The late Chester Grabowski and his newspaper "Post Eagle", deserve a lot of credit for fighting the old American TV network media's Nazi German subhuman intelligence jokes (that they RENAMED as "Polish jokes") about Polish people and other anti-Polish slurs & defamation.
By (PAR) Kyle Gurecki
Indeed Chet Grabowski was a good man and American patriot. Mr Grabowski started the Post Eagle newspaper primarily as a vehicle to promote and defend Polish Americans in the 1960’s when he saw Polish people being unfairly ridiculed and ripped apart on national television. Mr Grabowski was well aware of the powerful affect of national television on the minds of the millions of Americans who had national television in their living rooms on a daily basis.
When I spoke to Mr Grabowski one time, he spoke about how when he grew up, most Americans of various ethnic origins - be they Jewish, Black, Hispanic, Italian, Irish, German, Polish ect. pretty much got along well and there wasn’t this crazed heightened sense of ethnicity which divided Americans like today. But this started to change in his viewpoint from the 1960’s into the 1970’s with this constant media hyper consciousness of ethnicity and race by Hollywood and the American TV networks. Unfortunately, it seemed these powerful media forces were taking sides on what ethnic groups they thought were “the good ones” and which were the “bad ones”.
Unfortunately for Polish people and certain other groups, as Chester Grabowski and many other Polish Americans noticed like my family, it appeared the TV media did not deem them as being one of the “good ethnic groups” or “worthy ethnic groups”. It seemed Catholic ethnic groups like the Italians and Polish people were bashed the most on TV. Italians were portrayed as low class bafoon criminals while Polish people were portrayed as having subhuman intelligence (like the Nazi Germans portrayed them in Nazi propaganda).
One TV show that stood out to Chester Grabowski, my parents and many Polish Americans was the anti-Polish show "All in the Family" where the producer of the show Norman Lear said all of the vile ethnic slurs told by the main character Archie Bunker was supposed to somehow make Americans to be against ethnic bigotry. What a lie. This show only fueled ethnic bigotry. Norman Lear said since many ethnic groups were mocked by Archie Bunker the American people would not come away with any hostility towards any one particular ethnic group.
Lear and even the Archie Bunker character Carrol O'Connor said Archie Bunker was portrayed in a negative way where people would not take his ethnic slurs seriously.
This would only be true if Archie Bunker was potrayed as a REPULSIVE character. But he was not! He was glorified by Norman Lear! Even many TV critics said Archie Bunker seemed to them as a "Loveable Bigot"! Isn't that an oxymoron? But indeed they were right. Lear made sure to portray Archie Bunker so that people would love his bigotry. Especially against the predominate target of this attacks the Polish people. In one show, Lear portrayed Archie Bunker as an outright hero for his speaking out against White supremacists/Neo-Nazis even though Archie made anti-Black remarks himself. Lear made sure to portray Archie Bunker within the boundaries of being "Loveable" like the critics said. So Norman Lear lied when he said Archie Bunker's character was not meant to stir up ethnic bigotry among the millions of Americans who watched him.
As Chester Grabowski and many other Polish Americans pointed out, in “All in the Family”, by far it was the image of the Polish people who were attacked the most on the show. Ironically, the creator of the show “Norman Lear” claimed the show was “against bigotry”, but in reality it only pushed bigotry by the lead white trash character “Archie Bunker”.
As Chester Grabowski told me, Archie Bunker made unflattering ethnic remarks about various ethnic groups, but the group most viciously attacked on the show was the Polish people since Norman Lear purposely made the Polish American character Michael Stivic to be Archie’s son in law, to give him heavy exposure for ethnic abuse. This was deliberate to make Michael Stivic and his Polish ethnicity the target of hateful ethnic abuse that was packaged to the millions of Americans in the audience – as “entertainment”. Instead of Americans being revolted by this treatment of Polish people on TV, the majority of Americans seemed to love it, since it made them feel better about their non-Polish ethnic backgrounds. The show was crafted by Lear to have this effect on the audience.
It was a form of the German word “Schadenfreude” which means taking pleasure at the misfortune of others. In this case it was the misfortune of Polish people being the target of constant Nazi like hate-joke attacks and slurs against them on NATIONAL TELEVISION. Some have reported that Norman Lear said he feels that the American public, especially white Americans are shallow people and that as long as he did not portray Archie Bunker as a repulsive character and just some harmless loveable but "whacky" guy, the American public would love Archie's anti-Polish slurs, since that would make them feel better about their own ethnicity. Even if their own ethnicity was occasionally mocked on "All in the Family". As long as they saw another ethnic group mocked more than their own, it made them feel superior about their own ethnic identity. This is the Legacy of Hollywood/TV Left-wing supremacists like Norman Lear. Using TV imagery to create ethnic bigotry and divide Americans. And to think this White Liberal Supremacist Norman Lear has an organization called "People for the American Way". There is NOTHING American about Norman Lear. No American would do what he did to other Americans like Polish Americans. Norman Lear was just an anti-Polish Bigot like Chester Grabowski said. It should not be forgotten that, in Lear's other show "Sanford and Son" he inserted dialog into the show about "backward Poland". That's no accident. That's comes from his sick bigoted anti-Polish mind.
According to Chester Grabowski, all this was done intentionally by Norman Lear. Most Americans who watched “All in the Family’s” main character Archie bash Polish people, would then go on to find Polish Americans and ridicule them with the same anti-Polish slurs they heard Archie Bunker say. Basically many Americans would imitate Archie Bunker. Its no accident that the decade of Archie Bunker (1970’s) was the peak decade of anti-Polish bigotry jokes in America and abuse of Polish Americans. So much for “All in the Family” preventing ethnic bigotry which its producer Norman Lear claimed it would do! Chester told me that he and the staff of his Post Eagle newspaper got literally hundreds if not thousands of phone calls over the years from Polish Americans about the bigoted effect of all of these anti-Polish hate jokes and slurs utterred by Archie Bunker to the American public. They were being used against Polish Americans in regular life and against their Polish American children, from other Americans. Their children were bullied because they had Polish ancestry. There have been many letters to the editor of Chester's Post Eagle where Polish Americans have complained about this TV anti-Polish Bigotry.
All these anti-Polish hate jokes created an atmosphere of anti-Polish Bigotry and hatred in America by this anti-Polish show "All in the Family". And to think this guy Norman Lear likes to champion himself as some kind of Liberal guy who "fights for the little guy". Yeah right! Norman Lear and other Liberal Hollywood/TV people like him were just the opposite and instead loved to use their TV media to fuel ethnic bigotry in America.
Then there was the non-stop anti-Polish Bigotry at NBC-TV which started in the 1960’s. Chester and I talked about that. NBC-TV anti-Polish shows, in conjunction with CBS TV's anti-Polish "All in the Family", was a one-two punch against Polish Americans in the 1970's. As a young Polish American, my parents used to tell me there was never this kind of hostility against Polish people in their days.
They certainly felt CBS-TV's "All in the Family" and all of NBC-TV's anti-Polish shows like the "Tonight Show" and "Laugh-In" which clearly stepped over the line with their malicious portrayal of Polish people to their American audience. My parents agreed with Chester Grabowski, the Polish American Guardian Society and all other Polish Americans who felt this element of the TV media was pushing a deliberate hate campaign against Polish people. I and many of my fellow Polish Americans in the 1970's felt the brunt and fall-out of all these anti-Polish slurs disseminated all the time from these anti-Polish TV networks like CBS-TV and NBC-TV, from other Americans who watched these shows.
Chester Grabowski, along with other Polish American groups like the Polish American Guardian Society, thought it was absolutely disgraceful and disgusting that NBC-TV would have many shows that contained anti-Polish hate jokes, similar to the ones that the Nazi Germans told Polish people before they murdered them in the Nazi German concentration camps (first Nazi German concentration victims were Polish CHRISTIANS) and the killing fields across Poland. Chester Grabowski felt it was appalling that American TV would be trying to push Nazi German subhuman intelligence jokes about Polish people into the minds of the American public, but that WAS what the so called American TV media like NBC-TV and CBS’s “All in the Family” was doing. And indeed Chester Grabowski was 100% correct about this vicious TV media hate campaign against Polish people, which prompted Grabowski’s non-stop speaking out against this injust TV media hatred of Polish people in his Post Eagle newspaper.
Norman Lear, like his anti-Polish Bigot colleagues at NBC-TV, chose to use the Nazi German stereotype of Polish people having “subhuman intelligence” via his character Archie Bunker’s hate jokes against Polish people. Like Hollywood and NBC-TV anti-Polish Bigots before him like George Schlatter of NBC-TV's "Laugh-In", Norman Lear did NOT disclose the Nazi origin of the subhuman intelligence jokes about Polish people that his character Archie Bunker told.
Chester Grabowski and his Post Eagle recognized this from day one and therefore deserve a lot of credit for speaking out against media/TV anti-Polish Bigotry and inspiring other Polish Americans to speak out as well. Polish American singer Bobby Vinton gives Mr Grabowski a lot of credit for the decline of anti-Polish bigotry jokes from mainstream TV media. Bobby Vinton felt Chester Grabowski was correct in his observation that all these TV media anti-Polish joke slurs put into the mind of the American public, only created an atmosphere of anti-Polish bigotry among Americans who have been brainwashed by these anti-Polish TV slurs from the 1960’s and 1970’s. As Chester Grabowski and Bobby Vinton observed, it was all of the anti-Polish bullying by Americans against Polish American children that was the most repugnant and disgusting result of the “American” TV media’s anti-Polish hate jokes.
As anti-Polish hate joke slurs declined in the American media, media anti-Polish hatred then started to raise its ugly head in other forms like the big lie about Nazi German death camps being "Polish Death Camps". This media anti-Polish Bigotry was fought against just as hard by Chester Grabowski and his Post Eagle. We will be talking more about that in the future.
We here at PolishAmericanReview will always be grateful for Chester Grabowski and his Post Eagle’s aggressive defense against media anti-Polish joke slurs and other TV media anti-Polish bigotry. Bobby Vinton has said that Chester Grabowski and his Post Eagle have been largely to credit for the decline in anti-Polish TV hate jokes and other anti-Polish slurs in America. We at PolishAmericanReview agree!
1970's CBS-TV's "All in the Family" and its anti-Polish effect on millions of Americans
NBC-TV's anti-Polish shows add to CBS-TV's "All in the Family's" anti-Polish slurs for a one-two punch against the image of Polish Polish people in the 1970s
Note: For the record, those who have criticized Grabowski have hypocritically NEVER addressed his concerns about media Anti-Polish Bigotry, as they criticized him for saying the media put some ethnic groups on a pedestal while bashing others like the Polish people.