I’ve been avoiding alien: covenant spoilers aggressively for weeks because i haven’t gotten the chance to see it yet but i just stumbled on a photoset of robot micheal fassbander kissing a clone of himself and I’m not even mad because I’m pretty sure if I had to watch that scene unprepared it might trigger my fight or flight response
I am Polish with a bit of Tatar blood. I strongly identify as Slavic and have genuine affection for any Slavic nation, but mostly I am Polish and so proud to be. I find it kind of hurtful how we are perceived in the Western nations and how we are depicted in mainstream media in America. I feel rejected both by the white community and the opressed community of People of color. Of course by no means Slavs are POC and by no means we have it as bad, but actually anyone who isn’t of Western European descend has it hard. Nevertheless we are painted with the same brush as those Western Europeans simply due to our race, but we’re not the same.
Have you ever notices the way Slavs are depicted in mainstream media in USA? Let’s start with the fact that you don’t really see other Slavic nations than Russians. I know that Russia is the big bad of the US generally, but not ever Russian is a villain or a villain-turned-hero. There are tons of amazing people. NOT EVERY RUSSIAN IS EVIL. Their authorities are evil, but the Russians are not. For example, look at the Russians in the MCU. First of all, we’ve got Natasha. As much as I love Scarlett Joahnsson and I am aware that she is of Polish descend, there are so many talented Russian actresses who could have got the role, yet as far as I’m concerned no actual Russian was even considered. Second thing is while Natasha is a Russian protagonist she despises Russia. Her homecountry is everything evil when it comes to the character. She doesn’t show young Slavs that being Slavic is cool. The rest of the Russians in the Universe are villains. Let’s start with Ivan Vanko. Again, Rourke is not Russian nd he doesn’t have ANY Russian or Slavic blood. The accent was terrible, the character was absolutely despising. While his motivation was weak it kind of made sense until the reveal that Anton Vanko was practically a leech. So yeah, evil runs in the Russian blood I guess. Russians in Captain America? Okay, I don’t have a fucking idea what went on there. The Russians captured Bucky and experimented on him, yet he’s a Hydra asset? Hydra was a Nazi organization and it makes no sense since the Soviets actually had a lot to do with defeating Nazis. Both were evil, but they’re not the fucking same. Actually Nazis hated Slavs almost as much as Jewish people and by the time “The First Avenger” takes place historically the Germans had already blocked Leningrad, so the Soviets would never work with them. Let’s take a look at “Arrow” now. We’ve got plenty of Russians here. Except they all are shady gangsters with good intentions only for themselves. Yeah, the brotherhood and severe loyalty in Bratva is depicted, but it’s still a criminal organization. Got to mention that they actually cast David Nykl who is Czech Canadian (so he’s Slavic) in the role of Anatoli, yet Kovar is played by a Swede. I’m in the supehero fandoms, so most of my examples come from there, but I guess you get the idea. I can’t recall many other Slavs with prominent roles in American mainstream media apart from Sophie and Oleg from Two Broke Girls and don’t even get me started on those. The Hollywood also didn’t care enough to cast somebody of the right ethnic background for the role of Nikola Tesla who was Serbian (so a Slav) with David Bowie playing him in “The Prestige” and Nicholas Hoult in the upcoming “The Current War”. Have you heard of the movie “The Zookeeper’s Wife”? It’s about the Żabiński family who hid Jews in the Warsaw Zoo during WWII. Yet the main roles of Polish people again went to actors with nothing Slavic about them.
I could rant more on this, but I actually want to mention one more thing. Dear People of Color, as I said we are not opressed like you, but please do not paint us with the same brush as those actually responsible for all the awful things that happened in America to your ancestors. And I am talking as A POLISH PERSON here. Specifically Polish person. We are not your enemy. We never colonised Americas. We never had slaves there. While your ancestors were slaves (actually the term “slave” derives from the word “Slav”, because Slavic people were often kept as slaves in Arab Spain in ninth century), mine were living in a non-existent country since it was literally stolen away from us by Prussia, Russia and Austria. For 123 years there was no independent Poland, Polish culture was opressed and depolonization was crazy. Yet we managed to survive. We fought for our freedom. One of our national heroes is actually also a national hero in US. His name is Tadeusz Kościuszko. If you haven’t heard of him, you’re missing out. He was a prominent figure in American Revolution. There’s actually a story that while he was in Philadephia, the leader of Little Turtle came to him and Tadeusz gave him guns with guide to use them against anyone who would want to conquer Little Turtle. Then he came back to Poland to fight for his own country which was being torn apart by their neighbours.
There’s also the story about Poles in Haiti. Let me start things of with saying that many Poles viewed Napoleon as a way to regain freedom. It kind of worked since the Kingdom of Poland came to existance, but don’t think it was any kind of independent coutry. It still belonged to Russia. Napoleon exploited the Poles in his army, seriously. He didn’t actually give a damn about us. So he sent them to help subdue the Haitian Revolution. As you may or may not know, the revolution was successful. Want to hear the story of the Poles’ role? Well, it’s simple. When they arrived there and saw that the Haitians fight for their freedom just like the Polish, they decided to actually help them. Not immediately, but it didn’t take them much time. They saw the Revolution as paralell to the Polish situation back then. Jean-Jacques Dessalines called the Poles (AND I’M LITERALLY QUOTING HIM THERE): “the White Neg***s of Europe” with was actually regarded a great honour. The Poles who fought there aquired Haitian citizenship and you can still find their descendants on Haiti.
And the WWII. Oh, the WWII. It all started in Poland which was still weak. We actually existed as an independent country for only 20 years when Hitler attacked us. It’s no mystery that our allies (Great Britain and France) didn’t give a damn about us and didn’t help Poland at all. I could talk and talk about the Poles in the WWII, because our role was HUGE. Let me just say that Poland was the only country were hiding Jews was punished by death, yet so many Polish people (count in my greatgrandparents) still did it. Of course not every Pole was a saint back then and some actually did horrible things, but majority of Poles really helped the Jews. Just check which country has the most citizens who got the honorific of Righteous Among the Nations. (Spoiler Alert: it’s Poland) Poland is actually the only country and Germany conquered back then where they couldn’t form a SS force, because most of us would rather die than fight for the Nazis. A Pole, Jan Karski, risked his life when he was smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto to gather information. Actually when he reported those to Western leaders, they pretty much didn’t give a shit. Polish officer Witold Pilecki voluteered to go to Auschwitz to gain information on the camp. And please, NEVER say “Polish death camps”. The death camps were never Polish. They were on our territory which was taken from us by force. Poles also fought in Britain (Polish pilots in Battle of England anyone?) and in other parts of the world. After the war ended no one gave a shit. Roosevelt and Churchill easily sold us to Soviets, so we actually became dependent on Russia yet again. We regained our independance in 1989 and were actually the first nation to break the communist regime.
We’re no saints and the country is a mess right now. There are tons of rasist, homophobic and sexist people among us, but a lot of Poles actually fought for basic human rights for everyone, for freedom, for justice. We may be a mess, but if the times are hard, we’ll come together and fight for ourselves and for each of you, because in the end we’re all people, we all deserve the same treatment and opportunities.
So what I wanted to say by this rant? I wanted to kindly ask POC not to paint every white person with the same brush and to not think that we’re the same as your opressors. We are not your enemy, we never were. I wanted to kindly ask opressed POC not to erase the beautiful Slavic cultures by saying that “white people have no culture”. I get you’re angry with your opressors, I can fully understand it, but it is hurtful for me as a person who doesn’t really identify with the Western culture. I wanted to demand Western white people for more respect towards other cultures, also those of other ethnic groups of your own race. Slavs are the biggest white ethnic group in Europe, yet they are neglected and stereotyped.