Friday, April 20, 2007

If There's an Ethnic Slur, can an Italian-American be far Behind?


Lest you think ethnic slurs against Italian-Americans are few and far between, take a look at a recent column by Michael P. Tremoglie in The Evening Bulletin of Philadelphia, entitled "Some Ethnic Slurs Are More Equal Than Others."

He does a good job of putting the problem in perspective. He also does a good job of pointing out the double standard that exists when it comes to slurring IAs.

Tremoglie, a writer and ex-Philadelphia cop, using the databases of The Order of the Sons of Italy of America (OSIA) and the National Italian-American Federation (NIAF), documents some of the more recent slurs against IAs in the media.

Some of his examples include:

  • During the Nov. 2, 2005 Don Imus show, his Executive Producer Bernard McGuirk, who initiated the conversation about the Rutgers women's basketball team, called Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito a "meatball sucking wop."
  • Star 93.7 radio in Boston in 2004 played the offensive song, "The Twelve Days of Guido Christmas," which depicts Italian-Americans in a particularly unflattering manner.
  • David Letterman's July 28, 2006 opening monologue, plugged the movie "Miami Vice" with the comment, "I have a part ... . I play a pimp named Guido!"

According to Tremoglie:

The idea is that slurring and stereotyping Italian-Americans is acceptable. One has to wonder why it is that insults against Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, Chinese-Americans (Rosie O'Donnell also targets this race) are not acceptable, while similar terms used to describe Italian-Americans are? Why does the double standard exist? Why should any double standard exist in journalism?

There are plenty more examples of this kind that just slip by every day. The only time you hear about any of these is when someone complains loud enough to be listened to.

Double standard indeed.

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