Discrimination and Ethnic Groups: Polish-Americans
Understanding Polish Immigration
Poland’s unique past is littered with oppression, servitude, and foreign rule over and over again. The land was fought over by many countries during the 1800’s and subsequently was annexed and divided. The primary conquerors included Russia, Austria, Prussia, and later Germany. (Buffalo Department of Education,). There were many smaller country’s nationals who descended upon Poland and mixed with the nationals, seizing land and jobs. This included The Ukraine, Lithuania, Belorussia, Latvia, not to mention Jews, Tartars, and small groups of gypsies. At the end of the 18th century Poland basically no longer existed as the rival surrounding countries split this land and claimed it as a part of their domain. Finally in 1918 Poland achieved independence and re-emerged as a country under Communist rule (Jones, n.d.). These events led the Eastern Europeans to view the Poles as low-class, bohemian, even non-whites, who were beneath them in education, social status, and economics. It is understandable that this sentiment stigmatized the immigrating Poles as they arrived on America’s shores, seeking political democracy, good jobs, and a piece a land. Expecting a better life they often faced prejudice and problems in America. Assimilation
According to (),“Many of their neighbors viewed Poles as rowdy, disorganized, ignorant, filthy, and prone to drunkenness and sloth. Polish immigrants were subjected to spitting, name-calling, physical violence and the other abuses” (Jones, n.d., para. 15). Despite these setbacks, Polish patriots had an easier time assimilating than other non-European groups, such as Asians. This assimilation was only surface due to their strong cultural, ethnic, and religious ties to Poland isolating them from mainstream America. Often the brunt of ethnic jokes, this practice has only died down in the entertainment arena since the late 1980’s. America was...
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