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Friday, February 11, 2011

February in the US

February is Black History Month in the US. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions African Americans have made and continue to make to the US and it's culture. I often think about how I have contributed to the culture of my homeland and during February, I begin to really do an examination.

For me, I strive to be open to other cultures. I so often feel America is kind of cut off from the rest of the world physically. We sit all the way "over there". My idea is to experience as many different cultures as possible in my lifetime and allow myself to be open to them and enjoy the gifts they have to offer. I then hopefully can share my experience of being African American with these other cultures I meet or experience. At present, it is Poland. Never did I think I would be living in Poland ... yet, I am here. I am loving the experience and see so many similarities with American Blacks and Poles. The first one that comes to my mind is how both cultures love good food and good music ... of course, there is the struggle that both cultures have endured.

I suggest we use this month to find the similarities ...


  1. Please keep on with as many observations as you can. Many of us have as much to learn about what a Black American feels being in Poland, as what you feel about Poland and the Polish, being a Black American. This is all great stuff to me.

    To explain further, I feel that one of the fundamental differences between you is that Black Americans rightly see yourselves as part of a society where you are starting to get your proper place, whilst Polish people live within a mythology of cultural struggle that denies to itself that under communist and imperialist structures (apart from the world wars) many/most of the country's leaders in practice were themselves Polish. More than this, the Polish have the luxury that you have not had, to decide its own fate, but yet I feel that you (individually and Black Americans as a group) have greater confidence in yourselves and your future.

  2. I agree with Steve, I really enjoy hearing from someone from this perspective.

  3. Pan Steeva: I agree that we - Poles tend to concentrate too much on martyrdom aspects of our history, and that under communism most people lived as normal lives, as they could, and only a few people were really fighting with the system.

    But I don't understand why nationality of people that were in power under communism matters at all. Even if Gierek or Gomułka would have said "Ok, from now on Poland will be truly independent, USSR troops go out, and we cancel this whole communism bulshit." nothing would change. Real power were in Moscow. And Gierek or Gomułka weren't elected in the first place - elections were rigged from 1945 till 1989. Only option to change the system was another uprising, but after 1944 few were ready to do it again.

    It feels funny, when someone accuses Poles of being pragmatic :) - mostly we are accused of the exact opposite (like for the Warsaw Uprising of 1944).

  4. on October 13, 1783, Kościuszko was promoted by Congress to the rank of brigadier general. He also received American citizenship and a grant of land near present-day Columbus, Ohio, and was admitted to both the prestigious Society of the Cincinnati and the American Philosophical Society. When he was leaving America, he wrote a last will, naming Thomas Jefferson the executor and leaving his property in America to be used to buy the freedom of black slaves, including Jefferson's, and to educate them for independent life and work.