Author Jim C. Hines blogs about “Gypsies” and Other Fantasy Beings thus:
“I’m sure most of us recognize that by now, this has become a pretty common trope, even a cliche, in the genre. But hey, they’re fun. They’re part of the history of our genre. And stories never hurt anyone! “Gypsies” are just another fantasy race, like elves and mermaids and dwarves, right? It’s not like we’re talking about real people with real cultures and histories. [/Sarcasm]
“Overt, deliberate, blatant racism tends to be easier to identify and denounce. I doubt most authors are deliberately trying to base their writing on racist stereotypes […]
“That doesn’t change the fact that we’re buying into the racism. As authors, we’re perpetuating it. We’re reinforcing the stereotypes and teaching our audience that this is what the Roma people are — that they’re magical, hypersexual thieves.
“I remarked this past weekend that I love my SF/F geeks, but we’ve got some issues. Our complicitness in ignoring or erasing real people and replacing them with cliche and stereotype is one of them.
“We need to do better.”
See Jim’s article for more examples of prejudice and discrimination, plus links.