Friday, February 18, 2011

"Gypsy Cab" Phrase Is Racist And Insulting To Romani People, And More. By John Han

Serbs and Gypsies who have been rounded up for deportation
are marched to the Kozara and Jasenovac concentration camp
The word "Gypsy" often used in the pejorative "gypsy cabs", to describe the illegal taxis in San Francisco is a racist slur.  It should no longer be used by San Franciscans, or anyone anywhere, when referring negatively to what should be described as, "bandit cabs", or "pirate cabs"... taxi drivers operating illegally in San Francisco, and stealing fares from legal cabs drivers.

"Gypsy" refers to ethnic groups.  Even CBS San Francisco (KCBS) is guilty of using the phrase, "Gypsy Cabs" insultingly.  Here's Wikipedia's description of "Gypsy...
  • Gypsy may refer, often pejoratively, to any of the following nomadic peoples:
·          the Romani people, the largest ethnic group popularly referred to as gypsies
o         Roma (Romani subgroup), a major Romani subgroup in Central and Eastern Europe
o         Sinti, a European subgroup of the Romani people
·          the Dom people, an ethnic group of the Middle East possibly related to the Romani
o         Lyuli, a branch of the Dom people of Central Asia
·          the Lom people, an ethnic group of East Anatolia and Armenia possibly related to the Romani
·          the Banjara, an ethnic group of India
·          the Irish Travellers (or Pavee), an ethnic group of Irish origin mostly found in Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States
·          the Ce├árdannan (literally "Craftsmen"), a ethnic group of the Scottish Highlands.
·          the Yeniche people, mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Belgium
  • Sea Gypsies, a number of different peoples of Southeast Asia
    • (Wikipedia)

San Franciscans, especially taxi drivers, and all media should stop referring to illegal taxis as "gypsy cabs", because it is racist and degrading to people of various ethnic groups.  When referring to illegal cabs on the street, they should be referred to as "bandit" or "pirate" cabs.



  1. Need medication? Are you sure you are fine?

  2. I'm sure I'm fine. I'm saying that instead of calling them 'gypsy' cabs, they should be called "pirate" cabs or something like that. Because gypsies are people, like Jew, African American, Latino, Chinese, etc. That's not to take away from what everyone is pissed off about, which is illegal cabs taking business away from licensed cabs.

  3. Jon, this time I think you're reaching pretty far on the back burner for hot issues. Besides, you already gave the solution to the question: the Romanis call themselves Romanis, not gypsies. The problem is yours, not theirs. The Romanis I have known have been too proud to care about this. And a lot of Romanis aren't gypsies nowadays anyway, so it's all in the past for most of them. I know a Romani who is an opera singer, and her family are quite stable, normal types.
    However, I think the term "pirate cabs" gives more of a feeling of what's actually going on, so, for that reason, I will use it, if I think of it. "Bandit" cabs, though, sounds a bit like Saturday morning cartoons...

  4. Christopher, well that's fine. It's just that someone got in touch with me a few days ago and thought that "gypsy" cab was offensive.


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