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Why do people think that Poles are culturally isolated?


zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #1
If someone lives in Poland one can surely observe what kind of the literature is most popular right now in Poland. Almost every contemporary celebrity publish a book which is memoir/guide from a journey to either known or not well known countries like... Georgia.

When you switch tv on, you see many travel series running endlessly.
You can pop a spontaneous question to my parents what's interesting to see in any country on the globe, they have been watching habitually travel channels for years so you won't catch them off guard in that subject :)

Some of you will say that Poles couldn't travel during communism blah blah blah... suprisingly my mom and pop have been in both: exotic countries as well Western Europe and were well aware of the life behind the "iron curtain".

Before the EU accession some younger memebers of my family have backpacked through half of Europe.
So why the hell foreigners look on Poles as if they were a back water who have no idea about the world?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Dec 2012 #2
So why the hell foreigners look on Poles as if they were a back water who have no idea about the world?

It's nice to feel superior, you know. Sadly, I must admit that lots of Polish people act very superior to the "natives" once they go abroad.
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #3
The way some Poles go down on anything not Polish might support such views.
In other countries they would be ridiculed for such backward attitudes while in Poland the majority at least quietly accepts it.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Dec 2012 #4
In other countries they would be ridiculed for such backward attitudes while in Poland the majority at least quietly accepts it.

Every single country has its backward attitudes. As long as they stay in that particular country, I call them "tradition". ;-)
szarlotka 8 | 2,209
21 Dec 2012 #5
So why the hell foreigners look on Poles as if they were a back water who have no idea about the world?

For the same reasons some people think of there being no culture anywhere in the world that they have no knowledge of - ignorance, preconceptions and an innate feeling of superiority.
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #6
As long as they stay in that particular country, I call them "tradition". ;-)

Lets take this forum for example.
There are members that openly post their racist and xenophobic propaganda.
On other forums they would be chased away like rabid dogs, while here the majority belittles the problem.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #7
There are members that openly post their racist and xenophobic propaganda.

Are they Polish?
I have still on my block list a memeber who claimed to be British who kept on sending me abusive messages 2 years ago because in one thread I wrote that some Muslin guy here could be really in love with a Polish lady and the members should stop judging them. The messager called me naive and stupid.

Most people who write racist and xenophobic posts are American born or raised there. How come, despite such a multi-cultural environment they grew up to be racists?

I also noticed that people here tend to ascribe xenophobic and racist posts to Poles, then when it turns out a poster is not Polish they tend to diminish that fact by thinking about one rotten apple in an orchard of healthy ones.

Even though I'm Polish myself I tended to think the same at the beginning of my usage of this forum, but this site convinced me that Poles are not worse in those terms than so called "Western Europeans"... barring the fact that Western Europeans likes to think of themselves as being tolerant and culturally superior (as if there was no clash between those two terms, btw).

On other forums they would be chased away like rabid dogs, while here the majority belittles the problem.

I used to do that, but I got tired of that. Most people who have mild views tend to keep out of controversial threads.

In other countries they would be ridiculed for such backward attitudes while in Poland the majority at least quietly accepts it.

Oh, the hollier-that-thou attitude. Do you really think that ridiculed people change their views? No, they just shut up and keep thinking what they have thinking. That's why I find statements such as: Poland is like Britain in 80s in regards of something, ridiculous... seems like people in Britain live short.
Nacjonalista 4 | 96
21 Dec 2012 #8
Lets take this forum for example.
There are members that openly post their racist and xenophobic propaganda.
On other forums they would be chased away like rabid dogs, while here the majority belittles the problem.

Poles are naturally very nationalistic people. Get over it or find a new forum.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #9
^An example of Polish American.
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #10
Poles are naturally very nationalistic people.

LOL I was about to write something meaningful about xenophobia and racism in Poland, but Nacjonalista proved zetigrek point i guess.
Not saying that there are no regular Polish posters here that display their hate for everything foreign regularly.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #11
Not saying that there are no regular Polish posters here that display their hate for everything foreign regularly.

Yet they live abroad.

but Nacjonalista proved zetigrek point i guess.

You mean that he proved your point to me or he proved my point to you?
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #12
He is living proof that some Poles living abroad are racist and xenophobic.
This doesnt prove the difference of acceptance of such views in Poland and abroad.
And for sure it doesnt help to paint a better picture of Poland.
ifor bach 11 | 152
21 Dec 2012 #13
If someone lives in Poland one can surely observe what kind of the literature is most popular right now in Poland.

Probably, because there are people and people. What you write about your family may be true of them, but is not necessarily true of all Poles. Just as it is not necessarily true that all foreigners look down on Poles.

To be honest, what you have written shows that you personally are to a degree 'cuturally isolated'. I say this, because you are writing about nationalities as if they were an undifferentiated mass. You see a clear distinction between 'your people' and others. You are obviously defensive concerning your own national group.

Had you been brought up in a muti-cultural environment, you would be less prone to making such sweeping generalisations about millions of people you don't personally know.

Lighten up. Don't imagine Poles are constantly under attack. Start thinking of people as individuals, and not as members of national groups.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #14
Had you been brought up in a muti-cultural environment, you would be less prone to making such sweeping generalisations about millions of people you don't personally know.

Yet many people who were raised multiculturally made such sweeping generalisations.

To be honest, what you have written shows that you personally are to a degree 'cuturally isolated'. I say this, because you are writing about nationalities as if they were an undifferentiated mass. You see a clear distinction between 'your people' and others. You are obviously defensive concerning your own national group.

I'm sorry for my rhetoric but how can I act differently after listening a bbc radio broadcast with silly thesis and full of preconceptions?

Yes, I'm defensive, this forum made me like that.
No, I don't make distinction about my people and others, that's not what I can sign under.Moreover I definately don't feel any kinhood to roughly half of Polish population :)

As for judging people individually - it's the message I always hoped to get across to people on here.

He is living proof that some Poles living abroad are racist and xenophobic.This doesnt prove the difference of acceptance of such views in Poland and abroad.And for sure it doesnt help to paint a better picture of Poland.

Ok, but the thread is about the knowledge of "other cultures", and as you see those who supposedly should know them because of experience of living abroad don't like them. Maybe the conclussion should be that those two things (being xenophobic and well-travelled) has nothing to do with each other.
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #15
Maybe the conclussion should be that those two things (being xenophobic and well-travelled) has nothing to do with each other.

I have never met a traveler(i dont mean people that go to Mallorca once a year) that was xenophobic. How is that even possible?

It makes a huge difference if you travel the world or if you stay in your village all your life and get all your information from Super Expres, no matter if you live in Poland or abroad.

Unfortunately the general acceptance of racist tendencies is higher in Poland than in the rest of Western Europe.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #16
I have never met a traveler(i dont mean people that go to Mallorca once a year) that was xenophobic. How is that even possible?

But you meet Polish Americans who live in "the most diversed society" on the planet. An average Pole reading Super Express from a village is less hostile towards ethnicities than any Polish American sharing xenophobic attitude.
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #17
But you meet Polish Americans who live in "the most diversed society" on the planet

But dont travel.

Anyway the perception of foreigners is that Poland is very foreigner unfriendly, and that not without a reason as you can see on this forum everyday.

And there needs to be a massive change in society before that improves.
ifor bach 11 | 152
21 Dec 2012 #18
Unfortunately the general acceptance of racist tendencies is higher in Poland than in the rest of Western Europe.

It is simply the result of people having been brought up in a homogeneous society. Many people simply don't know any different. This is rapidly changing, however, almost certainly for the better.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #19
Anyway the perception of foreigners is that Poland is very foreigner unfriendly, and that not without a reason as you can see on this forum everyday.And there needs to be a massive change in society before that improves.

I rather see people inquiring: "i'm Black/Latino and slightly tanned, will I be beaten up in Poland?". Afterwards: "Hi! I just came back from Poland, people were friendly, helpful and I had a nice time there".

Many people simply don't know any different.

Generalisation alert! :)

I must go, later in the evening I will try to explain why people are xenophobic/chauvinistic/racist. Saying that people are homogenous and that's the reason for being xenophobic is too easy explantion... for me it's merely a media rubbish constantly repeated.
ifor bach 11 | 152
21 Dec 2012 #20
I rather see people inquiring: "i'm Black/Latino and slightly tanned, will I be beaten up in Poland?". Afterwards: "Hi! I just came back from Poland, people were friendly, helpful and I had a nice time there".

We shouldn't generalise too much. Chances are, you're not going to get beaten up. But then again, you might be. But they might go to London instead, and get beaten up there. Or have a great time. Everyone's experience is likely to be different. Probably, it will depend as much on them as on the character of the host nation.
berni23 7 | 379
21 Dec 2012 #21
I must be very sensitive to those stupid comments then, because i see them everyday.
And those are only those that cant hold back.
gumishu 11 | 5,017
21 Dec 2012 #22
Don't imagine Poles are constantly under attack.

Poles are constantly under attack from the EU regarding so called climate targets :P
urbanlegend - | 24
21 Dec 2012 #23
...lots of Polish people act very superior to the "natives" once they go abroad.

The way some Poles go down on anything not Polish might support such views.

This is precisely the problem.
TheOther 5 | 3,872
21 Dec 2012 #24
this site convinced me that Poles are not worse in those terms than so called "Western Europeans"

Just a general remark: one mistake commonly made on PF is that every form of criticism - well-meant or not - is countered with a "but it is the same in other countries, too". Instead of using their brain and probably changing things, certain people use the easy way out and just point the finger at others. "There's nothing wrong in Poland; they screw up in <insert country of your choice> as well" is their favorite answer. Very human trait, but not really helpful...

Oh, and ... Poles are not better or worse than westerners. ;)
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #25
Probably, it will depend as much on them as on the character of the host nation.

"Character of the host nation"? What's that and how does it relate to this advice:

Start thinking of people as individuals, and not as members of national groups.

I must be very sensitive to those stupid comments then, because i see them everyday.

What comments?

but it is the same in other countries, too".

It's merely pointing out hypocrisy. It makes me hit the roof, that's why I can't help myself doing that.
By the way, common mistake here is a foreigner telling Poles what they should or what they shouldn't do. How about focusing on your own country's affairs then pointing your finger on others.

Polish people are very rebelious, if you try to enforce something on them, they will do the contrary, just because they don't like to be manipulated.
Wulkan - | 3,251
21 Dec 2012 #26
So why the hell foreigners look on Poles as if they were a back water who have no idea about the world?

where did you come accross such a stereotype?
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #27
For example here: polishforums.com/news-politics-4/poland-success-attracting-new-immigrants-says-bbcs-crossing-63737/
Ant63 11 | 403
21 Dec 2012 #28
I must admit that lots of Polish people act very superior to the "natives" once they go abroad.

All to familiar I'm afraid. The most recent example is my partners brother. A couple of years ago I bought him a freeview satellite decoder to help him and his partner with English as in 18 months they had zero. Last week he switched back to Polish satellite because UK TV was so crap. Debatable I think. Real reason is he cannot after 3 and a half years speak in English although his partner can.

One of the more recent arrivals in my town came round for a haircut a couple of weeks ago. He claimed to be a former border guard and spoke of his pleasure in returning women and children to certain deaths. How he held guns to children's heads to get answers from their parents. How he shot people first and asked questions later. This cretin went on and on while his dumb village girlfriend lapped it up like a ***** on heat. He went on to say he was going to teach English people, not for one moment thinking I might possibly understand Polish. Then came the war wounds. Knife cuts all over his body from contact with the enemy in the forests. If there was one or two, it would be believable but he was covered, which made me think these were self inflicted. I just thought of another funny bit :-) He reckoned when he arrived at the UK BORDER CONTROL, they all knew him. He was flagged up because he could carry a gun. They then stripped him naked to check for firearms, shook his hand and said "Welcome to England".

Just one cretin like this, damages every Pole around him here. It's a shame we can't send nutters like this back. It's only asking for trouble keeping them.

He is banned from my house which is shame as I rather liked his young lady until he arrived on the scene.
OP zetigrek
21 Dec 2012 #29
Last week he switched back to Polish satellite because UK TV was so crap.

I can write comments and discuss with you but I can't watch a movie... it's really difficult to focus for so long, that's why I'm not suprised they don't like watch it.

Real reason is he cannot after 3 and a half years speak in English although his partner can.

Generally women are better at learning languages.
pawian 161 | 9,971
21 Dec 2012 #30
For the same reasons some people think of there being no culture anywhere in the world that they have no knowledge of - ignorance, preconceptions and an innate feeling of superiority.

I wanted to write more or less the same but spotted your post in the last moment.


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