Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Bohunk in the Ivory Tower, Continued

Sarah el Yafi. Facebook

Polonians, including Polish-Americans, often complain about distortions of Polish history and stereotyping of Poles. Polonians have not yet organized to change these distortions and negative stereotyping. A three-part blog post, "The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision," offers a roadmap. Polonians can end the "Bieganski, Brute Polak Stereotype." All that is needed is the will.

One of the steps Polonians will have to take once they decide to take action against the Bieganski stereotype: Polonians will have to decide to support their own scholars.

Fund scholarships and fellowships for students working against the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype.

Organize to socially support Bohunk scholars in the same way that African Americans support African American scholars, Jewish Americans support Jewish scholars, gay rights groups support gay scholars, etc. More on this in the first "Bohunk in the Ivory Tower" blog post.

Employ scholars who have contributed to the fight against the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype.

Make sure that books like "Bieganski" and "The Auschwitz Volunteer" and films like "General Nil" and "Man of Marble" are on syllabi.

Mount effective protest against the use of books like "Maus" to teach the Holocaust.


Many who do not spend time on campuses assume that campuses are places where the objective truth is valued, and where those who discover and speak the objective truth are rewarded.

That is not the case. Politics fashions what can and cannot be said on college campuses. Current politics do not allow the elimination of the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. Rather, they create an environment where that stereotype is necessary to support popular historical revision. Two recent events illustrate this.

According to a youtube video, on October 25, 2012, Grover Furr, a Montclair University professor, to applause, publicly denied atrocities committed by Communists, including Joseph Stalin. That video is visible here.

On November 9, the Jerusalem Post reported that Harvard student Sara el-Yafi protested Harvard's identifying couscous and hummus as Israeli foods in a food court devoted to Israeli foods. Israelis do eat both couscous and hummus. Harvard never identified the foods as exclusively Israeli. Harvard never identified Jews as the inventors of couscous or hummus. Harvard just set up a food court that offered Israeli food and included couscous and hummus, as, indeed, both foods are frequently eaten by Israelis.

Here's the amazing part of this story – Harvard actually publicly apologized for identifying couscous and hummus as Israeli foods. Harvard did not want to offend Arabs.

Remember – a comic book that depicts Poles as pigs is used to teach the Holocaust to young people. That's okay. But offering couscous and hummus on an Israel-themed menu requires a public apology from Harvard to Arabs.

Polonia, if you want to change the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype, you must organize, support each other, and act strategically. You exercise zero influence right now. Hummus is a bigger issue to American colleges than the complete historical rewrites that the Bieganski stereotype facilitates.


  1. Yes, it would be wonderful if there were Polish organizations, and Polonia in general, supporting nationally-conscious Poles in influential positions.

    The sad fact is that, what few Poles there are in influential positions, rarely are they nationally conscious. Those fewer-still who are nationally-conscious tend to stick to "safe" topics such as Polish immigration, and do little or nothing to fight Polonophobia.

  2. Hummusgate speaks volumes about Academe. And reminds us, I hope, that the wisdom of the world is "foolishness" with God.

  3. The "Hummusgate" thing has gotten me frisky...I mean: Harvard 'deeply troubled'. exactely how "deep"? :-D I mean, depth is different.You see:

    In response to el-Yafi’s Facebook protest, which as of Friday had garnered more than 4,500 “likes,”

    THIS is whats important now. Not peace, the strife to end world hunger or the liberation of North Korea,no,this.

    Thank got I have lost my faith in humanity some time ago. But not my sense of complex irony :-D

  4. Political power only rarely arises independent of economic power

  5. "is the ultimate multicultural, multireligious fuck-you in the face of ALL Arabs at once from North Africa to the Levant…"

    She is at Harvard Business School - good luck getting hired Ms. Yafi - I'm sure every employer wants to have an insane, unbalanced psycho on their hands. Of course, she may already have a job with daddy's company and the Harvahhh degree is just to make her look smart

  6. I just added Sarah el Yafi's facebook photo to the top of the blog post. She will have no problem getting any number of jobs.

  7. I don't grudge Sarah el Yafi a wonderful job within Academe if that is what she wants. I hope she finds one. But I hope first of all that she will search for and find her Creator.

    In doing what she did, isn't she simply going along with the rules? Be very Politically Correct all the time, and belong to a Politically Correct minority group, and you will probably succeed.

    I don't blame her for the rules. She didn't make them.

    And while i wouldn't do as she has done - even though I too identify hummus etc as Arabic food (and love it!) - you could say "the grapes are sour anyway", as being a Polonian seems to mean that I am automatically Politically Incorrect ("unter") within American Academe.

    I do note the unfairness, the blatant double standards, but hope we won't blame Sarah - let alone "ALL Arabs" - for it.

    I don't like this "ALL you Poles...(shot Bambi's mother, or whatever)" stuff - and under the terms of the Golden Rule, I must not be treating others in that way.

    The important thing is that this whole rotten system of things on the earth is about to come crashing down as surely as the walls of Jericho did, when Jehovah ordered them to. And we need to be standing clear, not letting "the world" turn us on each other. We are all the children of Adam, all brothers and sisters.

  8. Dear Danusha,by chance, I have stumbled over this here-I am sorry for my rant,but I really have to get this off my chest

    which made me realize that I am, in fact, what they seem to call a Southpark Republican-I really dont like conservatives, but I -censored-ing hate liberals.I have seriously come to despise these self-indulgent do-gooders, these "anti"fascism-is-my-job people, these hippies, who love the whole planet, just in order to not to have to love their neighbours and their "anti"rascism-meaning,its "rascism" or "bigotry" when its directed against a group they consider a worthwile minority. To spill hatred against other groups who are not a minority? Deny them the right to have their deaths commemorated? Thats fine-its "progressive" because it serves the "betterment" of the people they treat like bimbos-they are "white", so its not rascism. We have these people here in Poland,also,unfortunately.They see "rascism" or a looming holocaust in unlikely places (check, courtesy by Soros), they are even trying to use the Holocaust as a kind of "moral fable"- in order to pressure people into accepting the failed idea of multiculturalism (in Europe,it is failed.Just go to Britain,there are ethnic gettos everywhere,especially the fact that "sharia" zones have popped up in Britain should be bothering,even if you are not a "rascist"...). Seriously, I am so very,very disappointed-I thought anti-rascism,humanitarianism,progress and all the jazz such groups keep talking about was actually a serious project! I believe certain people just NEED to look down on others in order to feel important.They NEED to f.e teach Poles,Czechs,Ukrainians and other lesser people how to do things,because they are "enlightened". Like Madonna, who was booed (and rightly so!) in Romania when see started to lecture Romanians about discrimination (I have friends in Romania, so I know that Romanians do not inherently hate Gypsies and Romanian society trying to integrate Gypsies into society-I wonder-If Americans had the problems Romania f.e has-how would they react to people like Madonna?)

    1. I like Southpark Republican.

      I'm a registered Democrat and I used to identify as liberal or leftist or what have you.

      one of these days I will prepare a blog post entitled, "Top Ten Reasons I am no Longer a Leftist."

    2. I suspect that more and more people are not going to bother voting at all.

  9. That would be most delightful to read about.Im looking forward to it :-D

    1. Yes, I'd be interested to know. I think I can guess some of reasons as I have been reading Dr.Goska for some time, but probably some will surprise me - and make me think (whether I agree or not).

      While i am not patriotic, or "proud to be Polish", I continue to resist all attempts by some sections of Academe to get me to denounce and/or despise my dear aged father for being Polish. What I would say now is that I am grateful to have had a Polish father, as it has helped open my eyes to a lot of things, and also reinforced my faith in the Inspired Scriptures.

      We - being "untered" by Political Correctness - get a sharp and personal close-up the double standards of "the world" - and it makes the unchanging, righteous, impartial standards of the God of Abraham shine even more brightly for me.

      And I continue hope it will for all of us.

    2. Hello Hanno,
      Thank You, for posting that link. After reading that article my respect for professor Chodakiewicz has greatly increased.

  10. I don't know how many visitors have read article about prof. Chodakiewicz (Hanna posted a link), but I want to share my thoughts.
    1. Prof. Chodakiewicz writes about Polish-Jewish relations from Polish perspective. It's necessary for dialogue. Without Polish voice dialogue will become a monologue.
    2. Polish history should be writen by Poles. For too long we have been deprived of that right. Minorities will not write our history. Imagine that Native Americans write your history books. That would not be a pleasant book for Americans to read.
    3. In Poland we decide who was a hero and who was not. Foreigners will not make those decisions for us.
    4. In Poland we are the natives. And we will not apologize for the fact that we didin't extinct.
    5. Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. That, and their treatment of Poles makes us a victims. German racial obsession and it's result (Holocaust) is not our fault.
    6. Expectations that all Poles should have helped Jews are an insult to all those who were killed with their families for hidding their neighbours. No one can demand such sacrifice. I wouldn't demand it even from my own brother.
    7. Anti-semitism doesn't define Poles or Polishness. Many Jews were also a good Poles.
    8. Polish history is not just World War II and the Holocaust. It's much longer period than 5 years.
    9. We have the right to mourn our dead. We don't expect or demand from others to do that for us.
    10. Foreigners should educate themeselves before they start educate us. That can spare them embarrassment. Don't get me wrong, sometimes ignorant comment is amusing. When it's coming from a little child, not an adult person.

    1. All ten of these points are excellent.

    2. Hej Lukaszu, no problem!

      Your points are great-we also should start to be proud and to tell people so.I always speak -gasp- the truth about Poland. I always point out who the culprits were.Who the heroes were.Making fun of the purported "greatness" of "Western European" culture (which is on the decline).This, we need to teach our kids,talk to our friends to over a beer XD There is one African saying I really think of:Many small people, who in many small places, do many small things, can alter the face of the world."

  11. Great points by all and thanks to Danusha for pointing it all out. I don't want to let it go by, for lack of time, to say I appreciate what is being said here. Good points too by Hanna on US politics, or what passes for it. Young Republicans do scare me a bit but the other side is just sad. Worst part is, these days the young Left never has to grow up.

  12. And, as ever, I will add that Polonia is a contributor to the Nut House of Academia, because Polonia is not doing what it could do to support its own scholars and tell its own story in a way that would be heard by anyone other than a narrow chauvinist.

    Sorry, folks. We are contributing to this with our refusal to buy books, to organize, to strategize, to support our own scholars, etc

  13. Polonia is just people who need to realize that they can make a difference by being involved. Most Polish Americans, like most people (see the numbers on people voting/being involved in any election, have been taught to let what is be.

    As my mom used to say--that's the problem.

    If you or I are unhappy, we need to get loud and complain.

    I know you are doing your part. Now others have to step up and start yelling and pointing.

    Here's my vote for being annoyed! And telling the world.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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