Short films „Think about it” („Przemyśl to”) (https://vimeo.com/207037171, hasło: polskalab_2) and „Anonymous” (“Anonim”) (https://vimeo.com/207008747, hasło: polskalab_1) treat about relations between Poles and the Ukrainian minority. The films were created by young people from Przemysl – both people from the Ukrainian minority and a Pole – based on their experiences and reflections. Movies encourage discussion about stereotypes, prejudices and their consequences for the community. Both youth and adults, including seniors, can participate in films screening and discussion. The discussion should be empathetic and based on an analysis of one’s own experiences and feelings.
Author: Jan Dąbkowski
Explain what is the subject of the film meeting. All people are equal by law, they have an inalienable dignity and so they should be treated with respect, despite all differences in opinions, disputes and conflicts, which are a constant element of life. Tell the participants how important it is to be aware of the stereotypes of different people and groups, how they cause prejudices, and their consequences for the community as a whole. Point out that the more resentment, hatred and violence there is in the society, the more divided it is. As a consequence, it is more conflict than development oriented. During an introduction you can rely on your own experience and thoughts. Try to maintain political impartiality so as not to alienate people of other views.
Ask the participants:
Ask each question to several people, asking for statements from people who think a bit differently than the previous speaker to get a wide spectrum of answers.
Ask whether the participants also sometimes have concerns and reflections as those shown in „Anonymous”? Do they wonder the same about life and the surrounding world (death, terrorism, loneliness, war, and the desire to reconcile people fighting in the world)? Are they similar in these matters?
Ask if anyone knows what it means to have a „black palate”. In case of ambiguity, explain that sometimes this term is attributed to people from other places, stigmatizing them as Others, Aliens. Sometimes it is associated with bad, malicious, harassing or dangerous behaviour. Sometimes such people are likened to dogs with dark palate or a dog quality to their „nationality” or „ethnicity.”
Ask if anyone knows other stereotypical terms. In the absence of ideas, you can refer to the words „ocyganić” (meaning „to cheat” – related to gypsies) and „żydzić” (meaning „to skimp” – related to Jews) – such words or the placement of groups as specific heroes of stories, legends or tales can lead to the formation of prejudices towards those groups.
Ask if any of the people present at the meeting have been attacked in the street because of the language they speak or because of where they are from? Have they ever been told to come back where they came from? What then did they feel or what they think they would feel? What do these heroes feel in such situations, when they are born in Poland and are Polish citizens (although of Ukrainian origin, they are or may feel Ukrainians?)
Ask if the participants have ever witnessed or heard of such cases?
Referring to the animation of the loss of the mountain-sky, ask what would a person that losses their home, their place to live feel.
The discussion will be interesting and profound if it launches both empathic responses based on the film and the reflections of people watching as well as their own and family stories.
Depending on the course of discussion and the awareness of the participants, talk about the origins, causes and effects of stereotypes and prejudices. See: Information 1 in the „We support minority” scenario.
Depending on the course of discussion and awareness of participants, tell more about the national
and ethnic minorities in Poland, the situation of Ukrainian national minorities in Poland and migrants from Ukraine to Poland, the scale of hate speech towards them (see Information 2 in the scenario „We support minority”).
Ask what groups can still encounter stereotypes and prejudices? If necessary, you may want to list unequal treatment on grounds of sex, age, religion or non-denominational, fitness, appearance (including skin colour), views, psychosexual orientation or gender identity.
If possible, invite someone from the Ukrainian minority in Poland or from Ukraine, living in Poland (preferably speaking Polish – then the conversation will be smoother). It can also be a person from another minority, represented in a given community and experiencing unequal treatment on the street, at school or at work. Stories from the films can help you start conversation about so-called „Other” (as well as „Own” from other groups) in your community (preferably local, but may also be country-wise).
SCENARIO 2 (may be included in the or treated as an addition):
Show a 3-minute movie „My Ukrainian” (https://vimeo.com/74673418) presenting Poles’ stories on Internet forums about their homemade Ukrainian help. Then ask:
It is worth pointing out that economic migration from the East (eg Ukraine, Belarus) is a mirror reflection of the economic migration of Poles west and south to Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, etc. Just like Poles in these countries, the Ukrainians are associated with cheap labour, illegal work, performing
the simplest and least interesting jobs. It is worth to add that often these are works below education
and skills, for salaries that Poles are rarely interested. The barrier to getting a better job may be insufficient knowledge of Polish language.
It is also a good idea to show a film, read a fragment of a book, or recall media material about Poles working abroad. How do they think they are treated and how are they seen by the local people.