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How are Poles generally viewed outside Poland by other nations?


Achilles  
25 Jan 2007 /  #1
Is the stereotype changing for the better?

Stereotypes change with circumstances. Poland’s neighbours, Germany, Austria and Russia have for centuries propagated a poor image of the lazy, drunken thief. This is not strictly objective because the Germans and Austrians sought some moral justification for their participation in the division of Poland. The Russians did not criticise Poles for laziness or drunkenness, one wonders why not, but contented themselves with the justification of superior force. It appears that even though Poles were once compelled to work in Germany and Austria they are not welcome now. This probably has more to do with German fear of competition than any real grievance. Of course there is the infamous stealing of German cars, but it not admitted that many Germans sold their cars cheaply in Poland and later claimed that they had been robbed.

In Britain, Poles settled in 1946, because Churchill said that it was the least that he could do and honour demanded it. The brides of many airmen, soldiers and sailors also demanded it. Those were not easy times, but the Poles were accepted and gradually respected. The Gierek and the Solidarity immigrants proved to be a mixture and the Polish image in London was somewhat tarnished. Now after between one and two million Poles have left Poland, and most are in Britain and Ireland, they are very well regarded in Britain and Ireland. Young Poles have earned a reputation for being hard-working and there are very few complaints.

The Polish population of the United States is, of course a far older immigrant community. Not having any personal experience of the U.S., all I can say is that it is not Poles, who spring to mind when crime is discussed or is the subject of TV serials. Perhaps a flippant remark, but based on the fact that poor, mostly uneducated immigrants worked hard, raised families and built homes and communities. Perhaps American Poles have taken longer to rise through the social strata in than some other immigrant groups, however that is not cause for criticism.

If Poles have problems with stereotyping, it is rather their stereotype of themselves that does them an injustice. Of course there are problems in Poland, but though they cannot be disowned, these problems have been inherited from Communism. It is because of Communism that Poles have a poor self-image. The nation is changing and can work and live in a modern, market-economy society, a fifth of the dentists in Britain are Poles. The problem is with the Polish governing “nomenklatura”, once Poland is cleansed of political and administrative incompetence and criminality, and then indeed Poles will be second to none.

Unfortunately the Presidents of Poland appear to be declining in quality. Walęsa made history, it is said that Kwasniewski made money and the current president has done nothing. Yet if one looks at the political leadership in Britain, France and Italy one may conclude that ability and integrity in political life are in short supply everywhere today.

Achilles Węgorz
ak_nelson - | 22  
28 Jan 2007 /  #2
Thanks for posting this. Some interesting stuff.

Although, I don't think views in the US and UK can be extended to "other nations" so easily.

Young Poles have earned a reputation for being hard-working and there are very few complaints.

Is this hard-working reputation really viewed so positively by most in the UK?

I see many workers (especially physical labourers) here in Denmark feel quite threatened by the polish work ethic.

If Poles have problems with stereotyping, it is rather their stereotype of themselves that does them an injustice.

Perhaps in some cases, but there's much more to it than that most of the time.

It is because of Communism that Poles have a poor self-image.

It did take quite a toll. Communism is also why many non-poles have a negative image of Poland. This takes different forms in different places. Here in Denmark, I think it has to do with some deep-seated (and well deserved, IMO) guilt for not interfering in atrocities taking place in a neighbour country. In the US, it's the "we had to save your asses because you couldn't take care of yourselves" negativity and a remarkable absence of guilt for, or even recollection of, how long they just sat on their asses and watched the horror show (again, IMO). How do attitudes compare in the UK?

one may conclude that ability and integrity in political life are in short supply everywhere today

No doubt about that!
Amathyst 19 | 2,702  
28 Jan 2007 /  #3
Is this hard-working reputation really viewed so positively by most in the UK?

I think opinions are changing amongst a lot of British and not really for the good, there has been article after article over the last few weeks about British builders losing their jobs because there is a cheaper job pool to tap in to which happens to be Polish builders, these British men have mortgages and families here in their own country and are finding it increasing harder to provide for their families....I'm not going to start bashing anyone but this is happening and I would imagine it will cause a lot of friction between people on building sites.
globetrotter 3 | 106  
28 Jan 2007 /  #4
I'm not going to start bashing anyone but this is happening and I would imagine it will cause a lot of friction between people on building sites.

Even allowing for the more inflammatory treatment of this issue by certain sections of the British media, I think A is right in that there are some tensions. If you believe the papers it is a huge issue. I think the reality is less of a problem but a problem nevertheless. It's all an example of supply and demand at work. There was a huge shortage of skilled labour in building and similar trades before the influx of tradesmen from the new EU countries. It was almost impossible to find a plumber in the South of England 3 or 4 years ago. Now we have redressed that balance and yes, some of the new work force, do work for less. We have the benefits of a capitalist economy so we have to accept the downsides too. In the longer term we will see competition for jobs extending beyond the low paid, manual sector into the full economy. The challenge for the UK, which we are failing badly in my opinion, is to educate our children to be able to compete in a global economy. An influx of hard working and well educated people should be the wake up call we need.
Jasiu  
28 Jan 2007 /  #5
Is this hard-working reputation really viewed so positively by most in the UK?

I see many workers (especially physical labourers) here in Denmark feel quite threatened by the polish work ethic.

IMO the hard-work ethic is viewed positively by those benefiting from it - the consumer - and negatively by those who feel threatened by it... those whose jobs are potentially at risk...

British builders losing their jobs

one of the first posts i made on this forum was about polish builders... and how frankly i have been let down countless time by british builders who do a shoddy job, drink endless cups of tea and then overcharge me... if a polish builder comes along and does a better job, in half the time and for a fraction of the cost then really... it's a no brainer... not a lot of sympathy for the local rip-off merchants...
ak_nelson - | 22  
28 Jan 2007 /  #6
Sounds precisely like how it is in Denmark. Only with the Danes it's more likely cigarette and beer breaks. Competition from polish workers will do them some good!
Maxxx Payne 1 | 196  
28 Jan 2007 /  #7
Yet if one looks at the political leadership in Britain, France and Italy one may conclude that ability and integrity in political life are in short supply everywhere today.

Very true. You have to admit tho' that Twin Brothers have guts say their opinions despite protests of the P.C crowd. I respect that.
Frank 23 | 1,183  
11 Apr 2007 /  #8
Merged:Being Polish and trustworthy...a paradox?

I just noted in the "smiling" thread about a guy who appeared to be an average USA citizen, though spoke Polish, being surprised at "new" Polish people speaking in Polish then realizing he also spoke it too.......they then turned heel in either embarrassment or fear or inadequacy and left the scene pretty quickly.

However is this due to their not trusting someone overhearing their conversation and not identifying themselves ( legacy of not trusting anyone back home, communism etc), are Polish people a naturally very suspicious nation, or trusting no-one full stop, who isn't a friend family member?
sapphire 22 | 1,241  
11 Apr 2007 /  #9
I dont know if it is true but Polish friends have told me that Poles are generally distrustful of people because of the legacy of communism and that it takes a while before they gain trust in new friends or lovers.
TripTic 3 | 95  
11 Apr 2007 /  #10
...well... yeah we are suspicious sometimes, but communism is not the reason....i don't know what is the reason for it really. First of all ,there is a one rule: In 95% one Pole abroad is untrustworthy to another Pole abroad as well. I know it souds daft, but you can't help it. Can ya ?
1st generation  
16 Apr 2007 /  #11
My parents are from that late generation.

The Pope has really elevated how other Americans view Poles.One joke in the early 70's always ended in " yeah, and the Pope is Polish." But, there always was discrimination. The pecking order was: English speaking Anglos, Irish-because they spoke English, Germans, Slavs, Italians, Asians, Mexicans and Blacks. The first three groups held most of the power in the US. Now, the Poles and other Slavs have a higher status. It is unfortuante that the Blacks have always been treated poorly. Now, people abandon Black areas because of the crime and the hopelessness that it shows.
Curio  
23 Apr 2007 /  #12
As an American of Dutch-Irish decent I can roughly estimate the view of the Polish here in the U.S.
We have none.
Actual Polish (recently from Poland)people are a rare occurrance in MOST of the U.S.
However ,Polish immigrants were (the smallest)part of the 'Big Four' (along with German,Irish,and Italian)of the early 20th century European
relocation to America.Chicago,after Warsaw,has the second most-most Polish speaking population in the world.
Polish-Americans are now viewed,more or less,as 'regular white folk'.In fact it's hard to watch a sporting event without seeing
someone named "ski"
My Irish cop great uncle noted that the Polish neighborhood patrols were given to soon to be retirees,or as a reward.These
nieghborhoods had less crime,less work,less stress.This may be partly due to the Poles coming reletively late in the game,
and the Irish ,Itallians,and Jews had already established a tight grip on the gambling,prostition,loansharking etc..Either way,this was somewhat good
for the Polish reputation.
Among well informed conservatives,Poland's prestige has recently risen.I say 'well informed' because it is little known in the
states the role the Polish played in Iraq.I.E. after the fall of Saddm ,Iraq was divided into a British,American,and Polish Zone( the poles

commanding a multinational force in the south central-region)
Also the rescue of CIA agents,by the Polish special forces 'GROM' was helpful for the Polish reputation.
But to be quite honest,80% of Americans have never even heard of of any of this.And to the more 'liberal' element in this
country,any active involvement in Iraq will be seen as a definate negative.
John  
17 May 2007 /  #13
We have to many Poles here in the UK, some 800,000 in 3 yrs, Its time our government took action or we will become Poland II
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
17 May 2007 /  #14
It's great huh? Just think....to be able to live anywhere you want....ahhhh dreamy :) Just what the world shoud be about. Why be stingy with your country right? Good for you UK! You truely are kind people :)
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
17 May 2007 /  #15
We will be coming until It sinks.
John  
18 May 2007 /  #16
UK is a **** hole I admit that, but your neighbours Gernany didnt think much of you, nor did France, these are quality countries!
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
18 May 2007 /  #17
but your neighbours Germany didn't think much of you

I would be more worried If they did.
szarlotka 8 | 2,209  
18 May 2007 /  #18
We have to many Poles here in the UK,

No - we have too many lazy, whining people, a lot of whom are Brits.

UK is a **** hole I admit that

Feel free to leave at any time then
Polishnotcarer  
18 May 2007 /  #19
How are Poles generally viewed outside Poland by other nations?

I don`t care.
John  
18 May 2007 /  #20
see my point, you poles just have bad attitudes, which proves my point! How long do you think you can enjoy living in the uk?? what working as a labourer or doing low level jobs is quality of life?

thelondonpaper.com/cs/Satellite/london/lcsearch/article/1157147318716? packedargs=suffix%3DArticleController

Lol
johan123  
18 May 2007 /  #21
uk??

should be UK

what working as a labourer

Sentences start with capital letters.

didnt

should be didn't

to

should be too

yrs, Its

should be years and it's
poles [/quote] Should be Poles

Why do you make so many basic errors when using your own language?

Greeting from Polish labourer in London.

It's not the point. The guy's uneducated and needs to see it.
John  
19 May 2007 /  #22
johan, i think you and the rest of the poles are ueducated labouring bafoons, so its not surprising when 2 million of you lot turn up in a small island like the uk that it annoys everyone.

your not good for our country and the economy period! if you want work why not go to parts of the saraha or the amazon? im sure there is plent of work for you to do there.

btw, your personal hygene is terrible, what we have to face on the tube each morning is terrible. well its not surprising that there are 10 poles in a sleeping bag to 1 bedroom, imagine 30 or 40 poles to a house in the monring, im sure some cant take a shower!! lol
Daisy 3 | 1,227  
19 May 2007 /  #23
your not good for our country and the economy period!

Are you sure you're from the UK? You've just used some American phraseology. People in the UK do not use the word period for end of, they say full stop.
espana 17 | 910  
19 May 2007 /  #24
Its time our government took action

what government ?????,,,,,,,
Pakistan?
India?
Africans government?

you not are english?

if they took some action in the future ......you will be in Pakistan or Africa soon
John  
19 May 2007 /  #25
if Poland is so great what the hell are you all doing in the UK? why not try and build your own country and economy up. that would make you a traitor turning back on your own nation.

so answer my question, why do you have to live in the UK like scrooges?

Johan what are you trying to prove? haha, if you claim to be so smart and educated, why are you working as a laborer?

im not bothered how im typing, after all im talking to poles, not to the english so i dont think i can be bothered with grammar or spelling.. just like you guys cant be bothered about integrating to UK life and trying to blend in with the UK culture.

for starters you can try taking care of your personal hygiene, we do have water and soap in the uk, i dont know what you have in Poland, but taking a shower is free!

lol i always knew poles were trash and i can see that!! lol its only a matter of time before the majority of english will get sick of you all..
espana 17 | 910  
19 May 2007 /  #26
majority of english will get sick of you all..

may be they will...(dont think soo) but they are sick of you !!!!.......you not are english you are an asian or african sicker for sure......you sholuld be out of europe asap!!!
ola123  
19 May 2007 /  #27
may be they will...(dont think so) but they are sick of you !!!!.......you not are English you are an Asian or African sicker for sure......you should be out of Europe asap!!!

Yes statistically 99% of trolls on this board ar not British but pretending to be British.
espana 17 | 910  
19 May 2007 /  #28
i can be bothered with grammer

the polish are bother,,,,that why the english prefer people from poland and them dislike lazys african and asian like you.
John  
19 May 2007 /  #29
i think you should go back to poland the sooner the better, as i said you dont do nothing here in the uk, your a burden to the society

btw africa is a good place, you should visit sometime, you will like it!!
ola123  
19 May 2007 /  #30
you dont do nothing

awwww what a grama from the proud brit :)

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