Ethnic Culture and Culture of Poverty: the Gypsy/Roma

1369 words 6 pages
Peter Szuhay asked in "Constructing a Gypsy National Culture" whether the Gypsies are an ethnic culture or a culture of poverty. I would like to argue that the Gypsy identity is a product of traditional ethnic culture as well as the product of a marginalized social stratum. There are many aspects of gypsy ethnic culture to which can be contributed to the result of marginalization and sometimes those same ethnic cultural traits become stereotypes to which society justifies their stigmatization and poverty. Thus emerges a pattern of both ethnic and social traits being interdependent, intertwined and self-perpetuated. The intersection of the two conflicting cultures can be seen in the following statement made by many and is commonly …show more content…

As Daroczi also points out, historically the Gypsies in general have been denied the opportunities to amass wealth thus the "knack for living day to day" becomes a necessity to an impoverish community. In addition, depend on the syntax of such a cultural trait can attach bipolar means to the same trait. The phrase "living day to day" has a negative connotation because it implies they are unwilling, or too lazy to plan ahead, to settle down, and to be secure. While on the other hand the as Istvan Kemeny puts it, "making the most of a moment of joy" (Szuhay 112) carries a positive attitude that encourages romanticizing and emulating as Daroczi did in here characterization of the Gitanos. Thus the circle is complete, because through centuries of victimization their attitude towards life have evolved into a positive and unique ethnic cultural trait, yet this same trait can be used to justify their social outcast. In Szuhay's article, he argues that Gypsy music and dance as the strongest forces for integration of the diverse Gypsy communities. Their music is described by Gyula Karpathy as an expression of love of freedom through improvisation and spontaneity (Szuhay 119). Music, being a large part of an ethnic trait, Karpathy's description are undeniably flattering and brings out a very positive element of Gypsy culture. He even goes as far as arguing their "refusal to submitÂ…and resistance to excessive socio-political organization," is something all