QUIZ: From the two photos, below, select the photo of an alleged anti-Semite:
Ron Schiller, NPR Executive source
Polish peasants source
One of the arguments of "Bieganski": power elites exploit the Brute Polak stereotype as a scapegoat. "We," the power elites insist "are not and could never be so debased, so low, so animal, as to be racist, white supremacist, or anti-Semitic. We are modern atheists, not old-fashioned religious kooks; we are well-educated, not ignorant peasants; we are evolved, not animalistic. Look to low, poor, dirty, poor, manual laborers, peasants, 'bitter clingers,' for racism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism. We have solved all that, and we are beyond it."
Ironically, the power elites' exploitation of the Bieganski stereotype to scapegoat Poles and other poor, relatively powerless, underclasses is parallel to arguments advanced by the very people who gave us Scientific Racism, which reached its demonic nadir in Nazism, as chapters three and chapter seven of "Bieganski" show.
One tragic expression of this perverted, but very popular, worldview was the number of people who insisted that Germany could never harm the Jews because "Germany is clean, modern, secular, scientific, advanced! Such people could never do anything really bad! Surely the Germans are nothing like the ignorant, backward, Catholic, medieval peasants who are really responsible for all the trouble in the world!" One reads sentences like this again and again, from memoirs of the rich and powerful who made the decisions that allowed Hitler to get and keep power, to the memoirs of Jews who were certain than modern, educated, Germans would never hurt them.
There is a parallel in America. When Americans speak of white supremacy, they, even in the word choices they make, blame poor whites, rather than power elites. When Americans, even in jest, voice white supremacist world views, they often unconsciously adopt a Southern accent. They condemn white supremacists as "rednecks," "trailer trash," and "white trash." All these terms specifically target the poor. "Redneck" refers to the back of the neck burned by the sun on those farm laborers who worked hours out in the field. "Trailer trash" refers to people too poor to afford conventional housing. "White trash" refers to those whites in the South, often sharecroppers, just a step above blacks in the social hierarchy, who were too poor to be part of the ruling class. When we use these words, we unquestioningly accept, we invest in, the elite's self-serving lies about the poor.
Recently a member of the American power elite was caught on hidden camera expressing views that sound to many like anti-Semitism. The stereotype of an anti-Semite is a Polish peasant. Ron Schiller, an NPR executive, is no peasant, no Pole, and no friend of Christianity. He makes, and accepts without protest, some questionable statements about Jews, all the same. Video