The Bigotry Toward Italian Immigrants – The New York Times

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 8:48 am


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Gene BoccialettiNew York

To the Editor:

Both of my paternal grandparents were born in Ireland and emigrated to the United States around 1900. I remember their describing Irish Need Not Apply signs and being discriminated against in many ways. Their story is quite similar to what you have described for Italians.

As a country we have a very checkered history of our treatment of anyone not of British ancestry. Asians, Africans, South Americans, Southern Europeans, Eastern Europeans, Irish, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindi all were treated as inferiors at one time (most still are).

Only when the accents disappeared and it became impossible to tell that someone was Italian or Irish were we accepted as white. Unfortunately, many still fall under the label of them inferior and to be feared.

President Trump has done a very effective job of bringing out into the open how deep and alive racism still is in America. For a Christian nation we fall quite short of the values that Christianity stands for; we have a lot of repair and repentance to do, a lot of forgiveness to be earned.

John TwomeyRaleigh, N.C.

To the Editor:

Even as a third-generation half-Italian-American, I still feel a surge of nausea whenever faced with choosing an ethnicity on official forms or job applications. The only choice allowed for my mixed European heritage is white, but checking it feels like a betrayal of my ancestors and a forced whitewashing of this countrys true microdiversity.

I resent, every time, that my identity will be assumed into a featureless, monolithic bloc of whiteness and ascribed to an established majority I neither identify with nor aspire to. And leaving the box unchecked in protest feels even worse, like choosing voluntary self-erasure over involuntary state erasure.

Paul LeoNew York

To the Editor:

My father, whose parentage was Irish and Italian (two immigrant groups that were each reviled at some time), instilled a pride in us about our southern Italian ancestry. He didnt talk about the discrimination, perhaps because he was of the generation that produced Italian-American entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett. Much had improved by the mid-20th century.

See original here:
The Bigotry Toward Italian Immigrants - The New York Times

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October 20th, 2019 at 8:48 am

Posted in Self-Awareness