actually had to INVENT a new word to describe it! Over one and a half million Gypsies were killed in the concentration camps, and while the Jews got a shiny new country out of it, the Gypsies once again got screwed over. In fact, the 5,000 or so Gypsy survivors never got so much as one cent of reparations money. That alone should be enough to justify anyone being pissed off, but it gets much worse.
Institutionalized persecution of Gypsies continues well into the modern era. After the defeat of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, most of eastern and central Europe fell under the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, who were almost as vigorous in their ethnic cleansings. And given that there was a large concentration of Gypsies in that region, that was REALLY bad. During the break-up of Yugoslavia, Gypsies found themselves fucked over by their Serbian, Croatian AND Bosniak neighbors. At least that was one thing those three countries could agree on.
And that is pretty much the history of the Gypsies. One big long journey of alternatively getting pissed on and ignored by pretty much every country in Europe. Kind of depressing isn't it?