The word “gypsy” often connotes images of fortune tellers, caravans and beggars. Their portrayal in literature, film and popular culture is generally unflattering, depicting the people as roving bands of ne’r do wells who lie, steal and cheat — and play the violin beautifully.
A swirl of confusion about who these people truly are still abounds, fueling the xenophobia and hostility often directed toward them. Even the term “gypsy” is an enduring misnomer, derived from the mistaken notion that they emigrated to Europe from Egypt. Today, gypsies are officially referred to as the Roma, tipping the hat toward their foster home of Romania. So is Romania really where the Roma originated?
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