- March 23, 2001 at 12:00 am #11004
Why do Italian Americans dislike or hate blacks, use derogatory terms to descibe them such as ‘Mullis,’ chase blacks out of their neighborhoods and, in the worst cases, beat them with bats, when to the best of my knowledge blacks have never done anything to Italians?
User Detail :Name : Wam, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 36, City : Baldwin, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, March 26, 2001 at 12:00 am #29471
Because Italians are, overall, congenitally ignorant thugs who can hardly string two words of English together, but because they had an empire 1,500 years ago and one of them is responsible for discovering (more like falling back-assward into) this continent 500 years ago, they think they are entitled to respect. Despite this – they, the whites who wrote the book on how whites behave – consider themselves an ethnic minority, and every time they’re portrayed in the media as organized criminals or ignorant thugs, the Italian Anti-Defamation League (i.e. the Mafia) whines to the media that that’s ‘racist,’ and that ‘if blacks were portrayed that way, no one would stand for it.’ What a joke. In short, most Italians are type-A personalities who feel the world owes them automatic, unconditional respect because of accomplishments their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers made. And when they see a black guy living the same way in the same neighborhood as them, it forces them to acknowledge that they aren’t the superior race anymore, and that burns their ass in ways they’re too stupid to express any other way than violently.
User Detail :Name : Sean28021, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, City : Boston, State : MA Country : United States, Social class : Lower middle class, March 27, 2001 at 12:00 am #19721
It sounds like Sean has an intense hatred for Italians. If someone had used the same terminology for any other ethnic group (black, Latino, Asian, whatever), Sean would be outraged. He needs to think a little about what he’s saying, and the monitors of Y? Forum should respond to postings like his. My response to the original question is that I don’t think it has to do with being Italian, but more to do with insular communities that aren’t accustomed to different people and therefore fear them and make assumptions about their behavior. I see this in rural communities in the United States and in other countries such as Japan.
Director’s note: From time to time, Y? posts submissions that push or exceed its standards for non-confrontational dialogue, in order to ensure that a broad sampling of opinions, no matter how bluntly worded or potentially divisive, is provided its users.
User Detail :Name : Eric, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 33, City : Indianapolis, State : IN Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer/Sculptor, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, March 27, 2001 at 12:00 am #24462
I’m a little surprised that Y? Forum would post such an inflammatory message, but I presume it was to play Devil’s Advocate and spark a little INTELLECTUAL discussion of the subject. I think Sean’s perspective stems in large part from his own ethnicity (I’m only guessing he is Irish) and where he lives. Boston has large Irish and Italian communities, and as both groups came to the area at roughly the same time, and experienced many of the same social problems (inability to get work, ill-conceived stereotypes), they tended to lash out at each other in the fight to establish themselves and be recognized as more than second-class citizens. It is just human nature to want to feel like you aren’t the ‘lowest man on the totem pole.’ That is where I feel the perceived hatred of blacks comes in as well. Unfortunately, until the influx of Eastern European emigres, there was no one else for these groups to feel better than than American blacks. I do not, however, feel that this continues to be as great a problem as it has been in the past. At the risk of sounding idealistic, I am half Irish and half Italian and have a black boyfriend. While neither of my sets of grandparents were very happy at first about my parents’ marroage (everything is fine now) and I’m fairly sure that my Italian grandfather (who has passed away) would have had some issues with my relationship, I think things are coming together for the people in this country who are open-minded enough to let them. Of course, there will always be those who fight progress and change with every fiber of their being; but the important thing is to not let ignorance pervade yourself, and to try to fight it in those around you when you have the strength or opportunity.
User Detail :Name : Jessica, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 22, City : Framingham, State : MA Country : United States, Occupation : teacher, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, March 27, 2001 at 12:00 am #37498
Sean, let me guess, you’re from Southie, right? I guess I should assume you’re a drunk who beats his wife and kids, since you have an Irish name. How sad that you feel this way about any ethnic group. Wam, I disagree with your statements about Italians. People are people. My family was chased out of South Boston in the ’70s due to busing (we weren’t Irish in a predominantly Irish neighborhood).
User Detail :Name : R, City : Boston, State : MA Country : United States, March 27, 2001 at 12:00 am #37749
Saying Italians are ‘congenitally ignorant thugs’ does nothing to help the issue. I am not Italian but grew up in a city where there were a large number of Italians. There was no more animosity between Italians and blacks than between any other groups. There will always be some people from one group who do not like some people from another. Has every Italian you’ve ever met hated you, or was it just some? And don’t you think there must be some black people who hate Italians?
User Detail :Name : Stacey L., Gender : F, Age : 20, City : Durham, State : NH Country : United States, Occupation : student, April 3, 2001 at 12:00 am #33010
There is some real merit in Wam’s original question about the extremely hostile attitudes of some Italian Americans toward blacks, which should not be lost in the rush to criticize Sean’s response. Some of the most anti-black sentiments I have heard or have been informed of have come from Italian Americans, and not necessarily all on the East Coast. Choosing to see this as just an example of ‘insular communities’ comes across as a self-serving attempt to contort this ugly behavior into something acceptable, using the argument that ‘others do it’ under similar circumstances of insularity. But such a degree of insularity in any society as open as ours is viewed under most other circumstances as downright sickness, or at best medieval. Sean’s response, while colorful and somewhat extreme around the edges, may be much closer to the truth than many of his critics here are aware of or are willing to admit. The truth does not necessarily have to be cloaked in pretty dressing – especially if the truth itself is not pretty.
User Detail :Name : I. Moses., Gender : M, Race : Black/African American, City : Columbia, State : MD Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, April 3, 2001 at 12:00 am #43742
Sean, it sounds as though you are from my neighborhood. Or Southie, or Quincy. No matter, though. Italians are certainly not the only white ethnic group that is racist. History has shown that. However, in the last 20 or so years, there have been several high-profile racist incidents involving Italian Americans. I believe it lies more with their class than with their ethnic group in those cases. Most of those were crimes performed by blue-collar, working-class whites. Because I’ve spent 21 years among people like them, I know that their racism is probably the same as any other group of white people, but their roots cause them to deal with it differently. Their low monetary status means they can’t discriminate in the job market, so they use violence to put blacks down and feel better about themselves. They use the excuses of keeping the neighborhood safe and clean, but it’s really xenophobia and fear of change. I reiterate, I’ve spent 21 years in Charlestown, where until forced integration of our housing projects, a black person or any other minority would’ve been in danger to walk through here. And Charlestown is predominantly Irish American.
User Detail :Name : Mickey M., Gender : M, Religion : Catholic, Age : 18, City : Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Longshoreman, Education level : Less than High School Diploma, Social class : Upper middle class, April 5, 2001 at 12:00 am #25650
I’m of Italian descent and hate racism. I’m not a ‘thug’ who can ‘barely string two words of English together,’ either. I hate racism and take every opportunity to speak out and act out against it. Racism is wrong. It doesn’t matter who the victims or oppressors are.
User Detail :Name : Vincenzo24848, Gender : M, Race : Italian-Canadian, City : Yorkton, State : NA Country : Canada, May 18, 2001 at 12:00 am #14024
I feel it’s because they are partially black/ African and are trying to deny that part of their background. Italy is right next to Africa. It isn’t difficult to imagine that some Africans, possibly Moors, entered europe through Italy, and in doing so impregnated some of the women. That is why they are so dark.
User Detail :Name : Gina W., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Age : 36, City : Inglewood, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, June 4, 2001 at 12:00 am #15555
So your girlfriend left you for an Italian guy, huh? The correct answer is that most Italians have worked for decades and through generations to create and establish what they have today. Hell’s Kitchen was all immigrant Italians (they actually had to pay for a trip here) and they worked their asses off to have what they do today (unlike blacks, who have everything handed to them because of all their ‘oppression’). Why don’t Italians like blacks? In a word, ‘laziness.’ Look at all the million-dollar construction companies there are. The majority are Italian, and the majority were founded by their great, great, great grandfather (that you make fun of), who is probably still digging basements and laying brick at 80 years old because he doesn’t know how to stop working. And, no, I am not remotely Italian.
User Detail :Name : racegirl, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Religion : Catholic, Age : 31, City : Detroit, State : MI Country : United States, Occupation : Government employee, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, July 11, 2001 at 12:00 am #15961
The reason people in our society think Italians hate blacks is that the media perpetuates that stereotype. And from the sound of things, you do, too, because all your examples come from movies. By the way, anyone who knows anything about Italian history knows that the people of Southern Italy (which is where 75 percent of the ancestors of Italian Americans originated) have been discriminated against for centuries by Northern and fairer Italians. Italians consider themselves ‘ethnic’ because they are just that. Everyone from the Phonecians to the Moors (North Africans) came crashing through Southern Italy and therefore produced one of the first ‘mixed’ races of the world. Part of the reason that ‘some’ Italians have been racist in the past is that they were often thought of as ‘black’ because of their North African ancestory. They were considered ‘not quite white’ by Anglo Americans.
Often, when one group is discriminated against, they look to another group to discriminate, in order to feel ‘better’ about themselves. It’s not right, but very common. I have seen this with Mexicans in particular, who can be particularly racist against blacks, as well as the indigenous people of Mexico, whose blood runs through their own veins.
User Detail :Name : Italian-Girl, Gender : F, City : The Emerald City, State : WA Country : United States, July 12, 2001 at 12:00 am #37210
I’m Italian, so I’ll try to help you as best I can. You’re right – there ARE many Italians who do hate blacks. Mainly the older generations (I’m not one of them). I think it may be because there’s always been a rumor that Sicilians have African-American blood in them. I’m Sicilian, don’t know if the rumor is true, but, who knows what happened hundreds of years ago? Italians are very proud people. If this rumor had been started about Italians and, say, Germans, they would then hate Germans. It may also have something to do with the fact that Italians and blacks were both part of the ‘ghetto’ culture in the early part of this century and last century.
User Detail :Name : Natalie, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Bisexual, Race : Italian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 17, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : actress, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, August 31, 2001 at 12:00 am #24503
Wow! I cannot believe your message. How can you say that? ‘Two words of English’? I’m an Italian man and can speak five languages. I hate racism and have friends from all over the world.
You are American, right? Look at your history: centuries of racism against the Indians,Chinese, Puerto Ricans, blacks, etc.
Also, tell me a country in this world where you don’t find a kind of ‘mafia.’ And ‘thugs’? You’ve got about 1.3 million prisoners, and an offense is commited every 30 seconds in the United States.
Italians are famous for many things, not just the mafia. You probably don’t know anything about Michelangelo, Raphael or Leonardo. You should read more about Italian history.
User Detail :Name : Marco, Gender : M, Race : Italian, Religion : Pagan, Age : 30, City : Milan, State : NA Country : Italy, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, October 26, 2001 at 12:00 am #38543
I have to agree with Sean. As individuals, people of Italian descent are like anyone else. The problem is that when Italians get into groups, they become a vicious, insular, paranoid bunch. Where I live, in Toronto, they keep to themselves and only mate with each other (especially the women). This is the truth, because I have spoken to many people about it – and to Italians who agree with me.
When I speak to some Italians about how they separate from other groups, they get very defensive about it. I went to school with Italians and was discriminated against by them because I was not Italian. What gets me is that many of them cannot even speak Italian. As for their treatment of blacks, they will deny ’til Jesus comes back for his second coming, but they do not mix with them. Ever. And that is the truth.
User Detail :Name : Taylor, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Synchronicity, Age : 30, City : Toronto, Ontario, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : Teacher, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class,
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