Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Semi-Ivy League Professor Speaks Truth; Blogger Faints. Coach K, Political Correctness, and Polak Stereotypes

Political Correctness is A-OK with the Bieganski, Brute Polak Stereotype. An Ivy League scholar can say that Poles are a bunch of ignorant anti-Semites. In fact they've said such things to my face. 

Political Correctness treads lightly around African Americans. Shelby Steele's book "White Guilt" is a priceless commentary. You can read my review here

Recently Professor Jerry Hough of Duke, a school considered to be in the "Ivy League Plus" group, was raked over the Politically Correct coals for saying that the New York Times was not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about race and the Baltimore riots that involved the torching of a CVS drug store and the looting of condoms. 

Hough commented on the NYT website that "Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration." 

And Hough was raked over the coals. 

Hough did not back down. "I am strongly against the obsession with ‘sensitivity,' The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident. I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. 

The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as ‘colored.’ 

Coach K did not obsess with all the Polish jokes about Polish stupidity. He pushed ahead and achieved. And by his achievement and visibility, he has played a huge role in destroying stereotypes about Poles. Many blacks have done that too, but no one says they have done as well on the average as the Asians."

I love it. Hough mentioned that which Political Correctness renders unmentionable: that many groups in the US have faced discrimination and stereotyping, and that many groups, like Polish-Americans, Slovak-Americans, and other Bohunk Americans, survived, thrived, and overcame through their own hard work with not one ounce of help from Political Correctness. 

Professor, we, Polonia, salute you. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"My Memories are More Complex"

Photo source
My facebook friend Andrew Schonberger posted a poignant reminiscence about his life in Romania, where he no longer lives. Andrew's reminiscence is below:


Padiș, Munții Apuseni – the Western Mountains of Romania. This photo was posted today, and it gets lots of Likes and admiring exclamations. My memories are more complex.

We sat on this very spot, in 1968, admiring the sunset with my classmate. We walked the whole day to get to the area, and we pitched our tent on the flat campsite seen below. Then we climbed the small hill from where this photo was taken. We were both 17.

My classmate asked me a few times if I liked the view. He was very intellectual, sensible, refined. He was well read, and interested in history. I sensed he was uneasy, and there was something he didn't know how to tell me. But our friendship was close enough to allow for sensitive subjects.

Finally, he took the courage to tell me among deep excuses: all the available literature stated that Jews were genetically unable to love their homeland. They could never admire the sunset, and were indifferent to natural beauty. Yet, here I was, his Jewish classmate and I enjoyed the scenery just as much as he did.

I wouldn't call this antisemitism. More like a clash between tradition and reality. I repeat, this was my best friend at the time, and I still don't doubt his sincere intentions. He died some time ago.

Also today, my FB friend Danusha Goska mentioned Shenandoah River. I know that name from John Denver "Take me home, country road". Ten years ago, I came upon a live video recording of that song. Just when the public starts to sing along, the musician stops, looks straight to the camera, and says: "You don't need to know where West Virginia is. Somewhere in the world, there is a country road to take you home."

To be sure, it was a simple PR trick to widen the audience. But John Denver still said it, and I realised no one ever told me anything like this before. I was 50+ and I felt grateful.

I would call what Andrew experienced antisemitism. It's an anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews don't feel attached to their homelands and don't appreciate nature. I certainly encounter these stereotypes when reading about Polish-Jewish relations. I'm sorry that this happened to Andrew. I asked his permission to share this story and he kindly granted it.

Andrew's story occurred in 1968, the year of an anti-Semitic campaign in Poland. You can read about that here.

Reading Andrew's brief, sad, and poignant anecdote, I can't help but think of Julian Tuwim's "We Polish Jews," which you can read here