Stereotypes about Poles

Posted on 14. Jul, 2012 by in Countries, Culture, Geography, History, traditions

A lot of people all over the worlds have a negative feeling about Polish people, but not only. Now, I may need your help here…I will write about things I heard, but if there is something else you may know or think of – let us know in comments!

First of all, Polish people are thought to be a lazy nation ( I obviously do not agree – I think we are really hardworking – with exceptions of course)

Secondly others say that Poles are unfair.

Polish people are very religious – Catholics.

Lots of people use to say that: “Pole can do everything well if he only wants to”. Polish people are handy and skilful then.

Poles are sociable and love parties.

Poles are taken as brave (love freedom), patriotic and nationalistic.

Poland is a home of Solidarity which had a great share in subverting the communistic system.

Poland is believed to be a poor country (not exactly true though…)

The most famous stereotype, which unfortunately became a kind of pervert is “to drink (alcohol) like Pole”.

According to this: Polish farmers are believed to work very hard on their farms and because of cold climate they have to drink vodka to get warmer.

Polish people speak difficult language.

Another feature is bribery and corruption.

Europeans consider Polish kitchen to be unique and healthy.

The nicest stereotype concerns kissing when they greet people. Poles are hospitable.

Polish people are said to be fond of color clothes.

People in the whole world think that Poles are prejudiced about Jews and black people. Also in Poland there are hooligans who attacking foreigners.

Poles are said to be thieves. Especially in the area of theft cars. There is even a joke: If your car was stolen, you should go to Poland. It surely would be there.

Polish jokes are quite popular.

Polish people are truthly attached to their traditions.

All in all, there are many stereotypes about Polish people but we should take it with a pinch of salt.

However, we also have to remember that there is an element of truth in every saying.

So what is true?

Polish people are very patriotic – they love their country and they have unbelievable sense of pride. We can see it on the 2nd World War example.

Ninety-five percent of Poles describe themselves as religious people. Poland is a Catholic country and Pope – John Paul the 2nd who is believed to be a great authority comes from Poland.

That is true that Polish people are handy and skilful. They are good builders, mechanics; they are good with their hands.

Poles are sociable and they just love to party. And it is true that Polish people are drinking Vodka or even “Spirit” (95%) from time to time – especially on parties. They like to celebrate everything with alcohol.

Anywhere you will go, anybody you will talk to will tell that Poles are hospitable, always take care about their guests, they are nice and kind. They like to say: ”Guest at home – God at home”.

Polish people remember about their traditions.

Poland is rich in traditions. They organize a lot of festivals and holidays. Poles love good food, they like to play, sing and dance.

The reason for holiday can be for example: the opening of the tourist season in mountains – holiday of the Queen of Dunajec

The most attached to traditions are Polish country people. Every region has its own traditions – for the special occasions people were the colourful folk clothes. The most famous are Kaszub’s and Mountain’s people.

Poles were building their traditions for over 1500 years.

Polish people speak difficult language.

About Polish food.

Of course Poland like every country has its own traditions. Poles have quite different times of meals. Breakfast at 7-8 o’clock. They don’t have lunch – just a snack and about 2 o’clock usually they eat the main meal of a day – dinner. It usually consists of 2 dishes: first course – the soup and the main course. The supper is about 7 o’clock.

Quite a common dish in the morning is cornflakes with milk, different type of sandwiches and toasts, cold cuts and cheeses.

About the main courses: well known in Europe is Hunter’s Bigos and Schabowy – cutlet with tomatoes and vegetables.

They say in Poland: the way to a human is by the stomach.

Polish food has good reputation with foreign visitors.

What aspects aren’t true?

Most of the stereotypes about Poles are untrue and very wrongful.

Foreigners say that Polish people are poor. It’s false. They are not very rich nation but they aren’t poor. If you go there you will notice that Polish People have new and expensive cars such as: BMW, Mercedes, Audi…and others. They have modern houses. Even some of the Germans says that in Poland people have a better standard at home than in some European Union countries.

What is true – that is quite difficult to find good and a well-paid job even if somebody is well-educated.

Another thing is: Polish people are not thieves!!! Due to a few thieves behaviour we can’t say it about all nation!!!

It must be said that Poles are tolerant toward immigrants with different backgrounds.
Poland is a very open country!

As for bribery and corruption…unfortunately true, although it is getting better in recent years!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

About Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business at the University of Warsaw. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with her Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they was born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.

2 Responses to “Stereotypes about Poles”

  1. edward pindral 18 July 2012 at 2:11 am #

    “A lot of people all over the worlds have a negative feeling about Polish people”

    If you continue to write these negative things people will start believing you, I don’t want to be one of them.

  2. Henry 18 July 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    There exist negative stereotypes against groups of people the world over. My parents were born in Poland, and I’ve heard all sorts of Polish jokes growing up in the United States. The jokes did bother me when I was younger, but I’ve substantially changed my reaction to negative comments about Polish people since then. If I hear negative comments made, I can choose to enlighten the person with facts to counter the stereotype, or, more frequently, determine at an early stage, that the person who made the comments is profoundly ignorant, and not worth the time or effort to engage with. There is a secondary issue relating to negative Polish stereotypes that manifests itself in the United States, and that’s the situation of non-native people from a lower, per capita GDP-country working in the United States, when the United States isn’t in a great economic situation itself. A percentage of United States citizens propagate numerous negative stereotypes upon these non-native workers, for two primary reasons: a) their individual economic situation has decreased significantly, and the idea of one non-native worker working at a job a native citizen could be doing is extremely unpalatable b) their previous way of life, and future security has been irrevocably altered, so that they fight passionately in an area where they perceive they might be able to control, such as immigration. The same thing happens in Europe, with Polish workers experiencing a similar backlash in the Western European countries.

    Ignorance will never be eradicated in certain people, so I don’t see the value in an approach of creating a list of negative stereotypes, and then using that list to educate the misinformed with a more balanced perspective. Change in people’s perceptions will only take place when they have positive experiences with the maligned ethnic group. And, even then, not everyone will change their ignorant viewpoint.


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