The thumbnail image is from another item that came to my attention this week – the amazingly not-politically-or-in-any-other-way-correct but nevertheless best selling Taiwanese toothpaste, “Darkie”, or “Darlie” as it is now re-branded. I think we can all appreciate that teeth look a lot whiter against a darker background but in “the west” this is as offensive as Robinson’s golliwog. In “the east” however, things have not progressed beyond black people being rare and exotic attractions and so images such as this do not (yet) carry the same emotional baggage. I suppose that will change soon.
I was struck by the recent flush of items in the news connecting black people and Poland. Does this suggest a serious effort by the government to raise the profile of race relations as a delayed aftermath to the killing of the Nigerian in the marketplace, or just a coincidence?
Leading the charge in Polish overseas race relations is young Mr. Zdzierak who is charged with six robberies across the state of Ohio while wearing a mask to disguise himself as a black man. Now, I know there’s a rumour that black people have larger noses but surely this is going too far!
On a more positive note we have Mr. August Agbola O’Brown – codename Ali – who has emerged as a fighter for Poland during the WWII Warsaw Uprising. Not sure about the codename. Probably comes from that impossible to avoid at weddings song “Ali BaBa” but not exactly hitting the sweet spot in terms of racial stereotyping. He survived the war but decided that Warsaw under the communists was not half as much fun as it had been before the war and so he left for England after the ’56 “thaw” and never returned.
All this time and so many people studying the details of the Uprising and it takes until December 2010 to realise there was a black man fighting for Poland? What next, a hitherto undiscovered Polish commando unit made up entirely of Vietnamese? I sincerely hope that someone finds a place in the Uprising Museum for August O’Brown.
John Abraham Godson (formerly Godson Chikama Onyekwere)
John has the distinction of being the first black Polish MP. A former member of Łódż city council he was sworn in as an MP on December 14th 2010. Granted Polish citizenship in 2001, it just goes to show what can be accomplished if we foreigners really try hard! Good for you, John!
Known to his supporters as “The Polish Obama”, his political agenda includes;
Godson stated that his policy agenda will include the improvement of infrastructure, as well as increasing access to broadband internet. Godson said he will also work on bettering diplomatic relations with African countries, adding that Poland only has four embassies on the continent and that he wants to see Polish oil companies investing there.