I won't give you their historical background, because it is quite long. I'll just give you an understanding of why the terminology is derogatory. Of course, as in many situations, the use of the G-word is often debated.
The root of the word “gypsy” comes from the Greek word athinganos, which means “untouchable”. This term was imposed on Roma when they first arrived in Europe. Because they had darker skin, they were falsely believed to be Egyptian. “Egypt” became “gyp”. When you say you're being gypped, it's synonymous with theft. The very identity of Roma is associated with theft or robbery. We have American TV shows like Gypsy. It has nothing to do with Roma, but it has to do with misbehaving, I guess, or theft and robbery. There's a restaurant that just opened in Montreal, and it's called Gypsy. We contacted them and said that was derogatory. They said they thought it was “free-spirited” and so it was okay.
In terms of the level of understanding, convincing people to use the right terminology is difficult. We made a recommendation to the United Nations to adopt a resolution to officially condemn the use of the word for their purposes. The challenge that comes with that, similar to the use of the N-word, is that some Roma will identify themselves with the term, as it's been like that for centuries. It's about reclaiming the term. So a lot of layers of complexity lie with that.
As for what concretely can be done, definitely there's social media. I think Facebook especially has been under a lot of scrutiny. In the case of Myanmar, for example, there's the responsibility of social media in allowing hate speech. Definitely there are concrete things that can be done. I think the first thing is to start to condemn globally the use of such terminology when we see it. It is very difficult, given the scope of the human rights violations of Roma, to address terminology. In the Americas, I would say it's one of the root causes of the dehumanization of Roma and the perception of Roma as not being a group of people but rather as a social behaviour. This in fact is one of the reasons that the human rights violations against Roma continue to be justified today.