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What is the reason for POLISH jokes ?

Wielgolewski     Feb 22, 2007, 07:13pm  #

I am wondering what the reasons might be, for jokes about Polish people ? We've all heard jokes like: "How many Polish people does it take to screw in a lightbulb ?" or something similar, that suggests Polish people are lacking in intelligence.

I never understood why Polish people are looked at in this manner. I've always known most Polish people to be good people. People who take pride in their jobs, family, church, homes....and work hard to create better opportunities for their children.

Seems like society has created some stereotypes for a lot of different ethnic backgrounds. Some good....some not so good. Some EXAMPLES: Jews are often looked upon as money mizers, Irish sometimes as drunks, Mexicans sometimes as FAT....stupid & lazy, but I would disagree, because just look at all the Mexicans that work very hard in the fields in America, picking crops that most people don't want to pick. Blacks as good dancers (good stereotype) or sometimes not very good with managing money...paying bills (negative stereotype).

I read somewhere that during the German invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, the Germans rolled in to Poland in TANKS, while Polish troops tried to fend them off on horseback. The article claimed this was 1 basis for sterotype. I remember a nice old Polish lady down the street, when I was a kid.......who used to keep her front yard immaculately clean. She would even walk up and down the street, with a broom....sweeping where needed. Sounds a bit odd, but she took great pride in her neighborhood. We used to chuckle as kids. Surely stories about old Polish ladies sweeping entire streets can't be the reason. So tell me, what is the REAL REASON for THE POLISH JOKES !

shewolf Threads: 5
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  ♀   Feb 22, 2007, 08:19pm  #

A Polish man told me that Polish jokes started in America because the Polish immigrants who came here were those who didn't know how to read or write. I don't know how true that is.

szarlotka Threads: 13
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  ♂   Feb 23, 2007, 10:13am  #

Minorities get jokes made about them - it's just an extension of play ground bullying.

It's not fair, it's ungrounded but it's life

shewolf Threads: 5
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  ♀   Feb 23, 2007, 10:29am  #

Quoting: Benjamin Spychaj
Sometimes they really piss me off and I am tempted to go Polack and throw them out the window.


What does "to go Polack" mean? I mean, did he just make that up or is that a common saying? It sounds like to "go Postal", which means to go crazy. It was created after postal workers all over the US began shooting people at their work places for no reason.

Babylon Threads: 25
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  ♂   Feb 23, 2007, 12:33pm  #

Well in US Jews don't like Poles:)

erg     Feb 23, 2007, 12:49pm  #

Quoting: shewolf
A Polish man told me that Polish jokes started in America

They started polish jokes because Poles coldn`t defend themselfs. They were living behind "iron curtain" for long time and there was no freedom of speach. Now it is a different story. And everyone can see, that idiots are everywhere. And I mean people who tell polish (?) jokes.
P.S. Some people call these jokes german, italian, canadian, russian etc.

daffy Threads: 36
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  ♂   Feb 24, 2007, 09:03am  #

Ah lads - how about the irishman jokes? :) its the same thing - though today, most people tht tell the irishman jokes are irish :)

paddy irishman, paddy englishman and paddy scots man....(it usually starts - but the key is the dumbest paddy (nick for irishman) is always paddy irishman!)

Its just a bit of fun in our case and we dont take it seriously. but in some cases, sure, it is ignorant and can be hurtful (im speaking now about the posts above in reference to Polish jokes)

But i think if the polish can laugh at themselves, these jokes wont be so malicious

GrandeSande Threads: 2
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  ♀   Feb 24, 2007, 02:57pm  #

This is just such a remark that gets the ball rolling and becomes a stereotype. Not ALL US Jews hate Poles.
Polish jokes probably began by a person with a dislike or bias towards Polish people.
I have heard the same jokes told about other ethnicities, just insert the nationality you have a bias against.

Lilu Threads: 4
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  ♀   Nov 24, 2007, 06:57pm  #

Quoting: GrandeSande
Polish jokes probably began by a person with a dislike or bias towards Polish people


Thats very true, but thats how all things that are negative get started.

El Gato Threads: 9
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  ♂   Nov 24, 2007, 07:08pm  #

Quoting: shewolf
I don't know how true that is.


They didn't know how to read or write in English. They could read and write perfectly in Polish, in most cases, but sadly many (not all) Americans think that if you can't do something the American way you are stupid.

You have no idea how much $hit I get from people because my name is not spelled the English way. They think my parents were retarded, but then after I explain everything they feel retarded because they just then realised that not everyone in the world speaks English.

Quoting: peterweg
how Polish have small penises

They get that because of the evil Smith's company. They created "lil smokies" and suddenly everyone from Poland eats small sausage and has a small penis. Throw down some sausage straight from the home country and they don't know wtf it is.

Quoting: peterweg
Ha, that's easily disproved.

Too true...


Most jokes about Polish people started as war propoganda. Nazis started saying Poles were stupid and etc. Then one time we charged tanks with horses and swords according to some idiots.

Eurola Threads: 5
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  ♀   Nov 24, 2007, 11:05pm  #

Have any of you been to a real polish party, where everybody is polish? There is always at least one person who can tell jokes, big time, a comedian wannabe...Ah, the jokes you could hear then! And, yes - they are mostly "substitute any nationality" jokes and a lot of regional polish jokes. You have to know the region to really get the joke. The few polish jokes i heard are mostly really stupid and shallow, some malicious with no sense. It makes me think they came from 'polonophobe" :) and they are just made up.

z_darius Threads: 17
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  ♂   Nov 24, 2007, 11:38pm  #

Ethnic jokes are a political tool. The mechanism is simple:

Most people have sympathy for the oppressed but few have sympathy for fools. Since the West took most of its information from German sources (until a few years after WW2 that included history "studies" of Poland) so this is not surprising. Polish jokes in the US are mainly of German origin too. The second largest (at one time) ethnicity in the US were Germans, aka Pennsylvania Dutch (which is really English/American inability to tell Deutsch from Dutch) were at the root of the jokes.

After WW2 Polish jokes were perpetuated eagerly by... Polish Jews. Their struggle for the sympathy of the World is no secret (see The American Holocaust by Kent Kelly, or Ellie Wiesel's approach to Gypsies' plight during WW2), so jokes were a logical choice that helped put Poland as a country to be ridiculed rather than helped and sympathised with.

Similar scenario occured in the UK, where Irish and Scottish jokes presented the Irish and Scotts as fools and drunks, rather as those who were dominated by invading English forces.

There.

Polanglik Threads: 39
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  ♂   Nov 25, 2007, 05:29am  #

Quoting: shewolf
Polish jokes started in America because the Polish immigrants who came here were those who didn't know how to read or write.


this is what I was told ......

Americans make jokes of Poles, the same way English make jokes of the Iriish !

DumbYankee71 Threads: -
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  ♂   Nov 25, 2007, 02:20pm  #

I'm part Slovakian, we get jokes about being a dumb "hunkie" etc. At lleast my grandfather did, especially in Cleveland. He had a good job though. Solution : Who gives a damn, get over it. You have a lot of Nobel winners , right?

Actually, you don't hear dumb Polack jokes as much any more, seemed like it was more prevalent in the 70's and 80's.

The Irish get it worse maybe, but they think it's funny when people compare them to being drunk a lot. Guiness actually had a St. Pat's commercial where 20 somethings wake up on St. Pats day and open presents of booze as if it was Christmas with green wrapping paper. This was a national campaign and there was no backlash.

DumbYankee71 Threads: -
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  ♂   Nov 25, 2007, 02:31pm  #

Quoting: z_darius
invading English forces
Yes, good insightful post..

The English don't like anybody, but they're usually kind of passive aggressive about it. When I went to Europe and rode the trains I would meet Germans , Austrians, Italians, Aussies and they would chat me up. (Italians , Aussies were the most friendly though, joke around a lot). Not the English though. Haha..They don't hate anybody as much as the Americans nowadays.

However, I don't think they like themselves that much either. Oh well, life goes on.

Puzzler Threads: 11
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  ♂   Edited by: Puzzler  Nov 25, 2007, 04:46pm  #

Quoting: DumbYankee71
The English don't like anybody


- I've been travelling in England for a long time, and never noticed that. On the contrary, I've noticed tolerance for different nations that is simply beyond compare. I wonder why is it the English who so often get vilified? One of the most decent peoples ever. To me, the English and Irish are the best, most good-hearted peoples I've ever met (I haven't met many Scottish, but those I've met were also decent people; of course I won't generalise about the Scottish based on the hateful utterances of the half-illiterate psychopath, allegedly from Glasgow, calling himself 'noimmigration'). Are you expressing the American stereotype of the English in your post, DumbYankee? Is that what the Americans say about them?

Puzzler Threads: 11
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  ♂   Edited by: Puzzler  Nov 25, 2007, 05:21pm  #

Quoting: Polanglik
this is what I was told ......

Americans make jokes of Poles,


- In reality, it's the American Jews who have been mainly responsible for the spread of these extremely hateful slurs called incorrectly 'Polish jokes.' The main - and bestselling author - of collections of these slurs is a Jewish American 'comedian,' Larry Wilde. See crude 'jokes' by the likes of Bette Midler, Jerry Lewis, Woody Allen. Also, see: 'Ethnic Humour Around the World' by Davies (don't confuse with Norman Davies). What is the reason for 'Polish jokes'? - Hatred of the Poles and desire to hurt them.

JohnP Threads: -
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  ♂   Nov 26, 2007, 12:50am  #

It's just a hunch really, as the jokes started long before I was born, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if the jokes were invented by mill workers to make fun of other mill workers, let alone children on the playgrounds at school...I and I'm sure many others on here have been the brunt of either "Dumb Polak" jokes or some similar on many occasions. It has nothing to do with you being Polish, or of Polish decent, nor does it have anything to do with quite a few things. I think people simply pick a target, and invent something that will upset that person-creating great fun for the other coworkers, at his/her expense. In school I was one of 3 people in the county with a Polish name-so I've heard ALL the jokes. After joining the Navy I got the "dumb redneck" jokes because I grew up in a rural area in the Southern U.S.....it isn't just Polish people who get teased. A teacher at one of my schools had to send her son a picture of their house, because his coworkers (he was a nuclear power engineer) thought he no doubt lived in a tar-paper shack or perhaps a run-down trailer.
Some people hate Polish people I'm sure, but I think it more likely started as one specific worker or student trying to upset another specific worker or student, for a laugh.
Which is why all the "Polak" jokes work just as well as "Italian" jokes or (choose nationality/origin/race/creed of your choice).
Anyway I'm rambling, but it's just a hunch.

Puzzler Threads: 11
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  ♂   Edited by: Puzzler  Nov 26, 2007, 02:27am  #

Quoting: JohnP
I wouldn't be surprised at all if the jokes were invented by mill workers to make fun of other mill workers, let alone children on the playgrounds at school...


- An interesting theory, but any proof to show it's good?


Quoting: JohnP
It has nothing to do with you being Polish, or of Polish decent


- But, strangely enough, the 'jokes' are about Poles, and they ridicule anything Polish, including Polish descent.

Quoting: JohnP
Which is why all the "Polak" jokes work just as well as "Italian" jokes


- So-called Italian, Jewish, Irish, etc. 'jokes' in America aren't one thousandth as nasty as so-called Polish 'jokes.' Read one of Larry Wilde's collections of these slurs. He also published collections of Italian, Irish and Jewish 'jokes' - compare them with 'Polish' ones, and you'll see the difference. Nazi German stereotypes of the Jews are piece of cake compared to the Jewish 'comedian's' stereotypes of the Poles. It's hate propaganda of the most vicious kind.

Puzzler Threads: 11
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  ♂   Nov 26, 2007, 02:38am  #

Quoting: daffy
Ah lads - how about the irishman jokes? its the same thing - though today, most people tht tell the irishman jokes are irish


- Daffy, the 'Irish jokes' aren't one thousandth as nasty as the 'Polish' ones. In the latter Polish people are compared to excrement, Polish children are compared to the s...t that cats bury in sand, etc.

sledz Threads: 26
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  ♂   Nov 26, 2007, 03:11am  #

come on puzzy, what country dont you hate?

cyg Threads: 5
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  ♂   Nov 26, 2007, 03:39am  #

Quoting: El Gato
They didn't know how to read or write in English. They could read and write perfectly in Polish, in most cases,

I wouldn't be so sure - AFAIK the idea that Poles were stupid started in the late 19th and early 20th century, around the same time as the idea that the Irish were stupid, that Italians were stupid, that... well, you get the idea. However, as to their reading and writing skills, considering that these were mainly uneducated peasants (not just the Poles, mind you) this may have played a role.
I remember Polish jokes still being pretty popular in the early 1980s. When I left the States in the mid-90s, you hardly heard them any more - by that time traditionally "Polish" US cities were flooded with new "political" immigrants, who were generally highly educated intellectuals, and hardly fit the "stupid Polack" stereotype. Pope John Paul II and the Solidarity movement's successes didn't hurt, either.

JohnP Threads: -
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  ♂   Nov 26, 2007, 03:40pm  #

Quoting: Puzzler
- So-called Italian, Jewish, Irish, etc. 'jokes' in America aren't one thousandth as nasty as so-called Polish 'jokes.' Read one of Larry Wilde's collections of these slurs. He also published collections of Italian, Irish and Jewish 'jokes' - compare them with 'Polish' ones, and you'll see the difference. Nazi German stereotypes of the Jews are piece of cake compared to the Jewish 'comedian's' stereotypes of the Poles. It's hate propaganda of the most vicious kind.

Trust me, I know they are nasty, and like quite a few others in a similar situation to mine, I've been the target of most of them, and yes, they do hurt. Doesn't mean the person telling the joke has any CLUE about Poland or its culture (to be honest, neither did I, growing up-I just figured my name was a cruel joke to make my life...interesting. I was 24 before I knew what a Pierogi was, as my Grandfather who grew up in Krakow died when I was 7) more importantly usually the person saw something easy to make jokes about, and used that.
As for proof, I can offer nothing only anecdotal evidence-which is why it is a hunch. I've been a student, I've worked in a factory, I've been in many places where this can be seen....
Just curious, when did people tell the first ones? I did not realize this was a specifically American thing...there are lots of possibilities I guess. Doesn't make them nice, but not sure the people telling them actually know anything about Polish people, either-they just know they have someone in front of them, and they know a way to make jokes about him...
Again, just a hunch.

plk123 Threads: 20
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  ♂   Nov 26, 2007, 04:52pm  #

Quoting: Wielgolewski
What is the reason for POLISH jokes ?

have you read any of this forum? lol.. the jokes write themselves all over the place. hahahahahahaha

MediaWatch Threads: 31
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  ♂   Aug 30, 2008, 06:30am  #

Origin of Polish “jokes” came from Nazi German propaganda that was then pushed by Soviet communist sympathizers in Hollywood.

Bratwurst Boy Threads: 8
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  ♂   Aug 30, 2008, 09:12am  #

MediaWatch:

Origin of Polish “jokes” came from Nazi German propaganda that was then pushed by Soviet communist sympathizers in Hollywood.


Any supporting links for that opinion of your's?
Nazi-Germany ridiculed Jews, you don't find sites full with jewish jokes today...

Neither the Nazis nor the Commies developed the "polish jokes"!

MediaWatch Threads: 31
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  ♂   Sep 2, 2008, 11:41pm  #

To Bratwurst Boy,

Yes the Nazis and did develope the "Polish jokes" since it was in two of Hitler's speeches after he invaded Poland. The Nazis felt Poles had subhuman intelligence and then they killed the educated class of Poland first to make their anti-Polish propaganda a "reality".

And the Commie Soviets did use Nazi propaganda against the Polish when it suited them. During the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact Soviet Communists were the biggest collaborators with the Nazis UNTIL the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. Communist sympathizers in Hollywood after WWII pushed subhuman intellligence "jokes" about Poles so that the American people would not have sympathy for the suffering Poles went through at the hands of the Soviet Communists.

I explained all this in my last message but most of it got deleted.

PS Dear Editor why did you delete most of my last posting?

z_darius Threads: 17
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  ♂   Sep 3, 2008, 07:48am  #

Bratwurst Boy:

Nazi-Germany ridiculed Jews, you don't find sites full with jewish jokes today...

Because they would get their rear ends sued off, careers destroyed and they would have to apologize publicly for years to come.

Bratwurst Boy:

Neither the Nazis nor the Commies developed the "polish jokes"!

True. They merely reused the ones created by previous generations of Germans and Russians. Sometimes, when they lacked creativity, they adapted Irish jokes, or even jokes by Poles about Germans or Russians.

Kilkline Threads: 3
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  ♂   Sep 3, 2008, 07:57am  #

Bratwurst Boy:

Neither the Nazis nor the Commies developed the "polish jokes"!


Well the Nazis were German which negated any joke making abilities.




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What is the reason for POLISH jokes ?

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