Yet another "Pole" who can't speak Polish
Is the term 'Polak' derogatory?
I made a point to often say "I am a Polak" (not Polack though), the way many people here in Canada say "I am a Newfie" as an introduction. This disarms any other typical questions like "Where are you from" (I still speak with pronounced accent), to which I usually respond - "From Mississauga" (a Toronto's former bedroom community, now the metropolis on its own of almost 400,000. I am not lying actually, I used to live there for 12 years.) And that puts any further loaded questions to bed. People can differentiate, even if they are from the lowest strata of the society. I have to, unfortunately, admit that a lot of Poles around here are not the ones you would like to party together.
Long time ago I was very sensitive to all sorts of Polishness issues: I often felt guilty for offences committed by my countrymen. Not any more. I am responsible only for my own behaviour. Why should I feel ashamed for a behaviour of some "kurwa" men? Do you want to call me a Polak? That's fine. As I said - people can see a difference. For example, last night I had an interesting conversation about stoics, stoicism, and the book "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy" in a blue collar bar - would you believe it? A Brit, and a Scot, and an Irish, a Cherman(*) and a Pole - all having a good time, with a bit of philosophical twist?
(*) He is actually a German, but we poke fun of his accent and call him Rudi the Cherman, assolutely!