Not even the Lithuanian ones who went to Yale.
Mary Grabar answers him back on behalf of Polacks everywhere.
We know who youâ€™re talking about, Barack Obama, when you talk about Pennsylvania and the Midwest, about small towns where the jobs have left. We know who youâ€™re talking about when you talk about those who â€œget bitterâ€ and â€œcling to guns or religion.â€
Youâ€™re talking about â€œthose people.â€
Youâ€™re talking about white people who have neither the family connections nor the racial credentials to gain entrance to the world that you inhabit. Many of the people youâ€™re talking about are those whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe who came to these places to work in steel mills, coal mines, and factories. We know the code words.
Youâ€™re talking about people whose culture is little known. We have been pretty quiet. We never tried to impose our culture on everyone. We never insisted on putting pictures of ourselves in our native dress into schoolbooks or mandating that our stories and songs be part of the curriculums.
We tried to maintain our culture without government aid, by forming our own churches and groups, and building Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovenian halls.
We never wore buttons declaring â€œSlav Powerâ€ or grouped together for purposes of intimidation or violence.
The power we asked for was the power of the paycheck which we earned in factories, steel mills, coal mines, or by cleaning houses. Yet, we were taken aside and told that because of affirmative action it was no use trying to advance off the assembly line; we were told in â€œdiversity workshopsâ€ that people of color had to be promoted over more qualified white people. …
We paid cash for our houses and kept impeccable yards, yet saw the value of our homes plummet after marauding hoodlums came into our neighborhoods in riots that were celebrated by the intelligentsia in Manhattan penthouses, who saw such violence as justified expressions of outrage over past discrimination.
We went to public schools in those same neighborhoods only to be accosted for our skin color and the presumed â€œprivilegeâ€ that teachers said we had. Rather than teach us what was good and beautiful about Western Civilization and the country to which our parents had fled, teachers gave us Marxist nonsense, if they bothered to teach at all. Our schoolmates saw the evening news, mimicked their elders by wearing â€œBlack Powerâ€ buttons and felt justified in roughing the white kid who didnâ€™t seem tough. Because we were â€œprivilegedâ€â€”despite washing our fathersâ€™ sooty work clothes while our mothers went off to clean offices and houses in the suburbsâ€”we were not eligible for scholarships, not even to the Catholic schools. Teachers never cut us any slack. Guidance counselors told us to be secretaries or work in the factory, despite our volunteering and demonstration of academic abilities. Our brothers, cousins, and uncles went off to fight in Vietnam, while those from your class took up arms against their campus administrators.
True, we had our problems, as all people do, with such things as alcoholism and family violence, but we handled those ourselves, and never blamed â€œsocietyâ€ or a history of oppression. Still, many of us did carry legacies from the old country, of hunger and persecution, of watching family members and villagers murdered by atheistic regimes. So we were grateful for the opportunity to work and buy our own little patches of the American Dream.
We were happy to use a welding torch, shovel, or broom to get them. We didnâ€™t insist that we should all get college degrees. We didnâ€™t have our documents translated for us or get bilingual instruction. If we didnâ€™t know English we made sure our children did and we relied on them.
Your white friends in San Francisco, Barack, probably had cleaning women like my mother (and me when I accompanied her and then had my own cleaning jobs from age 12). As white people from a certain class and with certain connections, your donors knew that their futures would be secure because of their inheritances and the connections they could make in the media, politics, and business. In fact, it would benefit them in the world of â€œradical chicâ€ to hang around those like you and support your policies. (Great opportunity to be photographed next to a black person!)
Your black friends there, like your wife, see no end to the amount that this country owes them because of what happened to their ancestors. It makes no difference that many of the whites in previous generations also had experienced persecution and hunger and worked in dangerous, dirty, and degrading jobs. Or that blacks and Native Americans were among the slave owners.
In fact, you and those wealthy donors sneer at white people who have had to do manual labor and who have paid for tuition at community colleges with the money earned that way, while our classmates received special scholarships and government grantsâ€”from our taxes.
You sneer at those like us who put our faith in God and not in those like you who would presume to know whatâ€™s good for us and tell us what to do with our money and our children, and leave us with no ability to defend ourselves.
Well, Barack, coming from your Ivy League world, you would not know much about us. You would not have learned that because we come from people who, rather than letting their communist benefactors redistribute the food, burned the crops in their little fields before they were forcibly â€œcollectivized.â€ In Slovenia, they fought Titoâ€™s Partisans from the woods and held mass at night when the Communists banned church services. They remember what itâ€™s like to be hungry, ill, and living in little more than huts, while Marshall Tito and his communist cronies lived in villas. Now you live in a Chicago mansion and sneer at those like us who simply want to keep and defend our little three-bedroom ranches. You donâ€™t know what itâ€™s like to have family members die for the right to attend mass.
I know your liberal cronies, Barack; they make me check off my skin color on job applications and ask me during job interviews of how I teach multiculturalism, yet donâ€™t know where Slovenia is on the world map. They couldnâ€™t care less about my culture, nor about Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, or Lithuanian culture. Your supporters often feel free to mock my Slovenian heritage in letters and comments on the Internet when they disagree with me. I guess itâ€™s like being called a â€œdumb Polackâ€â€”something that has never gained quite the opprobrium of other ethnic epithets.
See, Barack, we know the system: Some are more â€œequalâ€ than others.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Steve Bodio.
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