FIA Pikeys

11

Apparently Martin Brundle is in a bit of hot water after the ITV pre-race show where he asked Bernie Ecclestone what he thought about the track resurfacing efforts:

“There are some pikeys there at Turn 10 putting tarmac down – what do you think of that?”

Which prompted this:

“This word has been used on television in the past and is highly derogatory. They have caused much offence in the past.”

From the spokesman at the Equality and human Rights Commission.  Now I have always understood Pikeys to mean a transient group or gypsy but perhaps our British contingent can enlighten me as to what people specifically this is offending in the UK.  I am not saying it isn’t offensive; I just don’t knwo who it is offending.  I mean a “transient” gypsy of a pe3rson could well be talking about my neighbor for crying out loud and he’s Dutch…I think.

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11 Comments on "FIA Pikeys"

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Kropotkin
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Your understanding of the word “pikey” is correct, but you’re missing the cultural context. Pikeys are indeed transient groups, often gypsies or travelers, sometimes just transient laborers. However, like people all around the world who “aren’t from around here” they are universally loathed and distrusted. In general, pikeys are associated with all and any crimes which may occur whenever they are around. To refer to someone as a pikey infers that they are working class (that’s British starving-in-a-council-house working class, not American three-SUVs-and-a-nanny working class), poor, badly dressed, and, if not actually criminal, then on the verge of becoming criminal,… Read more »
Kropotkin
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I suppose the closest cultural comparison would be to say that pikeys are regarded with the same respect as illegal Mexican agricultural workers.

Negative Camber
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Ask for clarification and the Master of MotoGP rushes to the rescue. Makes sense, Thanks David. I figured it was derogatory and offensive to some folks; just wasn’t sure exactly which folks.

Martin dropping the Pikey bomb!

onthepodium
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onthepodium

nice explanation kropotkin. i had never heard the term before, but sounds like it probably had the same impact as “wet back” a derragatory term for migrant farm workers here in the states. it’s all about the cultural context. in any case, doesn’t sound like the kind of language to be coming from a broadcaster’s mouth. i’m not sure what kind of regulation britain has for broadcasting/cable etc. though.

Kropotkin
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The term I thought of was “wet back” but it’s not quite as bad as that. It’s derogatory, but only mildly derogatory. Living outside of my native country, it’s always interesting to see how swearing and insults are the most difficult thing for foreigners to get the hang of. The thing is, they don’t have the cultural references to be able to realize when a word can and cannot be used. It’s a very subtle dance to go through, and very hard to get right, even for people who are fluent in another language.

MJohnHurt
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MJohnHurt
NC,I found your post really funny. You are using a term for an entire ethnic group (Gypsy, predominantly the Romani people) and then asking who it could possibly be offensive to. I think the other posts have clarified the point for you, but mostly to amuse myself here’s the end of your post rewritten to underscore what you did: I am not saying it isn’t offensive; I just don’t know who it is offending. I mean someone who drinks like an Irishman could well be talking about my neighbor for crying out loud and he’s Dutch…I think. (sorry Ireland, nothing… Read more »
Negative Camber
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well, leave it to me to be confused. Not being in the culture leaves me bereft of context. :) I understand now, just wasnt aware of the context. It would be offensive no doubt. Thx for the clarification folks.

brendan stallard
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brendan stallard
“To refer to someone as a pikey infers that they are working class” Kropotkin/Others, Nowt wrong with being working class, I suspect most of us here work, don’t we? I do, so I am definitely working class. Gypsies used to be referred to as Pikeys and it was very derogatory to them: however: as they are quite a lot of the time the folks actually building the roads over the last thirty years or so, they all drive Lexii now. Being Pikey also used to mean tight fisted in country parts. Being as I now live in GA: everyone tells… Read more »
brendan stallard
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brendan stallard

“Not being in the culture leaves me bereft of context.”

NC,

I was born here: At Colberts Bar in Baile Na Coira, Co Cork.

http://www.uncommon.us/gallery/main.php/v/History/Colberts+Bar_001.jpg.html

So you’re going to have a very dry time of it in Ireland…….:)

brendan

febsterehckya21
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So what does gypsies have to do with the guys fixing the track? Aren’t they hired by a company or something?

Bob Bacon
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Bob Bacon
I’m in the South West of the UK and here “pikey” is the term used to describe just about anyone that’s a “traveller” or gypsy. Google for pictures of the film “Snatch” … and if you watch it, there are plenty of references too. Unfortunately for this group of people, the actions of a few, and the reactions of Nimby’s (Not In My Back Yard) mean they aren’t trusted and are given the worst locations to setup their camps. Brundle used the term when talking about asphalt/tarmac laying as pikeys are also famous here for turning up in an area… Read more »