Among Polish-Americans across the country, the Monday after Easter is a fairly significant day of celebration known as Dyngus day. This annual rite of spring is known by some as the Polish Mardi Gras. Following a long winter and to celebrate the end of the lenten season, Poles engage in parades and festive parties consisting of food, drink, and dancing to polka music. The celebration coincides with the widespread cases of spring fever which occur at this time of year and includes a courting ritual in which young men sprinkle water on young women and in turn the young women tap the young men with Pussy Willow branches.
The largest celebration is in Buffalo, NY, but it is replicated in Polish communities across the country like Cleveland, Ohio and we even had a small celebration in my home.
So when I heard that Anderson Cooper was going to do a story on Dyngus day I was excited that as an American of Polish descent, my people and our celebration would get some national press on CNN. Then the ugly face of racial bigotry shone through. Mr. Cooper was not intending to highlight an ethnic celebration, he was out to ridicule us. He called the festivities stupid, not just stupid but so stupid that he was unable to maintain his composure. He then went on to claim that Dyngus day was invented as an excuse to drink. Mr. Cooper is both painfully insensitive and cruelly insulting and I am calling on him and CNN to apologize to all Americans especially those of Polish descent.
I have included the video, that shows Cooper’s very inappropriate outburst and insults.
UPDATE: Anderson Cooper has apologized;
Just after 1 p.m., Cooper back-pedaled on his remarks, sending out a tweet to the effect that he did not say Dyngus Day was stupid: “Just learned some groups believe I called Dyngus Day ‘so stupid’ in ridiculist. I didn’t. I was saying my giggling fit was ‘so stupid.’ “
A few moments later, Cooper sent out another tweet, apologizing: “In ridiculist I called my silly giggle fit ‘so stupid’ not @dyngusday. Sounds like a fun celebration. Genuinely sorry if I offended anyone.”
I have also learned that the Buffalo Dyngus Day organizers have invited Cooper to attend the 2013 celebration at which time they will crown him as the first ever Pussy Willow Prince.