As the entire world knows, my handbag was stolen on Portobello Road. The bartender was offended on my behalf and let out a string of obscenities. Hey, that’s the British way. When in doubt, be vulgar. When speaking to a pretty American girl about her sorry lot in life, drop the f-bomb.
In his defense of my honor, the gentleman suggested that my purse may have been stolen by a thieving gypsy c*nt.
Whoa, I had never heard that phrase before and I didn’t know what to say.
I generally don’t use the word gypped because it is a derogatory term used to describe behaviors associated with people who hail from the Romani culture. I learned this while attending a course on Holocaust Fiction taught by my favorite professor, Harry Cargas.
A Romani leader from Washington DC spoke to our class and talked about the persecution of gypsies, gays, and Catholics in Western Europe in the 1940s. Actually, the persecution of the Romani population was quite extensive in Europe. The chaos culminated in the extermination of over a million Romani souls in the concentration camps during WWII.
So it was weird to be in London and thinking about Harry Cargas, the persecution of Romani people, and the words thieving gypsy c*nt.
When I went to the Kensignton police station for an official copy of my report, I was greeted by constables who were educated, thoughtful, and progressive. This was a shock. There I said it. Most cops I know are the least progressive human beings in the world.
I was more surprised when I saw signs in the lobby warning against hate crimes. Specifically, hate crimes against the LGBT community. There was a poster that said LGBT is a FACT. BEING HOMOPHOBIA OR TRANSPHOBIC IS NOT.
Very sensitive and inclusive. You don’t see signs like that in American police stations.
Then I got back to my hotel room and saw a news report that Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, may be a bully. He allegedly yelled at junior members of his staff. Apparently, the Conservative Party is calling for an inquiry. It’s embarrassing and I think British forgot they were ruled by Churchill.
Or it is? Should a senior-level politician go around yelling at his junior staff? Is that proper?
We never talk about diversity and/or inclusion on Punk Rock HR because I don’t have a very defined knowledge base or vocabulary in this area. Talk to me and help me tie these threads together — or tell me that there’s no thread to be tied.
How do different cultures approach diversity & inclusion? Do you use the word gypped? How about the word c*nt? What do you think about a police department that is committed to protecting members of the LGBT community? Is that the case in your area? What do you think of politicians who are described as bullies? Is that an issue of inclusion?
Or do you feel like some our sensitivities are overblown?
I’d love to know your thoughts.