How Gypsies Work

How Gypsies Work: Author's Note

Cristen Conger, Staff Writer
HowStuffWorks 2009

Before I began researching for How Gypsies Work, I knew two things about the Roma people: many live in Eastern Europe, and they don’t have an easily traceable, textbook-style history. Moreover, the Roma are some of the most negatively stereotyped people on the planet, often portrayed as lying, thieving, nomadic bands. But their story, as with most ethnic histories, isn’t so one-dimensional. Originally taken captive out of northern India in the 11th century, the Roma have never resettled anywhere and even now face deportation out of some European Union countries. For me, the most fascinating theme that ran throughout my gypsy research and writing was how the Roma seem to shrug off the centuries of persistent persecution and embrace the unconventional culture they’ve adopted. Stitching together a cohesive chronicle of Roma sprinkled around the world was certainly challenging, yet it also gave me the opportunity to present a more balanced image of a much-maligned group.


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