OBRAZ POLONII AMERYKAŃSKIEJ W POLSKIEJ PRASIE PO ROKU 1989
THE IMAGE OF POLISH AMERICANS IN THE POLISH PRESS AFTER 1989
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The article presents the image of Polish Americans in the Polish press after 1989. It is a continuation of the Author’s previous research pertaining to the Polish press under the communist regime, published in the Polish American Studies. The text is based on an analysis of several hundred articles from: the Polish press addressed to general public, mostly weeklies indexed in Bibliografia Zawartości Czasopism by the National Library in Warsaw; two main Polish dailies, Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita – their full-text archival databases; and from selected weeklies that index and publish their archival issues. The article is organized in three main sections: Polonia and Poland (or Polonia for Poland), Polonia in the USA, and Poland for Polonia. Polonia for Poland occupies the largest part of the text, proportionally to the attention paid by the journalists who presented Polish American aid for Poland, especially charitable activities, sponsoring of Polish monuments and events, athletes and other people. Polonian businesses with Poland are also described. Polish American political actions for Poland are dominated by the NATO enlargement campaign, but other problems, e.g. visa waiver projects, are also mentioned. Polonia in the USA reflects on the discussions on the old issue of the position of the Polish American ethnic group in the mainstream American society and its political actions, some internal conflicts within Polonia, especially those related to Edward Moskal, and some Polish American activities in the USA (or the lack thereof), including anti-defamation. Poland for Polonia presents controversies on the Polonian-Polish relations, dating back to the pre-WWII period. One of the aims of the article was to compare the image of Polish Americans presented after 1989 with the one influenced by the propaganda of ‘People’s Poland’. It turns out that some paradigms outlived the collapse of the communist regime, e.g. the myth of a rich uncle from America, the stereotype of uneducated Polish American masses, and the image of a hard and primitive life of new immigrants. Others have been revised, however: Polish American efforts for Poland are more often appreciated than criticized, Americanization of the Polish ethnic group is not lamented and opportunities of life in the USA seem to dominate difficulties. After large interest of the Polish press in the American Polonia presented at the beginning of the 1990s, one can observe its decline, especially after the end of the NATO-enlargement campaign.
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