Should we ban the use of the word ‘pikey’?

I wasn’t quite asked that question during an interview for BBC Hereford & Worcester this morning, but I may as well have been. The word, I was told by someone before my interview who is a Romany traveller, is offensive.

As soon as someone tells me that they are offended about something that is said or written, my reply is that someone is always going to be offended by just about anything that is said or written. People also often fail to understand if someone is being deliberately abusive or is trying to make a joke. In this politically correct world that I find myself constantly fighting against, too many people appear to have undergone a sense of humour by-pass operation.

The reason I was interviewed this morning was because of the images below.

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Those items, until recently, were being sold on eBay and Amazon. My argument was that as pikey can also mean someone who is a criminal, the bag with ‘Pikey, just nick it’ is not being offensive to Romany travellers – it is attempting to make a joke about those who steal for a living. Whether or not it is a good joke is a matter of taste. What I would have gone on to say if time had been available is that is you start banning the use of pikey, you will have to start banning chav, yokel, bumpkin, posh boy, townie, hooray-henry, and many more terms that could be deemed offensive.

My interview, including an interview with Lisa Smith, a Romany traveller, is below.