“Black is Polish”: young black Poles create platform to discuss race in Poland

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2022-02-26 17:09Z by Steven

“Black is Polish”: young black Poles create platform to discuss race in Poland

Notes From Poland

Zula Rabikowska

A year ago, an image of a black Polish girl protesting at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Warsaw helped to rekindle a long-running debate about language, racial identity and stereotypes in Poland. “Stop calling me Murzyn”, read her placard, referring to a Polish term for a black person that many say has come to hold pejorative meaning.

The Council for the Polish Language agreed with them in a recent declaration, saying that the word “Murzyn” “should be avoided in the media, official administration and at schools,” as it is no longer neutral, but “burdened with negative connotations”.

The #dontcallmemurzyn campaign, set up to fight against racial discrimination in the aftermath of the controversy, received domestic and international attention. To continue and broaden the movement’s work, its creators have now set up an educational platform called “Black is Polish”.

They say they hope to make racism a topic people understand and care about, to fight against what they see as deeply entrenched racism and inequality, and to bring about a long-needed transformation of Polish society…

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Poland’s multicultural music landscape: from Afro-Polish folk to Polish jazz from Peru

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Europe, Media Archive on 2022-02-20 03:42Z by Steven

Poland’s multicultural music landscape: from Afro-Polish folk to Polish jazz from Peru

Notes From Poland

Zula Rabikowska

Poland is often depicted as an ethnically homogeneous country, and in some senses it is. Contemporary Polish identity, however, is more complex and diverse than is often represented in the media, and the markers of Polishness are changing.

Historically, Poland was a multicultural country, with a third of its population composed of minorities. That rich legacy is still reflected in contemporary culture, from food to literature and art.

Though the death, destruction and displacement of World War Two ended that ethnic diversity, the postwar era was marked by migrations from fellow communist countries, in particular Vietnam. And in recent years, Poland has recorded one of Europe’s highest rates of immigration

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The Black Lives Matter movement in four E.U. countries

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice on 2021-07-13 22:25Z by Steven

The Black Lives Matter movement in four E.U. countries

Der Tagesspiegel
Berlin, Germany

Andrea Dernbach

Graciously translated from German into English for me by Gyavira Lasana.

Black Lives Still Matter: Dass das Leben Schwarzer Menschen weiterhin zähle, war der leicht variierte Titel einer Demonstration. FOTO: FABIAN SOMMER/DPA

The short summer of BLM—and what remains of it. The results varied, but everywhere #blm influenced the debate on racism, says a European study. A comment.

A year has now come and gone since the protests that drove hundreds of thousands onto the streets after the death of the black US citizen George Floyd—and not just in the USA. In Germany, by the end of July 2020, around 200,000 people had demonstrated against racism in their own country, through police, discrimination in public services and against the gauntlet that is their everyday life for the majority of non-white people.

Forgot everything? The last demonstration at the Brandenburg Gate brought just a thousand people, despite relaxed pandemic regulations. Media interest in “Black Lives Matter” also quickly subsided after initial widespread coverage, as a group of researchers from Germany, Poland, Italy and Denmark who investigated the phenomenon a year later for their respective countries have noted.

But this only seems to be the surface when you read what the social scientists from the German Center for Integration and Migration Research in Berlin, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, the University of Copenhagen and the Polish Academy of Sciences have compiled in interviews with activists, media analysis and on four maps of protest. In all countries, the short #blm summer has made racism as a topic more visible and black voices more audible than ever.

In Poland protest only in the cities

Even if, as quoted in the research report, it had to be made clear to the enthusiastic newcomers that the black movement in Germany has existed for more than forty years and not merely since May 25, 2020. Now having gained momentum and publicity, anti-racism became, according to the report, “like never before a political topic.” Even for Poland, where the protests were relatively small—limited to major cities such as Warsaw, Kraków, Wroclaw and Katowice—and failed to include outrage over government actions against women’s and gay rights, Black Lives Matter nonetheless made racism a public issue.

Particularly interesting is the comparative view of the two countries with both fascist and colonial pasts: In Italy as well as in Germany, the #blm protests reached the whole country, and both movements related racism to their nations’ past. In the media, on the other hand, and possibly beyond there was resistance to the connection of today’s racism with national history. According to the analysis of the team from Florence, even Italy’s left-liberal and left-wing traditional newspapers have dealt with the US protests in far more detail than with those in Europe and Italy. Even the left-wing Il Manifesto has interpreted the slogan “I can’t breathe,” whispered by the dying Georg Floyd, not as a call against anti-black racism but a jingo for the many who suffered from shortness of breath owing to the pandemic, the climate and the economic crisis.

Racism is often that of “others”

In Germany, the news daily Bild had virtually concealed the topic. The narrative that minorities have been wanting to blow up for decades—that racism has been successfully overcome together with fascism and Nazism—still seems resilient. The editors of Bild had decided that a racist status quo in Germany was not something its readership wanted to see, hear, or read. Interestingly, Alle außer mir, Francesca Melandri’s excellent novel about Italy’s racist Abyssinian War against Ethiopia and its consequences sold 70,000 copies in Germany in one year, while selling over the counter just 10,000 times in Italy. Racism is preferably that of others.

The two countries are also far apart in terms of the response of established politics to #blm. In Italy, the momentum seems to have ebbed before reaching the so-called palazzo, or parliament: “At the political-institutional level, we cannot yet see any effects,” says the research report. In Germany, however, even as BLM was less diverse and counted fewer refugees and fewer active people than in Italy, the movement found exactly the right people for German formal democracy: long-established Afro-Germans with the necessary experience in German politics. For example, they participated in the Chancellor’s Cabinet Committee on Right-Wing Extremism and Anti-Racism, and since then there has also been more money committed black programs and projects.

How long the topic of racism endures at the upper levels of institutions cannot readily be determined. As the researchers also write: For a real verdict on #blm in Europe, a look at the one short summer is too short.

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Black/white mixed-race experiences of race and racism in Poland

Posted in Articles, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2020-02-27 02:22Z by Steven

Black/white mixed-race experiences of race and racism in Poland

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online 2020-02-25
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2020.1729390

Bolaji Balogun
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Presidential Fellow in Ethinicty and Inequalities
University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

Whilst literature on race and ethnicity in Poland is growing, it has yet to fully grapple with the diverse range of racial identities in Poland. Simultaneously, despite calls for Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) to develop into a more global field, there remains a paucity of literature focusing on racial mixedness in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and no substantive consideration of the lived experiences of mixed-race people in Poland. Taking these absences as our entry point, we bring Critical Mixed Race Studies into conversation with pieces of literature on race and ethnicity in Poland in order to extend the theoretical and empirical terrain of both fields. Drawing upon data from interviews conducted with black/white mixed-race people in Poland, this article casts light on the lives of this nascent group, and specifically on their experiences of racism and exclusion in a society imagined as homogenously white.

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Even though I felt a strong tie to my roots in Poland, my physical appearance often deceived me in such a homogeneous country.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-12-12 14:31Z by Steven

Even though I felt a strong tie to my roots in Poland, my physical appearance often deceived me in such a homogeneous country.

Julia Kitlinski-hong, “When Looks Deceive: Being Biracial in Poland,” Wanderfull, November 14, 2016. http://www.sheswanderful.com/2016/11/14/biracial-chinese-polish-american-racism-krakow-poland/.

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When Looks Deceive: Being Biracial in Poland

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive on 2016-12-11 21:21Z by Steven

When Looks Deceive: Being Biracial in Poland


Julia Kitlinski-hong
San Francisco, California

It was a late December evening and my mom had just arrived in Krakow, where I had been studying for the past three months. We were making our way from my apartment to where she was staying in the nearby city center.

As we approached the Main Square, a group of rowdy young men approached us.

It happened in a brief second, but their words were unmistakably clear.


It lingered in the shadows of the street long after they disappeared down the road…

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