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Where did the stereotype of Polish people being stupid come from?


Curiouspole   Oct 19, 2008, 07:48pm /  #1
I am not 100% Polish, in fact I'm about every nationality. Every time I mention my great grandmother was Polish, I get the "dumb pollack" remark. Where exactly did it start? I've done so many internet searches and I can't come up with a definite answer. Some sites say it was the swift takeover by the Germans in WWII and others say it's because immigrants to America didn't speak much English. No immigrant speaks much English. Can anyone offer some insight on this stereotype? Thanks


Bzibzioh   Oct 19, 2008, 08:19pm /  #2
It started in 19 century when a lot of poor uneducated Polish peasants (like most people in every other country in Europe at that time) immigrated to USA. They were most visible cos they come in greatest number. So they were an easy target. And every country need a village’s idiot so here we have it.

z_darius   Oct 19, 2008, 10:59pm /  #3
Curiouspole:

Some sites say it was the swift takeover by the Germans in WWII and others say it's because immigrants to America didn't speak much English.


None of the above.

Germans do hold a lot or responsibility though. In short, jokes are a political tool. Germans have been using it against Poles for a long time. Other Western countries actually deserve the honor of leading fools and intellectually lazy bunch. For centuries few bothered to actually check Poland out. Until about 1945 there was not a serious book on Poland's history, culture, politics outside Western Europe/USA that had not been largely a translation of German sources.

Del boy   Oct 19, 2008, 11:23pm /  #4
z_darius:

Until about 1945 there was not a serious book on Poland's history, culture, politics outside Western Europe/USA that had not been largely a translation of German sources.

crap not true

z_darius   Oct 19, 2008, 11:29pm /  #5
Del boy:

crap not true

pretty short response, so it must be true :)

Bratwurst Boy Edited by: Bratwurst Boy    Oct 20, 2008, 02:15am /  #6
z_darius:

Germans do hold a lot or responsibility though.


Del boy:

crap not true


Agreed!

Where are the dumb-russian jokes then? Or the "insert any enemy of the Nazis"-dumb jokes??? Why should the Germans have singled out the Poles and busied themselves with inventing jokes about you?

Conclusion: Crap theory!

Magdalena   Oct 20, 2008, 03:28am /  #7
Bratwurst Boy:

Where are the dumb-russian jokes then?


I am sure there are dumb Czech jokes out there, and dumb Dutch and suchlike. The thing is, for some unknown reason people (nations) usually make nasty remarks and jokes only about their immediate neighbours, even if a nation farther afield is making life much more difficult for them!
Even though the Poles were at some point in time plagued by the Swedes or Turks, somehow there are no jokes in Poland about these nationalities, for example. But there are lots of jokes/"funny" remarks about Czechs, though Czechs were usually just a minor irritant politically. That's human nature ;-)

z_darius   Oct 20, 2008, 06:37am /  #8
Bratwurst Boy:

Where are the dumb-russian jokes then? Or the "insert any enemy of the Nazis"-dumb jokes???

Did I say Nazis?

Polonius3   Oct 20, 2008, 07:55am /  #9
Jookes tagretiing diofferent ethnic groups have been as American as apple pie in a multi-ethnic coutnry such as the USA. There were jokes about kikes, dagos, N-words, bohunks, hunkies, krauts, scandihoovians, ukies, camel jockeys, frogs, cannucks, spics, you name it, and Pollack jokes were simply one of many crazes that came and went. Then came the 1968 anti-Semitic purge by Poland's communists. American stand-up comics and otehr entertainers(largely of a certain ethnic persuasaion) couldn't get very well back at Poland's commie regime, so they struck out at Polish Americans who were closest at hand. Proof of this is the fact that such terms as beer, sixpacks, bowling, bingo, etc, (American blue-collar things haivng absolutely nothing to do with Poland) were the stock in trade of such humour. This preoccupation wtih Poles artificially entrenched the Pollack joke, whilst other forms of ethnic humour became politically incorrect.

jonni   Oct 20, 2008, 08:39am /  #10
I come from a place in UK where (according to the 2001 census) 50,000 people are of Polish roots and I've never heard this stereotype. Is it an American thing?

miranda   Oct 20, 2008, 08:42am /  #11
jonni:

Is it an American thing?

excusively:)

Polonius3   Oct 20, 2008, 10:06am /  #12
Strictly an American thing!!! Some examples: What is a Polish seven-course meal? -A pound of kie³basa and a sixpack! What do you call a swimming pool in which Polish girls are swimming? - A Bay of Pigs! (this may not be understood by those who don't rememebr the 1960 US-Soviet standoff over Cuba). How can you tell the bride and groom at a Polish wedding? - They're the only one wearing clean bowling shirts....etc., etc. an nauseam & ad absurdam....

sledz Edited by: sledz    Oct 20, 2008, 10:40am /  #13
Polonius3:

What do you call a swimming pool in which Polish girls are swimming? - A Bay of Pigs! (this may not be understood by those who don't rememebr the 1960 US-Soviet standoff over Cuba).

youre way off on that joke, its not polish women in the pool its supposed to be Cuban women...
What did Poland ever have to do with the Bay of pigs???..Nothing

Thats why JFK was assassinated, because he sent all those soliders just to die.

JFK was the worst president next to Bush

gtd Edited by: gtd    Oct 20, 2008, 10:46am /  #14
Ok. Since Polonius botched it I will pick up the slack.

And first let me say LOT has been one of the best and most pleasant airlines I have ever dealt with (not their call center but the pilots and staff are great).

So a Polish airliner is coming in for a landing...when the pilot touches down he slams on the brakes but quickly sees he isn't going to make it before then end of the runway so he pushes the throttles forward and takes off again JUST before the end.

Three times he goes around and repeats this. On the fourth try he gets the plane stopped right before it runs off into the grass. Sweating and shaking he looks at the copilot and says "My GOD this is the SHORTEST runway I have ever landed on"...the copilot answers "Yeah but look how WIDE it is!!"

BubbaWoo   Oct 20, 2008, 10:48am /  #15
sledz:
youre way off on that joke, its not polish women in the pool its supposed to be Cuban women...


geez

talk about reinforcing the stereotype

sledz   Oct 20, 2008, 10:54am /  #16
BubbaWoo:

geez

talk about reinforcing the stereotype



Its the oldest joke I ever heard, I dont particularly like it but he said it wrong
and it doesnt make sense that way ..thats all:)

BubbaWoo   Oct 20, 2008, 10:56am /  #17
thats exactly my point ;)

gtd Edited by: gtd    Oct 20, 2008, 10:58am /  #18
Agreed...it's a Cuban joke.

One from childhood below (and yeah it's stupid and can be a template for a lot of jokes) but you can't help but laugh when tiny innocent kids tell these things. Then of course you have to correct them as to why it's not nice or proper ;)

"What's invisible and smells like cabbage?"

"Polish farts."

And to show I am equal opportunity.

"What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual."

"What do you call someone who speaks TWO languages? Bilingual"

"What do you call someone who speaks only one language?"

"American"

Polonius3   Oct 20, 2008, 11:37am /  #19
Hey ¦led¼,
In American slang a "pig" can be a cop or a male chauvinist or an ugly girl (Polish: pasztet). College frats used to hold "pig parties" whetere everyone came with the ugliest date they could find. This had nothing to do with Cuba but was deliberately anti-Polish. Since the concept Bay of Pigs was heard constantly in the media back then, some stand-up comic of er, um, let's say Albanian background put two and two together and presto: another "witty" (!?) Pollack joke.

gtd   Oct 20, 2008, 11:41am /  #20
But it makes no sense...and I am American so I am hearing you on the context...because Polish girls were NEVER known as ugly...ever...anywhere. Stupid is a common stereotype...but ugly? No way.

I have heard that joke with Cuban used as it fits the context.

sledz Edited by: sledz    Oct 20, 2008, 11:56am /  #21
Polonius3:

Since the concept Bay of Pigs was heard constantly in the media back then, some stand-up comic of er, um, let's say Albanian background put two and two together and presto: another "witty" (!?) Pollack joke

I suppose, its not a very funny joke anyways?

There are jokes for every nationality in the world, some are funny, some are truly tasteless, yet they still are just jokes. I dont take them personally:)

I must of heard all of them at so point in time, Polish jokes are relativity conservative compare to the racist Black jokes I hear often.

joepilsudski   Oct 20, 2008, 12:26pm /  #22
Where did the stereotype of Polish people being stupid come from?


Curiouspole:

I am not 100% Polish, in fact I'm about every nationality. Every time I mention my great grandmother was Polish, I get the "dumb pollack" remark. Where exactly did it start? I've done so many internet searches and I can't come up with a definite answer. Some sites say it was the swift takeover by the Germans in WWII and others say it's because immigrants to America didn't speak much English. No immigrant speaks much English. Can anyone offer some insight on this stereotype? Thanks


Some of this comes from hostility, some from stupidity, some from jealousy and some from reality.

Bzibzioh   Oct 20, 2008, 02:38pm /  #23
joepilsudski:

Some of this comes from hostility, some from stupidity, some from jealousy and some from reality



What about total ignorance.

Once I was flipping through channels on american TV and I spotted this Paris Hilton show (Simple Life or something) so I decided to check what the fuss was about. She was working on the farm. The farm was disgusting; mud up to the knees and filth everywhere. The owner a typical redneck. In one point he was telling her to take a "polish truck" while indicating a wheelbarrow and move something from one place to another. Paris did not say anyhing.

I was speechless for a while. This moron never meet a Pole in his life, never went outside his state not to mention country, has farm so filthy as I never see in Poland and just making himself feel better at someone’s else expense. Lovely.
Later this channel apologized to polish community in ...polish newspaper. They said they will not re-run this episode. Big deal. They just know Poles will not protest like the others would certainly do.

gtd   Oct 20, 2008, 02:47pm /  #24
The most easily offended culture on the planet is clearly going to be a target.

I swear you can compliment a Pole and they will say "what do you mean by that?!?!"

Seanus   Oct 20, 2008, 02:57pm /  #25
gtd, that was priceless!! Defensive to the max. Quite amusing really.

They are far from stupid tho. They learn complex things from a young age. They just don't reward it. They can be very begrudging as people.

gtd   Oct 20, 2008, 03:03pm /  #26
Yeah I would agree not stupid...but no smarter than other developed countries.

I have also never met a culture so insistent on telling you how smart they are. I know this is another manifestation of the complex they have but it drives me batty having to listen to all these 'studies' about how intelligent they are or how Doda has a genius IQ (sure.....)

Why do they feel the need to be 'better' at everything?

Filios1 Edited by: Filios1    Oct 20, 2008, 03:03pm /  #27
gtd:

because Polish girls were NEVER known as ugly


I met a Chilean man that claimed Polish women were by far the ugliest on the face of the planet. Funniest part of it is, he was vacationing in Greece and kept telling me about some 60+ year old Polish women that he saw bathing in the nude. I believe thats all the proof he needed.
How wrong some people really are...

miranda   Oct 20, 2008, 03:13pm /  #28
gtd:

how intelligent they are or how Doda has a genius IQ (sure.....)

she is not the best example at all:)

Seanus   Oct 20, 2008, 03:17pm /  #29
There is this tendency to talk up such blonde bimbos like Madonna and Sharon Stone. They are hardly my first thoughts when I think of intelligent human beings.

twitch   Oct 20, 2008, 03:18pm /  #30
A stupid person

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