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Eastern European

  • 28-10-2021 7:11pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,068 ✭✭✭ Nesta99

    Is it appropriate to sweepingly use the term Eastern European when referring to people from the EU 17-24, eg in reporting today on CSO data on covid-19 vaccination uptake among non-nationals. It is a term often used in crime reporting eg X person 'from Eastern Europe in court on charges of Y' or 'The victim, from Eastern European' etc. Are we referred to Western European in these countries. Would a German person be called Central European or just German. Does it even bother people of the relevant different nationalities. Imo it has or could stigmatise quite a broad number of people. Not sure if its exactly the same but some people can be quite tetchy when referred to as Southern Irish as a broad term for being from the Republic of Ireland from Donegal to Cork. It's not a personal bugbear, i'm interested in people opinion especially in the more current times of considered titles for of groups.

    Maybe this has been commented on before, I hope its not a rehash of a previous thread. If so mods please delete or merge.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,306 ✭✭✭ embraer170

    I find the mainstream use of the term "non national" to be rather odd and even inappropriate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,632 ✭✭✭✭ Mad_maxx

    Eastern European is commonly used to describe nations of the former communist bloc.

    While technically, the likes of Poland is in Central Europe, it's informally referred to as Eastern Europe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,951 ✭✭✭ igCorcaigh

    Interesting question; do we identify as Western European? What about Central Europe: does such a thing exist as an identity or even as part of a media narrative?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,951 ✭✭✭ igCorcaigh

    Yes, so it's an artifact of the Iron Curtain idea then?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,632 ✭✭✭✭ Mad_maxx

    Yes but it's not intended to be offensive in anyway while being technically inaccurate with respect of some countries

    Czech Republic is a lot less east than Ukraine yet both are placed in same basket

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,951 ✭✭✭ igCorcaigh

    I've met Czech people here, Hungarian and Polish , but no Ukrainian. Have you?

    Edit: Ukraine aren't in the EU though, doh!

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,632 ✭✭✭✭ Mad_maxx

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,250 ✭✭✭ phonypony

    If it's geographic I'm fine with it. I find it funny when some Irish people get so upset about people referring to this geographic area as The British Isles on weather forecasts, etc., what a privilege to only be worrying about such insignificant things...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,654 ✭✭✭✭ Enfilade

    My wife wouldn't have a problem being called East European, even though she's been Irish for the better part of a decade now people have no way to know that and it's preferable to them guessing a country and getting it wrong, she really doesn't like that :)


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,210 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Ten of Swords

    Eastern Europe aligns pretty much exactly with the defunct Eastern Bloc, it's a geopolitical description rather than a reflection of geography. For instance, Greece should be considered Eastern European and yet it's considered "Western" simply because it's member of NATO.

    Currently the EU agency EuroVoc divides Europe into North, South, Central/East and West. Most EU government agencies would use this classification for official documents. They classify Ireland as West.

  • Registered Users Posts: 41,635 ✭✭✭✭ SEPT 23 1989

    Second World countries they are red on the map

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,068 ✭✭✭ Nesta99

    Some interesting points and clarification of the origins of the term, and even the folly of the term in a longer term historical view than post WW2 geopolitics. But in terms of its use by news media eg is it even relevant. I'm risking implied issues by mentioning crime again but there can be a tendency, I feel, to make reference to people originally from this large and arguably inaccurate and outdated term for the region. Inconsistent with how other European nationals would be referred to ie their specific country. Is it lazy journalism or in general society not to become more aware of specific countries in the former Eastern Bloc and use nationality. Valid point above in the generalisation of 'non-nationals'. a term that I have heard being used dismissively.

    My questions in the op is more about the relevance, how it could be perceived, pitfalls of the broad term, maybe advantages if there are any, rather than the origins. Again an example of what Im thinking in hope its relevant - asking a person In conversation what country they were from and being thanked for the question for not making an assumption, the person being Ghanaian but used to being lumped in with other nationalities or a whole continent.

    Maybe there isnt an answer really, it is what it is and if people dont mind grand. Yeah I just think its a bit lazy especially in media or official info/statements etc. Some musings rather than a wagging finger.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,807 ✭✭✭ ShatterAlan

    Why would Eastern Europe have anything to do with the former communist bloc?

    Does a wolf or an eagle or a mouse or a rabbir or a fish have any affliliation as they run or fly or swim from Austria to Hungary?

  • Registered Users Posts: 468 ✭✭ Shao Kahn

    This has the look and feel of the national equivalent of using the correct pro nouns for a country! lol

    Most eastern Europeans I know, don't seem to have any issue with the term. They frequently refer to themselves in this classification.

    Is it a sign of disrespect to the individual cultures that make up this region? No, I don't think so. It's just an old legacy term we still use, just like northern Europe or Scandinavia, southern Europe or Mediterranean etc.

    When you see it printed, like say "man of eastern European origin", it is very often followed up by a more precise location within that region if this information is available. You see the same classification with say "UK man held on charges of... " further down the article, you may then get "the man in his 50's, originally believed to be from the greater Manchester area" etc etc. I think it's very similar to that really.

    I don't think there is any malice implied in these terms. (most of the time)

    "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives, and it puts itself into our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." (John Wayne)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,730 ✭✭✭ Buddy Bubs

    Eastern and western European, Nordic, North and south American, sarahan and sub saharan Africa, iberian, antipodean, Pacific Islands, baltic region, South East Asia, Pacific rim, Middle East,

    You'd hear all these quite regularly to group countries by region, there's probably many more

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,632 ✭✭✭✭ Mad_maxx

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭ haphaphap

    Generally shortened form of "Slavic and Eastern European" however not all Eastern Europeans are of Slavic origin.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,773 ✭✭✭ Wojtek the Bear

    Europe used to be divided by the Iron Curtain into East/West split.

    I think in the modern age it makes more sense to divide by North/South. Baltic countries are very different from Bulgaria/Romania for example.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,593 ✭✭✭✭ banie01

    Made friends with a Ukrainian lad on my Uni course. Quite a few in Limerick.

  • Registered Users Posts: 931 ✭✭✭ bob mcbob

    Well we still refer to the Balkans which was the border to the Ottoman Empire and that empire died 100 years ago

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,141 ✭✭✭✭ is_that_so

    Letter to the editor so or it Twitter these days?! You could always try Roderic on it, it's very much his kind of thing. It's just a generic and surprisingly accurate term, one that caused no offence until it could be claimed to!

    On the OP question, it's a mix of the Cold War as commented and a location thing. The Baltics would certainly be Eastern Europe and parts of the east of Poland. People from those parts don't seem to care about such things in my experience. We will use what first comes to mind and if someone corrects you won't do that the next time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 74 ✭✭ Romer

    I always feel that highlighting demographic information in crime reporting was simply to make sure the dear readers knew exactly "who we are dealing with here".

    In the US, you don't have a police shooting a suspect. You have a white officer gunning down a black male. (eg lookit the hate crime)

    Over here you get "Eastern European" which always seems to come across as less than a high class Irish citizen. A legit way of calling them a durty foreigner. It's been awhile since I've seen a Nigerian noted in the press.

    You can of course also, of course, read about Irish Nationals whom are "known to the Guardi" (criminal scum and not worth worrying over) and also those "of no fixed abode" (and we all know what that is).

    Anytime I see any of those it just seems the article is moving away from relevant facts and including terms meant to be incendiary and simply detracts from the validity of the news.

    It may not be their intent, but it's always how it reads in my head. So maybe the problem is with me?

    The only phrase I hate worse than any of those, and which lowers my trust in media even more is "users took to social media".