The Sarmatian Review


More on monikers

Regarding the letter on 'Polacks' in the April 1998 issue of The Sarmatian Review, I enclose some relevant materials. The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'Polack' as 'an offensive term used derogatorily.' As indicated by the materials enclosed, American Polish students in high schools and universities have suffered psychological trauma because this term was thrown at them with the clear and malicious intention to offend.

My personal experience on the East Coast, the Midwest and particularly on the West Coast for the last 63 years is not to accept this term. My first step is to educate the offender.

Irena Szewiola, North Hills, California

It could be argued that The American Heritage Dictionary exemplifies the anti-Polish bias of the American intelligentsia in that it confines its exposition to the word's offensive use and does not diclose that 'Polak' (anglicized as 'Polack') means 'a Polish person' in Polish, and that the word was originally used by Polish immigrants who wished to identify themselves to English-speaking Americans. That the word was then viciously misused by some should not intimidate Polish Americans from using it in a proper context. Ed.

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The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 09/24/98