The daunting long walk up the drive to the gypsy camp.
So I went back today with the usual anxiety which quickly dissapeared when I was invited in to one of the homes, this time with a photo that I took he day before of one of a teengage gypsy.
They family were all really pleased with it and then started to show me their collection of photographs of generations of their family. I felt honoured to be included in this and for them me some of their personal photographs gave me th impression that they trusted me. They even allowed me to photograp the photographs. The man showing me went through each one telling me who was in them. Here are a few of the family photos.
People were coming in and out and took interest in what I was doing. One man talked to me about his childhood in great detail including stories of him getting beaten up every day at school for being a ‘flithy little gypsy’. He said “I used to piss and shit myself most days waiting for the bus because I was so scared of the teachers and what might be coming next”. People were coming in and out of the living area I was in and they all had something interesting to say. I was talking to the elder generation of the gypsy camp, they all share similar stories because of the fact that they are all related so had the same parents growing up. Another one spoke about her son in law getting murdered 7 years ago in a near by town and another spoke about and showed me where they found their Dad dead in a caravan.
I also managed to drop of one of the disposable cameras with one of the younger ladies who was very helpful and seemed to care about what I was doing. She said that she would give it to her 13 year old daughter who actually wants to be a photographer, so that she could take photos of her friends and people playing. Another thing every gypsy I have spoken to so far has in common, is that they all are very defensive about the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding programme. Comments that I am now used to hearing are ‘We are nothing like them’, ‘They give all of us a bad name’.
From speaking to these travellers, it has come to my attention that this ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ programme is an unfair generalisation on gypsies. The idea I get is that people who have watched the programme, look down on gypsies. I feel that it is racist and it is all because of this tv show. It is like people ‘I hate the Germans’ because of what one evil man did. Gypsies are a large community and it is the irish travellers that are giving of this impression of not caring about how their daughters are portrayed and how careless they are in the sense of littering and aggression. To even say that it is the Irish gypsies is a massive generalisation too. There are good and bad in every community and group of people. You are never going to hear about the gypsy that went to the police station and handed in somebodys wallet because then people are less likely to have anything against gypsies. People like to have somebody to look down on and this is what I think this programme is promoting. The travellers that I have met all pay their bills and everything is taxed because they would get found out by the police if it wasn’t.
I think this photo is discriminatory and irresponsible no matter which gypsy community you are a part of. I know for a fact that gypsy kids get bullied at school for ‘My big Fat Gypsy Wedding.’ A gypsy lady today was telling me how one of her friends who is also a gypsy was at the seaside having fish and chips with her. They saw tall skinny man asking for change so he coul dget himself a drink and people just kept on walking past him. Eventually the ladies friend took a five pound note out of her bag and gave it to the man and straight away, the man went and got himself some fish and chips and was extremly grateful. It is a bias ignorant view of the gypsy way of life and the the BBC know that people are going to believe what they see because they, like myself before I started to speak with gypsies, don’t know any better and don’t know any different because it is an insight to community that nobody is familiar with. I think the programme is a selfish scheme for people with power in the media to sell another story and at the end of the day, make them more money.