Saturday, April 30, 2011

Race, Gender and the Media 4/25

We've been discussing, in class, about how the media portrays illegal immigration. Most illegal immigrants, but not all, are hispanics. The portrayal of hispanics have been that all hispanics are illegal, drug dealers and wife beaters. Obviously, this is just caused from ignorance and the media putting these kinds of ideas into the minds of Americans. The media portrayal of hispanics reminds me a lot of what my people, the Polish, went through in the 1970s. That is where I want to take this blog.

The media always likes to create racism towards ethnic groups. Have you ever heard of a Polish joke? I bet everyone has. It's understandable that people in the south haven't really heard of Polish jokes because there aren't a lot of Polish people in the south. A lot of racist jokes originally come from Polish jokes. Here's a little history.

Polish jokes are the longest running jokes in this country, longer than any other race or even Aggie jokes. (Crazy, I know!) Polish people are considered dumb (usually called a Polak) and dirty. There are a couple of theories of where the Polish jokes originated. One of these theories is that, when everyone was immigrating in the early 1900's, people maintained their "old-world" ideology. With this, came hatred towards Poles. Poland is considered a weak country because it has been owned by every country around it at some point in history. The other theory is that, because Slavic is such a hard language to speak, Polish-Americans had a hard time learning English creating the idea that they are dumb.

The media loved Polish jokes/stereotypes and in the 1970's, people started to regularly say and use them. Classic stereotypes are that Polish people love sausage, the Pope John Paul II, polka music, and bowling.
Here are some websites that contain Polish jokes. What I find interesting is the explanation that some of these websites contain in order to excuse their behavior.

I think you get the picture. Why is it still okay to say Polish jokes? Supposedly, the word Polack, Pollack, or Pole doesn't mean a real person anymore, but "only the individuals described in the jokes themselves."

I'm not saying that I agree with illegal immigration. I think that everyone should go through the same process to become an American citizen and that means applying for citizenship. What I don't agree with is stereotyping ethnicity's and creating racial views or hatred. Like the Polish, the Hispanics are being grouped into these stereotypes that only apply to a small minority. The worst part is, once people start saying racial jokes and create these stereotypes in their minds, they have a hard time letting them go. This in the end, creates a hatred towards people who are hard working and just trying to start a new life.

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