Monday, October 5, 2015

Bieganski in a Few Seconds

Was chatting on Facebook and friend Lyle S Henretty posted the following anecdote. It's really brief. In this brief anecdote, he says much about how stereotyping works.

People think that they don't hold stereotypes, but someone says something and it surprises them. They realize that they do hold stereotypes.

"Danusha, your comment about stereotyping Poles triggered a memory I'd like to share. I was in college and law school in the late 60s. Polish jokes were all the rage, and I laughed at them and told them. Then one day I saw a report on the evening news about a Polish scientist who had just made an important discovery. In little more than a couple seconds I first was surprised at the news that it was a discovery made by a Pole, then was shocked at my surprise, and then realized the jokes had worked on me, had convinced me that Poles were slow, dull-witted. I was ashamed. I eventually decided to stop telling jokes that were at someone else's expense."

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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.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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