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Poland: The land of -isms


ET in P 2 | 5
17 Oct 2013  #1
Racism, sexism, ageism and the list goes on. This is not a country for the faint hearted. After 2.5 years of attempting to "see the bright side of things" I'm ready to throw the towel in. There's a reason why so many Polish people aspire to get the hell out of here and it's not all based on the economic situation. Don't expect to enjoy living here unless you can "pass" for a native. End of rant
rybnik 18 | 1,462
17 Oct 2013  #2
I personally am saddened to hear this ETinP. I would love for you to elaborate (it's obvi ok if you don't want to). Far be it from me to serve as Poland's apologist but.........
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Oct 2013  #3
I would love for you to elaborate

Likewise, especially as the OP appears to live in Poznan.
OP ET in P 2 | 5
17 Oct 2013  #4
I'm a multiracial woman from the UK who moved to Poland a while back to live with my polish partner. I am a qualified teacher and left a good job behind to come here and start anew. Since day one I have been constantly reminded of the fact that I am an outsider - from the all but too casual 'point and stare' to tonight's occurance of a group of young people behind me on the street shouting "biały siła " (white power) or even occasions where my boyfriend and I have been told to leave an area or establishment because of the colour of my skin. This has become an everyday battle for me....I cannot believe how intolerant and downright inhuman people here can be. I am not anti-polish -the only reason I came here was because I had meet so many good Polish people at home. To be honest they probably left for the same reason. I don't see things changing anytime soon. There are a lot of good people here but the proportion of racist idiots is too high.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
17 Oct 2013  #5
I'm sorry ET in P. I thought I might've divined an excuse for them but I'm at a loss. Someone really said "biała siła"?? Shameful really.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Oct 2013  #6
or even occasions where my boyfriend and I have been told to leave an area or establishment because of the colour of my skin.

If it's true, then I know several people who would love to hear from you. They would be especially interested in any establishment repeating such things, and they have the power to get the establishment into very hot water with people that matter.

However, I find it impossible to believe that you were asked to leave somewhere because of the colour of your skin, unless you purposely went somewhere that no non-Pole would ever dream of visiting anyway and where someone from even a different city would get a lot of criticism and abuse.

Sorry, but I know plenty of foreigners here, and I've never once heard anyone being refused service on the basis of the colour of their skin.
OP ET in P 2 | 5
17 Oct 2013  #7
Trust me it happened... plain as day right in the bar that is beside the golf course by Lake Malta. We were in fact just passing through and I for one was not interested in sticking around to ensure if the two massive men that told me to "spierdalaj m******" where in fact the proprietors of the establishment. My boyfriend's and my safety was my priority at the time. You may find it impossible to believe but it happened. This is my Polish reality. I am just sharing my experience.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Oct 2013  #8
So you weren't actually refused service, you were simply abused by two random guys. That's a slight difference, and casts doubt on the rest of your story.

How have you found the employment situation?
OP ET in P 2 | 5
17 Oct 2013  #9
I also know other

I also know a few foreigners who live here- but only a minority of them speak or understand the polish language. Once someone is able to understand what is being said their perspective changes. I guarantee you that 98% of verbal abuse that I have encountered has been from people three expect me not to understand what is being said.

At what point did I say that I had been refused service? PLEASE read my comments thoroughly before defending such behaviour. I am not attacking you so please don't take it so personally and please do not try to invalidate my experiences. This is not a debate or a "war of the patriots." I just don't want anyone else to experience what I have over the last 2.5 years.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
17 Oct 2013  #10
where my boyfriend and I have been told to leave an area or establishment because of the colour of my skin.

this could be understood to mean you were indeed denied service, in defence of Delphiandomine
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Oct 2013  #11
I just don't want anyone else to experience what I have in the last 2.5 years.

The problem is that your experience seems to be rather embellished compared to the experiences of many foreigners here. I know quite a few who have an excellent command of Polish, and they don't seem to suffer anywhere near as much as you have. Isolated idiotic incidents, yes - but nothing more than a Pole would get in the UK. Poznan is quite a multicultural place, and unless you go wandering around £azarz or Wilda late at night, it seems pretty unlikely that people would draw attention to themselves in such a way.

Having said there, there are certainly some pubs that you wouldn't go to - but nor would a normal Pole.

Are you certain that this isn't because of a difficult employment situation? You certainly wouldn't be the first or the last to focus on "how terrible Poland is" because you couldn't find satisfaction employment-wise.
OP ET in P 2 | 5
17 Oct 2013  #12
Not at all...I have a great job here. I'm a private English teacher, have a good salary and very good employment benefits. Employment is the least of my worries here.

Anyway....that's that. My ticket booked and I'll be home soon. Thanks for your input. Best of luck and goodnight.
pierogi2000 4 | 229
17 Oct 2013  #13
The reason you aren't treated as an outsider in the UK is because the UK no longer has a heritage or culture. It's now a watered down version of many mixes. That's exactly what Poles are trying to avoid. Who cares how wealthy you are when you hate or can't communicate with your co worker, neighbor or everyday people on the street (Western Life).
legend 3 | 664
17 Oct 2013  #14
I'm a multiracial woman from the UK who moved to Poland a while back to live with my polish partner.

What an awful post. I dont know where to begin.
See this is the problem with multiracial people, they think everything is "racist" when it doesnt conform to their standards.

Some countries are very white. DEAL WITH IT.

The reason you aren't treated as an outsider in the UK is because the UK no longer has a heritage or culture. It's now a watered down version of many mixes. That's exactly what Poles are trying to avoid.

Amen.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
17 Oct 2013  #15
Anyway....that's that. My ticket booked and I'll be home soon. Thanks for your input. Best of luck and goodnight.

Sorry to read of this.
But simply, forget about them, those idiots will probably grow up and change their attitudes in time. In some ways, Poland's attitude to "outsiders" reminds me of the UK in the 1970s.

That said, the majority of people seem OK. I have observed some racist stuff and swastikas here and there but probably no worse than Watford was 10-20 years ago. In the end, they just show how daft, inexperienced in life and generally unworldly they are with their stupid remarks.

Whether you return and stay in the UK or come back to Poland, I hope all goes well!
PS FWIW I usually feel like an outsider here too but I don't care at all, except I find that it's very hard to land any sort of reasonable job which makes it worse of course because it limits interaction and integration significantly for me (although that's true for Poles as well).
legend 3 | 664
17 Oct 2013  #16
I realize my above post doesn't sound nice and its aggressive.

But im just saying in a fairly homogenous country like Poland some people will want to preserve themselves by what means they can. Governments do what the money tells them, and sometimes ignore people.

Multiracial people cant understand that so easily and they want to live in a society that welcomes them. They tend to be much more socially liberal too.

When more races come into another white country, they want the society to change in their favor. UK and Canada used to be more conservative, now today with more races

they have become socially liberal. Poland isnt that socially liberal. Too some thats a good thing to some bad.

For example in the US minorites are much more likely to vote Democrat (more socially liberal than Republicans).
I think blacks vote 90+ percent democrat. Most Asians and Hispanics same thing (lower figures). Even Jews who sometimes view themselves as minority voted like ~70% in favor of democrats.

Now take white people (who are increasingly more divided in US) still most of them vote for Republicans (more socially conservative).
szczecinianin 4 | 345
17 Oct 2013  #17
Sorry, but I know plenty of foreigners here, and I've never once heard anyone being refused service on the basis of the colour of their skin.

As I've told you before, Delphi, you don't know Poland.
Wroclaw Boy
17 Oct 2013  #18
Poland is an extremely racist country
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Oct 2013  #19
Some countries are very white. DEAL WITH IT.

She is. She's leaving.

the UK no longer has a heritage or culture. It's now a watered down version of many mixes.

I think it's obvious you've never been there.

That said, the majority of people seem OK.

That's exactly my experience. It's very much a minority of idiots who have a far worse bark than their bite. The bad old days of the early 90's have gone, thankfully.

I do believe there's an issue with racism being culturally accepted here, but I don't believe that Poland is such a terrible place for racist incidents.
bluesfan - | 85
17 Oct 2013  #20
Now take white people (who are increasingly more divided in US) still most of them vote for Republicans (more socially conservative).

There's a good reason for that:



chrison2wheels 2 | 15
17 Oct 2013  #21
Here is USA most Poles are racist. I moved here as a kid and lived in poor neighborhoods so most my friends were black or Latino. Yet even my Polish parents always looked down on blacks. Sure there are more of them committing a crime than say Asian people but 99% just want to work and have a good life. Just walk in any Polish store in NY and start talking about MURZYNI and you'll get an ear full. It's a shame considering how we Polish people are scattered all over the world where people welcome us jet we are first to judge someone with darker skin.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
17 Oct 2013  #22
I do believe there's an issue with racism being culturally accepted here, but I don't believe that Poland is such a terrible place for racist incidents.

Yes, I agree, in some places it almost seems to be acceptable somewhat. Again, it reminds me of backwaters in the UK in the 70s and 80s.
szczecinianin 4 | 345
17 Oct 2013  #23
I do believe there's an issue with racism being culturally accepted here, but I don't believe that Poland is such a terrible place for racist incidents.

You don't get so many racist incidents because in many places there isn't anyone to racially abuse.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Oct 2013  #24
The real issue to me is the acceptance of racism by a cross section of society - everyone deplores racist idiots starting trouble, but the vast majority of people here tend to turn a blind eye at best to racist comments.

Having said that, I don't believe that there is anything comparable to the problems that - for example - the Met had with institutional racism.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
17 Oct 2013  #25
Racism,

I really don't gei it, why people coming here expect Poland to be just like the West or the US.
It isn't.
It's not a "fairly" homogenous country - when we compare it to the West, it's a very homogenous country.
Of course there will be more racists than in the West.
But from my experience, majority of people in Poland aren't racist.
For some people it may be enough, for others - not really.
Of course I'm not black or Asian, but I do observe Poles' reactions to people of other races and I hear what people say.

sexism,

I can't say I've experienced much sexism here, either, tbh.

ageism

What is that?

This is not a country for the faint hearted.

Noone said it is ;)

After 2.5 years of attempting to "see the bright side of things" I'm ready to throw the towel in.

In my opinion 2.5 years isn't that much, but if you feel that way.

There's a reason why so many Polish people aspire to get the hell out of here and it's not all based on the economic situation.

True, but it is mainly the economic situation.
On the other hand, I live in Kielce, it's a provincial city and I enjoy visiting Warsaw, for example, looking around and seeing people with different skin colour, different nationalities, hearing different languages. Homogeneity (and the resulting attitude of some people to diversity) can be a bit suffocating in the long run. If I was ever to move abroad that would be probably the main reason - to experience diversity.

Don't expect to enjoy living here unless you can "pass" for a native. End of rant

Well, John Godson seems to be enjoying it here ;)
ET, my mum was assisted by a black doctor when she was giving birth to my brother (and that was years ago... in Kielce! lol). It wasn't her doctor, her doctor got sick or sth and there she was, with her waters broken, having contractions and some black person is walking out of the room and saying "Zapraszam!" She was so shocked that she wanted to run away xD It was the first time she saw a balck person live in her life. Even in the movies and TV series during the communism balck people were often played by white Polish actors with some kind of dark make up on lol

Of course, he did assist my mum in the end and now I'm joking that my brother can't be a racist (and he isn't) because the first human he saw was black lol

Years later she took my brother to a doctor, and there he was - the same doctor who delivered him. So he must have been living in my city all this time. I don't know if he was enjoying it, but it couldn't be that terrible if he stayed, I guess.

Since day one I have been constantly reminded of the fact that I am an outsider - from the all but too casual 'point and stare'

That's not racism though, people aren't accustomed to people of different races and that's why they stare and sometimes even point at people. Those people usually aren't aware that it can make someone uncomfortable. I myself usually try not to look, although I'm curious and it's natural to turn your head and look at sth or someone that caught your eye because I know that people usually consider it racist.

I remember some years ago I was going with a girl I knew from a bus stop and we saw a really tall black guy (he probably was playing for a basketball team, because no other reason for him to come to Kielce came to my mind) and my aquaintance stopped dead on the sidewalk and stared at him with her mouth open xD I had to elbow her to snap her out of it lol It was soooo embarrassing for me xDDD But only because I've been to Paris and have seen plenty of black people there (which was a shock for me at first too). So I was more or less accustomed to such sight. My aquaintance, however, was never abroad at that time. So after I snapped her out of the shock she was like "Did you see that guy?? He was sooo black! And sooo tall!" xD And so I explained to her that in France there are plenty of black people, even more black than that guy." And she was like "Really????" xDDD Honestly, it was as if someone put a white guy in the middle of an African tribe in some desolate part of Africa or in some Amazonian tribe with people never seeing a white person in their life ;) As if an UFO has landed xD It was a hilarious scene but I suspect it didn't make that guy feel too comfortable lol

What I'm trying to say is - she wasn't mean about it, she wasn't racist, she was simply completely unaccustomed to black people.

to tonight's occurance of a group of young people behind me on the street shouting "biały siła " (white power)

This is a slogan of neo-Nazis (and organisations like ONR, I can imagine).

even occasions where my boyfriend and I have been told to leave an area or establishment because of the colour of my skin.

That's almost hard for me to believe, to be honest. But if it happened, you should report it.

f it's true, then I know several people who would love to hear from you. They would be especially interested in any establishment repeating such things, and they have the power to get the establishment into very hot water with people that matter.

+10

I don't see things changing anytime soon.

There's an economic crisis and my guess is that things may get even worse for a short period of time (just my guess though). So if you feel that uncomfortable in Poland I can't blame you for leaving.

But I do think that in the long run things will change for the better and are changing all the time - I've been living here since I was born so I know.

And I'm really, really sorry that you had such unpleasant experiences, ET.
Harry
17 Oct 2013  #26
I know plenty of foreigners here, and I've never once heard anyone being refused service on the basis of the colour of their skin.

I've never heard of that either (although I do remember the story of that Roma fellow in Poznan being denied entry to a restaurant because he was Roma). However, I have heard stories of (and personally experienced) groups which have one or more non-whites being told that for the good of their own health it might be better if they went to a different establishment.

most Poles are racist.

How to put this politely? It's not uncommon for emigre communities to hold views which are not the same as the views found in the country their ancestors left. Sometimes the views/values of emigre communities are noticeably more conservative or un-evolved than the views/values in the country their ancestors left; for example US Polonia votes very heavily for PiS.

I do believe there's an issue with racism being culturally accepted here

Agreed, but it's becoming less and less acceptable every year. Not so long ago comments like those made by Kuba Wojewodzki wouldn't have made the news at all, now he's seen as a provincial twat for making the remarks that he makes.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
17 Oct 2013  #27
Not so long ago comments like those made by Kuba Wojewodzki wouldn't have made the news at all, now he's seen as a provincial twat for making the remarks that he makes.

Wojewódzki was making racist comments? You know he's as liberal as one can be? lol He's simply a jerk to people, white Poles included, and he's convinced he's very funny being that. He's not a racist, though. Just an a$$hole :P
Nile 1 | 155
17 Oct 2013  #28
Of course there will be more racists than in the West.

Don't let "them" activists fool you. Every human is a racist to some extend. I don't know in which country there are more racists but I strongly suspect that their number would be the same for most countries.
szczecinianin 4 | 345
17 Oct 2013  #29
I agree with you to some extent. However, it's up to us whether we learn to recognise the irrational racist impulses within ourselves for what they are. Furthermore, society determines whether racism is socially acceptable or not.

Btw some people genuinely aren't racist, believe it or not.
Harry
17 Oct 2013  #30
Wojewódzki was making racist comments?

Yes, on several occasions. His "I married a white woman and then ate her" comment about a black contestant on X-Factor. His statement that there should be "a national register of negroes" (the person he aimed that comment at was actually Indian-Polish) and that his show was sponsored by "the Warsaw branch of the Ku Klux Klan". His outstanding funny comment the day after Ukraine beat Sweden in Euro 2012 that if his Ukrainian maid was at bit prettier he'd have raped her.

He's not a racist, though. Just an a$$hole :P

He's a racist arsehole.


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