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Not sure if this is racist but......

What kind of key can open any lock?

A Pikey  

(PS: Mods if this is offensive please feel free to delete it.)

Maybe I am thick but I don't get it! I have never heard of the word 'pikey'?

It's a, ahem, vernacular term for a gypsy/traveller/Roma, etc. There's a good article here about it.

I can never keep up with language. My daughters say I can use "Gypsy" but not "Gyppo" (though recently they also frowned when I used "Gypsy"). I have two neices who I knew as "spastic" (and I used to help with the collection for the "spastic society") but that has changed (the charity is now "Scope"). I once had research funding from "Action Research for the Crippled Child" but that seems to be avoided these days (they are now "Action Medical research").

I do have a lot of sympathy for those wanting to make sure language is not offensive (because I do not want to offend people), but I do find it a little difficult to keep up with as it does seem to change very rapidly, which perhaps (and perhaps this ought to be in another forum section) points to society being uncomfortable with the underlying condition rather than the name.

The desire not to offend is an admirable one, but quite frankly I think we've come to a stage now where people are so fed up with - there's no other term for it - political correctness and such a rapidly changing roster of what's considered offensive and not offensive but only by some and not others that the whole issue is a confused mess and we'd all do well just to say what we mean in the words that come most naturally to us. I remember seeing not so long back a discussion on the usage of 'gyppo,' considered very derogatory for obvious reasons, but then somebody from the Travellers' Council of Great Britain (or the equivalent - something like that) saying that 'gypsy' itself was offensive and that we must say 'traveller.' :roll: There's similar nonsense about the indigenous people of Australia: to refer to them as aborigines is a no-no, and apparently one must say aboriginAL people. I remember the Spastics Society when I was a kid too.

Don't get me started  

Yep - I didn't get it first time either.

As far as I understand the 2003 act, something is only illegal if it's deemed offensive. And since no one has ever told me this is offensive - I don't have a problem with it.

My understanding of the term pikey is not gypsy or Romany travellers, but the Irish hybrid type, used to be called tinkers if I remember correctly.

Their reputation for criminal behaviour is more than simple stereotype. I have worked on a number of engineering projects when we have had equipment and materials stolen by these people. Even live copper cable on the railway.

Pikey certainly isn't racist, because it describes a particular subset of Irish people, in the same sense that calling someone a "Chav" isn't racist ... though it is derogatory.

I have to second Andy's point - criminal behaviour is rife, which is largely why they're as disliked as they are. As it happens I know a couple of delightful "Irish travellers", but on the whole they're not my favourite people ... if nothing else it's just deeply inconsiderate to bind your children to the same wandering and ill-educated (well, those who fail to send them to school) existence without any choice in the matter. Not to mention the mess they leave when they move on from their site (once again, perhaps I am generalising? But it certainly seems a consistent problem). Forum Index -> Jokes
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