Stereotypes in Polish Culture
Prejudices, stereotypes, hostile attitudes - they are all derived from a source. Some of them may ring true while some can make no sense. Still others are the result of historical or social events, not just part of someone’s imagination. In this article we will discuss these phenomena in terms of Poland’s relationships with some European countries. We will try to explain where the opinions come from, whether they can be regarded as true or not and how they have affected our cooperation with those countries. In addition to politics, we will also mention daily life, during which some prejudices can be damaging.
The main focus in this article is on the Polish-Russian, Polish-Czech and Polish-Hungarian relations and stereotypes which derive from them. The reasons for choosing those three countries were different. Many Poles hear about Hungary and their friendly attitude towards Poland thus we were curious to see where it derives from. We decided to write about Russia because our history seems rather complicated and we often hear similar opinions about them and Poles from foreigners. The Czech Republic was chosen for the opposite reasons – they are our neighboring country, although we do not know much about them. We will aim to explain political situations, social relationships and concentrate on certain historical events which changed or shaped the way we view these countries and affected their opinion about us - Poles. However, it is best to start with explaining what a stereotype is. A number of researchers have long been trying to account for it, although there is still a relative lack of a satisfactory definition. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is “a set idea that people have about what someone or something is like, especially an idea that is wrong” (Stereotype, 2020). According to Cardwell (cf. Walas, 1995), a stereotype is a fixed, overgeneralized belief about a particular group or class of people.
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