Canadians may claim to be without a distinct culture, but there are a few core elements that comprise Canadian cultural DNA. Political correctness is one of those elements of GATTACA-esque significance. Though being PC and Canadian seem to be synonymous, that’s not so much the case in Poland. We’re now experienced at maintaining a neutral expression when hit with non-PC statements. Here’s a little list of non-PC moments we’ve experienced in Polska:
- during a language class Matthew said “non-Caucasian” in Polish. Our teacher killed herself laughing and said, “we just say “not-white” here in Poland.
- while the protests in Egypt were at their height (before the ones in Libya took off), there were negotiations taking place between the Polish university we attend and the Libyan government to do a large-scale student exchange program that would see 400 Libyans come to Poland to study. Frustrated with this project the director of our department declared to our class, “what am I supposed to do with 400 terrorists in my classroom?”. She then went on to tell a Muslim joke (we had 2 Turkish students in our class).
- While at a friend’s birthday party we were talking to a group of people we just met comprised of 2 Poles, us and 2 Frenchmen. One of the Polish men then shared a joke about the French losing the war because their tanks came with 5 gears: 1 for forward and 4 for reverse. To make it worse, the French guys didn’t catch it (because it was in Polish), so the Pole had to really explain it to them. It was awkward.
- The national music channel once had a weekend special called, and we quote: “Jennifer Lopez i (and) Latino Friends”.
- Matthew once had a doctor’s appointment and the doctor began by saying that white people must be sick because we don’t have a lot of children. When he found out Matthew is Canadian he said Canada would soon be Asia, but at “least we’re not like France and the Muslims”. He then said “the womb is Islam’s greatest weapon”. Let’s say Matthew cut the appointment short and has not been back since.
- We’ve lost count of the number of jokes we’ve heard at the expense of Jewish people.
- While teaching a class of 12-year-olds, Matthew played a soccer video clip. Anytime a person of any colour other than white appeared on screen, the majority of the class yelled “black man”.
- While visiting friends they got into a bit of a tiff over who was the better child. The husband decidedly proved that he had been the more well-behaved child. His wife then fired back with, “and then you turned out to be an alcoholic. Who’s better now”. He is a recovering alcoholic.
- There is a dessert in Poland called Ciepłe Lody (warm ice cream). It’s unofficial name is “murzynek” from the word “murzyn”. So the dessert is called a “little black man”…but not so polite.