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Can you BE Polish without SPEAKING Polish in the US?


jasondmzk
16 Jan 2012  #1
My wife is of the mind that you can not. She has been in the U.S. for two years, and has met a kajillion people with names ending in "-ski" whom delight in telling her, that they to, are Polish. She thinks Polish-American is just American.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Jan 2012  #2
How would I know;).

If they eat kielbasa every week and go to Polish church they are Polish.

wait for the answers of the regular offenders on PF;). They take such topics seriously.
OP jasondmzk
16 Jan 2012  #3
If they eat kielbasa every week and go to Polish church they are Polish.

Wow. Wait til my wife finds out she isn't Polish, after all! She's gonna flip.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Jan 2012  #4
She's gonna flip.

you make sure you are out of the house, lets say having a quiet time in the Polish Deli munching on kielbasa sandwich with sour pickles;), or in a Jewish Deli having cream cheese with smoked salmon on the the finest European Sour Bread or something like that.
OP jasondmzk
16 Jan 2012  #5
Now I'm starving, thanks!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
16 Jan 2012  #6
@jasondmzk

Your wife is a friend of mine ;)

And to answer your question - no, you can't be. Speaking Polish is integral to the Polish character.
EM_Wave 9 | 311
16 Jan 2012  #7
Those Americans are just people with a Polish ancestor. That does not make them Polish.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Jan 2012  #8
She thinks Polish-American is just American.

Polish-American is American with an acknowledgement of ancestral origin. Your wife wouldn't deny that those with surnames ending in 'ski' have Polish surnames. It is absurd to claim that people with Polish ancestry are in no way Polish just because they don't speak Polish. If it weren't absurd then babies in Poland wouldn't be Polish until they could speak Polish and mutes in Poland would never be Polish.

you make sure you are out of the house, lets say having a quiet time in the Polish Deli munching on kielbasa sandwich with sour pickles;)

Ethnicity is determined by ancestry not by diet.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
16 Jan 2012  #9
It is absurd to claim that people with Polish ancestry are in no way Polish just because they don't speak Polish.

Can't speak Polish, can't be Polish. Koniec.

Ethnicity is determined by ancestry not by diet.

But we all have shared ancestry, therefore, ethnicity is meaningless.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Jan 2012  #10
Ethnicity is determined by ancestry not by diet.

I strongly disagree.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
16 Jan 2012  #11
And to answer your question - no, you can't be. Speaking Polish is integral to the Polish character.

Can you be Jewish without speaking Yiddish/Hebrew?

Can you be African American if you don't speak an African language?
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Jan 2012  #12
Can't speak Polish, can't be Polish.

So mutes and newborns born in Poland to Polish parents can never be Polish by your stupid binary reasoning. You should realize that in this world there are shades of grey. Polish-Americans that do not speak Polish are still Polish in the sense of having Polish ancestry and also probably having living relatives in Poland.

But we all have shared ancestry, therefore, ethnicity is meaningless.

Just because everyone can trace their roots back to Africa doesn't mean that ethnicity is meaningless. The diverse ethnicites that have arisen in the last 100,000 years are very real.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
16 Jan 2012  #13
Can you be Jewish without speaking Yiddish/Hebrew?

I dunno, it would seem to be a pretty integral part.

Can you be African American if you don't speak an African language?

Isn't "African American" largely bullshit terminology anyway?

(I found an article that made me cry - it was about how different "ethnic" groups - all American - were fighting over ward distribution in Chicago's city council)
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Jan 2012  #14
Isn't "African American" largely bullshit terminology anyway?

Wow what an idiotic question! Americans with African ancestry may be referred to as African Americans and there is no "bullshit" about it. Your choice of words here is very coarse delphiandomine. I reccomend you attend a university and improve your vocabulary.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
16 Jan 2012  #15
I dunno, it would seem to be a pretty integral part.

You said, quite affirmatively, "Can't speak Polish, can't be Polish. Koniec." Not that it's a "pretty integral part" but that it's 100% necessary, "koniec".

You obviously see a difference if Polish/Poland is so cut and dry yet other ethnicities, such as the ones I mentioned, give you hesitation.

So....what makes Polish/Poland different?

Isn't "African American" largely bullshit terminology anyway?

What an absurd question to ask but before I comment, I'd like you to answer the first question first.
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
16 Jan 2012  #16
Can you BE Polish without SPEAKING Polish?

Those Americans are just people with a Polish ancestor.

Man I'm Polish born and bred living in the States, still speak and read it fluently. As for people born here of course they are. Blood is thicker than some piece of paper. From personal experience I was shocked when 2 or 3 times I've heard from Italian Americans 'I'm not American I'm Italian' from people who didn't who a word in that language and were born here in the US. It's how ur raised and what u believe, see yourself as.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
16 Jan 2012  #17
So....what makes Polish/Poland different?

It doesn't, rather, it's a case of where Jews are somewhat different to the rest. However - isn't knowledge of Hebrew somewhat widespread among the American Jewish community? Worth pointing out though that unlike Poland, they never had an official language.

What an absurd question to ask

Not really - much of this "ethnicity" nonsense in America is bullshit. African-American especially so - it's like saying "I haven't got a ******* clue as to where I come from, so I'm just going to pretend that I'm from the whole continent even though I really have no idea".

It's scary how American society is dividing along ethnic lines though.

Blood is thicker than some piece of paper.

So - if that's true - what about the large amount of Poles with foreign names?

Off the top of my head, I have about 6-7 friends with clearly-not Polish names - including at least one with a Scottish name. Does that mean that they aren't true Poles?

And that's before we even start talking about things such as "Russian" babies.

(all this blood stuff, it's bullshit in a country that was occupied many times and in a continent where mixing is/was/always has been rife)

One thing that Americans don't get, and perhaps never will - is that in Europe, identity is often determined more by language than by blood once you go down a couple of generations. A child born to a British father and German mother in Germany will identify first and foremost as German. You'll never hear "I'm British-German" or some such nonsense.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Jan 2012  #18
One thing that Americans don't get

you clearly don't get America, do you? You are such a bore.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Jan 2012  #19
Not really - much of this "ethnicity" nonsense in America is bullshit. African-American especially so - it's like saying "I haven't got a ******* clue as to where I come from, so I'm just going to pretend that I'm from the whole continent even though I really have no idea".

No, it is not like saying that. Most African Americans are descended from Africans take in bondage from a few places on the West coast of Africa. It was sad that most of them could not be certain from what part of that coast their ancestors came, but now with DNA testing that too is changing. Do you really believe that African-Americans are just "bullshitting" when they claim that their ancestors came from Africa? If so you should read some history and realize that they are telling the truth.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
16 Jan 2012  #20
It doesn't, rather, it's a case of where Jews are somewhat different to the rest.

I'm honestly embarrassed for you at this point. No need to explain.

isn't knowledge of Hebrew somewhat widespread among the American Jewish community?

No.

African-American especially so - it's like saying "I haven't got a ******* clue as to where I come from, so I'm just going to pretend that I'm from the whole continent even though I really have no idea".

Oh I don't know, maybe because most of their parents were fukcing slaves being raped by slave owners and/or their entire family was torn apart when they were shipped out to America whereas most of them died before they were 40 years old from disease and lack of medical attention, exhaustion, starvation, and whatever other things slaves had to deal with years ago......therefore, they have no way of tracing their ancestry that accurately.....????????........

You need your frigging head examined, pappy.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
16 Jan 2012  #21
I'm honestly embarrassed for you at this point. No need to explain.

Why? Are you Americans so badly educated as to European history that you can't see that they have always been somewhat of a special case, due to the lack of a homeland yet being widely spread?

Jews don't have "a language", unlike most other ethnic groups. I'd even have my doubts as to how "ethnic" they really are, given the amount of Poles who look strangely Jewish and vice-versa.

What has that got to do with using the term as a weapon against other "ethnicities" in America?

There's plenty of people in America who can't trace their families too - are they "European-Americans?".

Utter nonsense, all of it.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
16 Jan 2012  #22
you clearly don't get America, do you? You are such a bore.

It's utterly amazing how much this guy claims to know about America and it's ethnic groups....when he's never even stepped foot in the damn country.

That goes for a lot of other clowns on this forum.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Jan 2012  #23
Wow if you think the term African-American is somehow usable as a "weapon" then you really do need the psychological care that Fuzzywickets suggests.

There's plenty of people in America who can't trace their families too - are they "European-Americans?".

Yes they are.

Why do you believe that acknowledging the truth about having Scottish ancestry is "utter nonsense"? It is you who aren't making any sense.
a.k.
16 Jan 2012  #24
She thinks Polish-American is just American.

My thoughts about that are:

I think it's common conception among Poles. To be honest I feel the same. I don't want to offend those people who really support traditions, know Polish language and are fairly informed about inner matters of Poland. I just feel that only because of having a name ended with -ski it would be a bit far-fetched to consider such person Polish. Of course I don't deny anyone the right to a self identification. The problem is that some Polish Americans have little knowledge of Polish culture and its inner affairs or distorted traditions and views on Poland that it is hard to feel the bond with them on the national basis.*

It's definately a problem hard to talk about because it's so nice that people are so attached to the country of their ancestors, on the other hand they are sometimes completety distant in regards of mentality.

Certainly being fluent in language (and speaking it without accent) makes easier to be regarded as a Pole. It shows that parents/grandparents of such person put a real efford to pass the Polish heritage to the another generation, therefore such person would be consider Polish with no doubt. Saying that there's something about British Polonia (the way it is regarded) because common belief about them says that those people were real patriots and therefore they were treating the act of passing their Polish heritage to the next generations as a mission. Definately there is a difference in perception of Polonia from different countries. If a French or Brirish said he was a Pole no one would turn one's nose up.

*I base my observation on Internet activity. I don't know any Polish Amrican in person.
BBman - | 344
17 Jan 2012  #25
Can you BE Polish without SPEAKING Polish?

Sure. Why can brown people from india (but born and raised in canada for instance, can't speak any indian language, never been to india) call themselves indians and no one objects?

Besides, we've already discussed this topic millions of times on PF. Americans/Canadians always say they are polish, italian, scottish, french etc. - this only makes reference to their ancestry and really what they are saying is that they are canadians of italian descent, ie italian-canadian. It's common in north american for people to make reference to their ancestry, something that europeans don;t understand.

What about when Poland lost its independence for over 100 years - were all those Poles living in the the partitioned areas who continued to call themselves Polish plastic poles?

;)

Isn't "African American" largely bullshit terminology anyway?

Ah PF's biggest racist has spoken once again, this time attacking african-americans for "their" language (ebonics). Try saying that in an inner american city, i suggest Detroit.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Jan 2012  #26
Ah PF's biggest racist has spoken once again, this time attacking african-americans for "their" language (ebonics). Try saying that in an inner american city, i suggest Detroit.

Who said anything about their language?

Looks like the racist is you, sunshine.

It's common in north american for people to make reference to their ancestry, something that europeans don;t understand.

Of course we don't understand it - because it's nonsense. They haven't got a clue about the history of Europe, and they seem to think that it's as simple as "Busia was born in Ivano-Frankvisk therefore I am Polish".

Anyone who puts European history into such simple boxes deserves to be ridiculed.
EM_Wave 9 | 311
17 Jan 2012  #27
Man I'm Polish born and bred living in the States, still speak and read it fluently. As for people born here of course they are. Blood is thicker than some piece of paper.

If someone was raised in a Polish cultural setting and speaks the language, then I see nothing wrong with them saying "I'm Polish." However, it sounds stupid if that comes from someone who isn't culturally Polish and doesn't speak the language. I'm not buying the blood thing either as "Polish blood" is really just mixed blood. The history of Poles began with West Slavic tribal people establishing a Polish state over 1000 years ago. Since then, many ethnic groups came into the mix.

Yes, Italian-Americans are by far the worst when it comes to this "ethnic pride" bullshit. Those claiming to be Italian first should be rounded up and deported. Scumbags like that don't deserve to live in America. Note: I have nothing against Italian-Americans and this problem certainly isn't exclusive to them.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
17 Jan 2012  #28
When you have a Polish last name people are always going to call you Polish. Apparently, they do not read threads such as these or they don't care. To them I am just "Polish."
delphiandomine 83 | 17,675
17 Jan 2012  #29
I'm not buying the blood thing either as "Polish blood" is really just mixed blood.

I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of money that not one poster on this forum could identify 5 Polish people and 5 Jewish people from 10 pictures.

All goes to show that talking about "blood" is just bullshit racial superiority theories and nothing else.
BBman - | 344
17 Jan 2012  #30
Who said anything about their language?

You;re in denial.

They haven't got a clue about the history of Europe, and they seem to think that it's as simple as "Busia was born in Ivano-Frankvisk therefore I am Polish".

We are taught in school that everyone living in north america came over to the new world (the "Christopher Columbus story"), mostly from europe. I can't remember any stats atm, but a huge chunk of the population has at least 1 grandparent that moved to can/usa from europe or elsewhere in his/her lifetime. Back in elementary school i remember teachers giving "family history" assignments to students and maybe as a result of this people here are accustomed to talking about their heritage. I hear/read a lot about this stuff in the media too, come to think of it. Saying "i am scottish" here doesn't mean that "i am scottish," it simply means "i am scottish-american or canadian" -in other words, a canadian/yank of scottish heritage. It's as simple as that, not sure why you can't get this through your balding head.


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