European American Culture and Polish Heritage

A Brief History of the Cultural Group

  • Chosen cultural group: European Americans;
  • First Europeans in the US: Spanish;
  • “Euro-Americans”: to emphasize geographical origin;
  • Arrived in two large migration waves;
  • Largest groups: German, Irish, English Americans;
  • US citizens still call them “Whites” (“Euro-Americans,” n.d.).

A Brief History of the Socio-Cultural Group

  • Chosen socio-cultural group: Polish heritage;
  • One of the largest groups;
  • Predominantly ethnic Poles speaking Polish;
  • Ethnic minorities: Kashubians, Silesians, Górali, Galicians;
  • 1850 – the beginning of Poles’ arrival;
  • Urban (factories) and rural (farming) communities (“European-Americans,” 2017).

Values of the Cultural Group

  • Respect their countries of origin;
  • Prefer not to be called Euro-Americans;
  • Respect and appreciate different cultures;
  • Respect the US and other nations;
  • Value family and religious traditions;
  • Acknowledge their ethnic and cultural origins (“Euro-Americans,” n.d.).

Values of the Socio-Cultural Group

  • Highly appreciate their family ties;
  • Adhere to Roman Catholic religious principles;
  • Formed a Polish National Catholic Church;
  • Hard-working, value labor and dislike laziness;
  • Marry mostly Eastern European Catholics;
  • Support connections with relatives in Poland (“European-Americans,” 2017).

The worldview of the Culture

  • Culture: determined by Western Europe;
  • Culture: systematized in traditions and government;
  • Regulated traditions of civic education;
  • Mostly assimilated into the US culture;
  • Sporadic expression of ethnic ties;
  • Southern Europeans: high levels of integrity (“Euro-Americans,” n.d.).

Language and Communication Patterns of the Cultural Group

  • Euro-Americans speak native languages;
  • English: for work and social life;
  • Native languages: home, holidays, personal communication;
  • High level of identity through language;
  • Publish newspapers in native languages;
  • Arrange concerts in native languages (“European-Americans,” 2017).

Language and Communication Patterns of Socio-Cultural Group (Specific)

  • The Polish language is widely spoken;
  • Polish belongs to West Slavic languages;
  • It is similar to Slovak and Czech;
  • Taught in parochial and Sunday schools;
  • Consonants are rather different from English;
  • The language has many diacriticals (Jones, 2017).

Art and Other Expressive Forms of the Cultural Group

  • James Belushi – an actor, Albanian origin;
  • Gjon Mili – photographer for Life magazine;
  • Shqipe Malush – poet (Jurgens, 2017);
  • Flamenco: a world-known Spanish dance style;
  • Angel González: a poet, Spanish origin;
  • Pablo Casals – cellist, Spanish origin (Colahan, 2017).

Art and Other Expressive Forms of the Socio-Cultural Group

  • Korczak Ziolkowski: sculptor and designer;
  • Leopold Stokowski: the Philadelphia Orchestra conductor;
  • Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski: baseball players;
  • Stan Coveleski: pitcher, Hall of Fame;
  • Casimir Funk: discovered the term “vitamin”;
  • Leon Jaworski – prosecutor, Zbigniew Brzezinski – advisor (Jones, 2017).

Norms and Rules

  • Euro-Americans are polite and considerate;
  • A sense of humor: usually good;
  • Education occupies a significant place;
  • Offending the weak and disabled: unacceptable;
  • They are interested in social life;
  • Close family and ethnic ties (“European-Americans,” 2017).

Lifestyle Characteristics

  • Religion and church: an important role;
  • Women take care of household chores;
  • Men are regarded as breadwinners;
  • Modern situation: roles are becoming equal;
  • High respect for the elderly;
  • Children: obey, may express their opinions (“European-Americans,” 2017).

Relationship Patterns

  • Dating: equal expression of the initiative;
  • Express great respect for the elderly;
  • Children respect parents, pay visits often;
  • Families of two generations may cohabitate;
  • Marriage preferences: among group members;
  • Family structure: patriarchal and nuclear (“Euro-Americans,” n.d.; “European-Americans,” 2017).

Common Rituals

  • Wedding: traditionally incorporates several steps;
  • Traditional dances: mazur, krakowiak, polka;
  • Christening: one-two weeks after birth;
  • Godparents: responsible for religious upbringing;
  • Funeral: according to Catholic traditions;
  • The dead are accompanied by shoes (Jones, 2017).

Degree of Assimilation from Mainstream Society

  • Easier assimilation due to skin color;
  • It was only outer assimilation;
  • Good assimilation at a workplace;
  • Diligent and hardworking people: earned respect;
  • Level of intercultural marriage: very low;
  • Easily learned the language and regulations (Jones, 2017).

Degree of Marginalization from Mainstream Society

  • Close cultural ties made assimilation difficult;
  • Polish jokes: a great obstacle;
  • Jokes show the Poles as simpletons;
  • Do not anglicize names anymore;
  • They started taking pride in their culture;
  • Prefer to stay in Polish communities (Jones, 2017).

Health Behaviors and Practices

  • Outdoor activities: a common practice;
  • The pattern of diet: Western;
  • Create sustainable positive changes in communities;
  • Preferred medicine type: traditional Western;
  • Preventive medicine: do tests, get immunizations,
  • Advanced illnesses: hospice and palliative care (“European Americans in Minnesota,” 2017).

Differential Approaches Needed by Healthcare Professionals for Each Group

  • European Americans: rare translation problems;
  • Different approaches to medical aid;
  • Traditional medicine of some groups;
  • Polish group: used to be skeptical;
  • Some people have traditional views;
  • Some patients need translators (rarely) (Jones, 2017).


Colahan, C. (2017). Spanish Americans. Web.

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Euro-Americans. (n.d.). Web.

European-Americans. (2017). Web.

European Americans in Minnesota. (2017). Web.

Jones, S. (2017). Polish Americans. Web.

Jurgens, J. (2017). Albanian Americans. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "European American Culture and Polish Heritage." March 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "European American Culture and Polish Heritage." March 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'European American Culture and Polish Heritage'. 24 March.

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