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  • Writer's pictureBohemian Alchemist

Gypsy business name

Hi everyone! We've had a lot of interest in the name of our business and our use of the term gypsy. We’ve found as many members of the Romani community that identify and support the name gypsy as those who oppose it. And we chose to use this name for good, to celebrate a part of the world and blend flavors and techniques to showcase what’s wonderful about being a gypsy. We are not the first company to have used the word gypsy and thought hard about its history. For an insight from another company owner, please check out this link:

Unabashedly, we support the gypsy mindset, and we support the Romani. To understand how those two can live in harmony, please read on.

First let's discuss the group of peoples that have been labeled as gypsies, which includes a broad group of peoples and cultures from a large swath of the world. To begin, let's get into the impossibility of defining a single group as either Roma, Romani, Romanichal, Gypsy, Cigano, Gitans, Boheme, Tzoanim, Sinti, Jevg or many of the other modern and historical designations. While there is some linguistic evidence that the Romani language shares similarities with Indian languages like Domari, Hindi, and Punjabi, the path from India to Europe isn’t clear. Recent genetic studies, however, have found evidence that Haplogroup H-M82, identified in many Romani, is also found India and Sri Lanka and points to a genetic link. Regardless, the Romani people are only loosely connected by language and geography, with communities found worldwide. To narrowly define what it is to be a "real" gypsy is to engage in exactly the kind of institutionalized racism that has horrified the world for much of our history.

Now we address the unforgivable treatment of the Romani for centuries. Sadly the story is far from resolved. To this day people act their worst, persecuting and driving out these people, seeking to label, divide, and expunge, in that order. Understand that the Romani were not always travelers by choice. We have a responsibility to highlight this history, learn from it, and adjust our mindset. Even more importantly, we have to evolve beyond categorization and compartmentalization.

How then do we separate the second usage of the word gypsy, in lowercase, to define the romantic ideals of travelers? In common culture we've celebrated what is wonderful and magical about travel, discovery, and the cross-cultural blending of cuisine, music, and art. Here at the Gypsy Alchemist we want to celebrate what's best about shifting between cultures of Europe and the Middle East, from rich sand-brewed Turkish coffee to herbal blends and exotic spices. As healers and herbalists, the Romani inspire us to bring positive energy and light to our community. We want to honor the traditional methods of coffee, tea, and herbal blending that have been sidelined by modern practices.

What does this mean for you if you've found us through our use of gypsy in our company name? First, if you, like us, are respectful of the Romani culture you will learn more. At the bottom of this are links to several wonderful resources where you can connect with the Romani community and hear firsthand about their culture and history. Second, there are impactful ways to support this community. Get involved beyond raising awareness. How are Romani families in your community in need? How can you chronicle the history of these people so we better understand their histories and journeys? Third, work to define gypsy for the good. We've found in our research that many members of the Romani community proudly wear the term gypsy. Ask them about this, and find out if they require a representative to fight for their rights.

This is a place for all cultures, creeds, orientations, and identities to feel welcome. However you choose to define yourself, we want you to feel safe and heard.

We want to welcome the Romani community into our space, to celebrate what they've been and what they hope to become. To hear their stories, to share good food and beverages with them, and to give them space to exist as who they are without any labels. In our space we want the Romani to feel welcomed in rather than pushed away. For all of us to move forward, we need to look closely at labels and decide if we are fighting the word or actually making a difference to the people themselves.

We are proud to feel gypsy and hope you will too.

Please see the following links for more information:

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