Gypsies

Discussion in 'TLOPO General Discussion' started by Ned Cabinmorgan, Sep 6, 2018.

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Should references to Gypsies be changed?

  1. Yes, the term is considered offensive today and awareness on that has changed over time.

    4 vote(s)
    8.3%
  2. No, the term is not offensive. (You can discuss this one yourselves.)

    44 vote(s)
    91.7%
  1. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    There's not much to say here, and I'm not sure how to open the discussion to this. I didn't even know where to put this, but I was going to ask if anyone thinks that references to Gypsies need to be altered.
    The word "Gypsy", on one hand, is used to refer to Romani in a derogatory way (usually as a way to paint them as dishonest). It's widely used as a racial slur to insult Roms and is usually deemed offensive in most places outside of the Americas.
    On the other, if you want to use the definition of "free-spirited traveler" as a defense, that could very easily be swapped out for "nomad", "wanderer", etc. so that a widely America-centric definition isn't conflated with a racist one used to discriminate against people.
    It's really not my place to argue this or anything, but I figured I should ask anyways.
     
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  2. Captain John Slate

    Captain John Slate Honorable Pirate

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    Considering the time period the game is set in, the term gypsy would have been what was used, plus the way the word is used in-game doesn't seem to be in a derogatory way.
     
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  3. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    The term Gypsy, near the 16th century where its wide use in Europe originated to around the 1900s (if i recall correctly) would have likely been used as an ethnic slur. I'd argue that while it's true that the term Gypsy would be used, that really doesn't change the context in which it's used.
     
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  4. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    Also, the term Gypsy was used in reference to Roms, which most people assumed came from Africa (and assumed they were Egyptian). Almost none of the shopkeepers that are referred to as Gypsies look in any way Egyptian or Romany; they're usually light-skinned, besides the Padres Del Fuego gypsies (with the exception of Rosaline) and a few others. It's safe to assume that the definition of "Gypsy" being used here is referring to the traveler definition; something that wasn't used in the 1720s-1750s. This isn't to mention the Undead Gypsy, which definitely isn't referring to race (it's a skeleton and it's safe to assume that not all of them are Romany). The third and final use of Gypsy is in reference to the Gypsy doll---a doll based on Tia Dalma, who is presumably Cuban (or at least comes from some Caribbean country, since she practices Obeah). There doesn't seem to be much practical use for the word, if any.
    If you want to say that the word Gypsy has something to do with voodoo, you'd be wrong there, too. Voodoo practices started in Haiti and were historically practiced by African countries, yes, but Voodoo was widespread and followers could be found in Caribbeans, Americans, Jamaicans, the Dominican Republic, and Brazilians. It's not exclusive to Africans or even remotely related to Roms and if you want to use historical accuracy as a defense, then using a slur for Roms isn't historically accurate for that.
     
    #4
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  5. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    Also, Maroons would be a much more fitting term than Gypsies for merchants of Voodoo. Obeah is presumably the kind of voodoo practiced in POTC, and in afro-Caribbean communities, Maroon is the term for someone who practices Obeah (since the practitioners of Obeah were often escaped slaves). Changing references to Gypsies over to Maroons in the game would be a pretty simple fix that would make things more historically accurate.
     
    #5
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  6. squintz

    squintz Pirate Lord

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    Interesting line of thought. But you've made a lot of assumptions, like tia practices Obeah, is that stated somewhere in the game? That by just looking up were a little off. I'm not going to go into this at all point to point because it's not about you or your thoughts. There's too much connected data in tlopo to change one word on a perceived offensive name and if it was good enough for Disney, it's good enough for tlopo I recon. And gypsies is connected by quests, clothes, weapons, characters, objects, ships and just about everything throughout the game. I would think it's way more difficult than changing a word.
    And by the way, Maroon is considered derogatory by most peoples.
    GL.
     
    #6
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
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  7. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    It's stated in the POTC movies that Tia Dalma practices Obeah. Also, Obeah is the most common form of voodoo practiced in Caribbean countries.
    And I know that Maroon is considered a slur in some parts, but it would be more "historically accurate" than Gypsy.
    Alternatively:

    A Bokor is someone (usually male; females are referred to as caplata) who practices black magic and sorcery (referring to voodoo).
    Houngans are male priests.
    Mambo are female priests.

    There are lots of ways to have accurate terms for these kinds of things. "Undead Bokor" would be a much more accurate name for the Undead Gypsy, for instance (they ARE summoned by Jolly Roger). "Mambo Doll" would be better than "Gypsy Doll". Referring to the Gypsies as Houngans and Mambo would be more accurate and true to the terms used for this sort of thing.
     
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  8. squintz

    squintz Pirate Lord

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    Thanks. But I don't think this offensive thing can be solved. Some would find 'Peddler' as offensive. Almost, if not all the names you quoted are considered slurs in way or another. Why change one slur for another historically accurate slur. What is to be gained?
    I think you're correct and a noble thought, however, it's a game and the devs have more to work on than modern semantics. Perhaps they would look at this if the game were going mainline.

    GL
     
    #8
  9. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    Most terms describing Voodoo aren't slurs, to my knowledge. They're simple terms to describe roles in the religion.

    There's a difference between being called a peddler and being called a racial slur; especially when that slur isn't even accurate concerning what you're trying to portray.

    Again; to my knowledge, Mambo, Houngan, etc. are not slurs. They're just portraying the practice of Voodoo in a way that is respectful to its individual workings (and it adds a level of authenticity to Voodoo in-game that POTCO sadly didn't even hint to).

    You're right about that, it is just a game, but the point still stands that Gypsy really isn't even an accurate way to describe Voodoo merchants in-game. Since Gypsies almost always have something to do with magic or voodoo in POTCO, I'm assuming that it was done sloppily and without thought, and I'd also assume the reasoning was something along the lines of "it sounds exotic". This passed in the late 2000s and early 2010s, but times change and so do socially acceptable terms. I just see no reason to keep Gypsy as a term when it could easily be swapped out for something that's more respectful to Voodoo practices.
     
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  10. River

    River Wanted Pirate

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    It's only racist if you make it.

    Should the devs change rum to Coke since you can become intoxicated off of rum and possibly influence little kids to drink rum for fun?
     
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  11. Eric Sailcutter

    Eric Sailcutter Pirate Lord

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    A lot of good points in this thread. I agree that the term gypsy is generally offensive but feel it's not really used in a derogatory way in game and is too imbedded to remove easily, so, I favor leaving it in, at least in the short term. If the developers dig into the gypsys programming in a comprehensive way, as in revamping voodoo combat, I would favor a change in terminology here.
     
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  12. squintz

    squintz Pirate Lord

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    I don't know, I always stereotyped gypsies as traveling in caravans and selling junk out of their wagons while pick-pocketing you when you leaned over for a closer look.
    Mambo would for sure be frowned on. Just for how it sounds.
     
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  13. TorchTheWallet

    TorchTheWallet Notorious Pirate

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    Or we could just be adults and not get bent out of shape over words like this. What's the point? It's obviously not being used in a derogatory manor, so what purpose is there in complaining about it?
     
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  14. squintz

    squintz Pirate Lord

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    I don't think the OP was complaining, but bringing up a good point. Although I don't think the connotation of the title gypsy is serious enough to investigate at this time. Is it worth looking into in the future? I think so, but here and now, not so much. My mom was full Romanian and loved Disney cartoons and movies and had no complaints how it was used in say, Hunchback of Notre Dom. It is an interesting topic that Ned spent some time on.
    And as is a continuing theme on forum boards, if people don't care for the subject, put the thread on ignore, or unwatched. Whatever it takes to make it go bye bye. I like peoples diversity on forums.
     
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  15. deanaug

    deanaug Notorious Pirate

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    It's a title assigned in a fictitious online game, presumably with no harm intended since Disney generally prided themselves in being everyone-friendly. The name stays.
     
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  16. ElizaCreststeel

    Wiki Staff

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    Grain of salt here, but folks do understand that the devs can't just do a mass FIND/REPLACE command to banish gypsy to the trash heap.

    Not even gonna' mention the word Wench...
     
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  17. TorchTheWallet

    TorchTheWallet Notorious Pirate

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    The main definition of wench is a lower-class woman. Just because wench is slang for something else doesn't change its actual definition.
     
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  18. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    I'm not asking the devs to outright remove it. I'm simply asking if it's a topic worth looking into, or if changing it would be worth it, considering that it's only used in three instances that are at all notable in main gameplay. The Undead Gypsy, the Gypsy Doll, and the Gypsies themselves. There might be dialogue about them, but that's largely unimportant to main gameplay.
     
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  19. Jessy

    Jessy Sea Legs

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    As true as a lot of these points may be, you have to remember that the game was made years ago. Before everyone would get offended at every little thing that they cross paths with. In the game a Gypsy is portrayed as someone who dabbles in voodoo/a form of magic. In which case POTCO was actually marketed towards players at the age of 10+. I personally say be thankful they didn't really teach them someone actually offensive with the term instead they took the term and showed a younger generation a different and more appropriate way to use the word rather than against someone else as a slur.
     
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  20. Ned Cabinmorgan

    Ned Cabinmorgan Pirate Apprentice

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    Again; not complaining about it. Simply asking if it's a topic worth bringing up and changing to avoid the word and add a level of accuracy to the game. Voodoo is a pretty interesting part of POTC in terms of where they got their inspiration from. We see all kinds of other topics portrayed accurately within POTC; the Black Spot being an actual term used to describe pirates who are being hunted or marked for death, Jumbees being malevolent spirits in Caribbean cultures, the EIC and the Royal Navy being surprisingly accurate in clothing and weapons and such, for the most part. Having no mention of the roots of a pretty prevalent topic within the game (voodoo) and replacing possible mentions of it with something that definitely would have been used as a slur in 1720 seemed strange. Again; it's not my place to argue that Gypsy is offensive. I'm simply saying that some people do find it offensive.
     
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