Labels can change an object’s perceived meaning while the traits of the verbally recycled item remain unchanged. Through this process, the good is redone as bad, black may mute into white, and negatives are transformed into positives.
A classic case of overwriting reality is the terms “Fascism” and “National Socialism”. With the rise of the Nazis, their name that fused two deviations grew into a threat to the “International Socialists.” Outside of Russia, the “national’s” credentials were better than the “international” appendix of Socialism. It was the Comintern’s Dimitroff, which rescued the cause by using “Fascism” for the Kremlin’s competitors. Although the difference between National Socialism and Fascism is considerable, the Left’s fifth column made the term stick. With that, everything to the right of Stalin, is “Fascist” – especially the National Socialists. Even Tito, a Yugoslav Communist that sinned by resisting Moscow, became a “Fascist” and a “Wall Street Hireling”.
Gender is a problem. While California schools grant females’ access to male toilets, some languages are complicated by, in the interest of liberation, resorting to dual forms covering both sexes. English is lucky as it gets by with a “he or she” until PC invents a term to cover the genderwise uncommitted. The PC command to say “he and she” or to call God “she” is easy to handle. Although silly, calling the “Chairman” the “Chair” is also manageable. In languages with feminine and masculine words, such as German, the demand to use terms in their feminine and masculine form, or to apply an artificial, emasculated term, creates havoc. That way, a language that tends to complicate simple matters becomes even more complicated by adding confusing “clarifications.” Instead of saying “teacher”, one says “he-teacher and she-teacher” or “teaching person,” and the message becomes lost in the vapors of the correctness’ gender-benders.
Examples abound for how to tackle negative inferences by relabeling. We make “custodial engineers” out of janitors. Once you discover that a “purchasing consultant” is yesterday’s salesman, it will also dawn on you that a “Vice President” might have much vice but he does not co- preside over the firm. Such farces remind one of labels on knives warning that swallowing them is harmful. Or take the person that kicked someone and rendered him an invalid. He sues the manufacturer of the shoe, because it failed to warn him that kicking a prone victim might cause serious injuries.
The energy invested in retagging is awesome. The writer has seen Negroes become Blacks and then mutate into Afro-Americans. Indians have, long ago “emigrated” into Native Americans, Mexicans have become “Spanish” – so one wonders what is to happen to May Fifth celebrations of Independence. How long before pimps become “Sexual Services Brokers”?
Currently, a renaming is taking place that re-baptizes Gypsies as Roma. Again, correcting terms is a pseudo activity. It confers moral courage on users while the attention is directed away from the towering problem of Gypsies. This magnitude has to do with quantities; well over ten million, and with the growing gap, which separates the Gypsy from the surrounding majority. By the way, “Gypsy” is an insult mainly where there are, yet, no sizeable Gypsy populations. Oddly, some Gypsy communities dislike being called Roma.
A problem is embedded in the struggle that concentrates on terminology. Yes, names can express prejudice and thus they facilitate discrimination. America’s “N” word fits this category, even if “niggardly” (a word of Scandinavian origin that has nothing to do with race) is a reason for suits only by the “language challenged”. Suing the Redskins because the name debases those that used to be Indians, would be a joke if it wasn’t serious.
Indeed, some say “Gypsy” when they mean “criminal”. This makes the Gypsies not only a people without a state, but also into an ethnic group with an image problem. “Helping Gypsies” deserves an effort. However, there is no relief in retagging.
In practice, “helping” any group is difficult. Public policy and money may be useful; however, their impact remains peripheral. Effective help presupposes succor from the Gypsies themselves. This demands leadership by leading Gypsies. It also suggests that Gypsy Leaders be approached with reservations. As in comparable cases: Too many Leaders benefit from the permanence of the problem they manage.
An internal hurdle is erected when Gypsies define themselves through their way of life that expresses an ethnic identity. This culture is more than only pre-modern. As far as the relationship to outsiders is concerned, it is also anti-social. The protection of identity is associated with resisting outside influence and that makes Gypsies into bad cultural learners. This causes a refusal to follow the modern world’s path to success. By rejecting schooling, resisting instruction, the failure follows to acquire skills. This brings poverty and unemployment. Welfare dependence follows and that leads to the exploitation by parties that trade handouts for votes.
This falling behind, enhanced by self-exclusion, puts gypsies in the category of an underclass. Ethnic pride shuts the safety valves that had relieved disadvantaged groups in progressive societies. Thereby, the more progressive the majority, the greater becomes the handicap. Globally a process unfolds in which skills and capital replace unskilled labor. Thereby traditional Gypsy ways become outdated and useless. What is left to the bypassed are antisocial strategies.
The charge of misallocating inventiveness into criminality is easily attributed to physically identifiable groups. The strategy of crime as a response to redundant ways is enhanced by the Gypsies’ missing loyalty to the majority. This is amplified, because crime against “outsiders” is not seen as “bad” but as self-defense. This is encouraged as the self-chosen exclusion from the mainstream enhances the sense of separateness, which then removes the deed’s moral stigma.
While the developmental gap between clan-bound Gypsies and “society” grows, the sense of separation also rises. Concurrently, the advanced and prosperous surroundings are able to reward failure –and buy “peace”- by using welfare as a palliative. At the same time, the protection under the law for the accused will firm. This will make “support” rewarding, while the leniency for crime will reduce its risks.
Ultimately, the solution of the Gypsies’ problem will not come from re-packaging dated goods, but from the adoption of integrative strategies. The interest of the Gypsies is more “cultural learning” and not the extortion of tolerance for asocial separatism and rewards for underachievement. Needed is an autonomous struggle to cultivate norms that can serve as a foundation for equaling the majority. (America’s Asians and her Jews come to mind.) This presupposes the rise of internal statesmanship. Representing “what is” is the politician’s trademark. The statesman educates and he aims at “what should be”. So far, the pecuniary interests of leaders from above, and the visionless misallocation of human capital from below, combine destructively to project the lived past into the present and that into the future.