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Watching Italian striker Mario Balotelli pose in black defiant majesty in yesterday's victory over Germany in the European Championship brought back some memories ...

When I first lived in Italy for a year in 1978 I was asked by my Italian friends, "why is there so much racism in America?" And I replied, after looking around and seeing nothing but what appeared to me to be all white Italians, "Because we HAVE races in America and you don't."

Ten years later I was in Florence, Italy, reading in the day's newspaper (La Repubblica) about a young Sicilian stripped naked at the city's Parco delle Cascine, "crucified" against a tree with syringes piercing his hands, holding him until the police arrived and took him to the hospital.

As usual when it comes to issues of race anywhere, things are never as simple as "Because we HAVE races and you don't."

Continue below for my ramblings and memories . . .

In 1978 I was staying with my step-father and mother in Naples, Italy. I spent a year learning what I thought was "Italian" on the Neapolitan streets. I thought "see you later" was pronounced "Ce verimm' aròppo" and when I asked where we were going to go next I'd say "aròiammo 'mo." I thought I was speaking Italian and to this day, after "proper" Italian language classes, I'm told I still have a southern accent.

Everybody in Naples looked white to me, and sounded the same to me. I saw no races and racism in Italy. When asked to discuss America (a favorite topic of their curiousity) I had difficulty explaining what it was like growing up in the Yakima Valley where bigotry towards Mexicans and Indians was a way of life (and I was usually on the dishing out end of the bigotry). I was raised that way.

It was hard to explain to "mi amici nappuletann'" and express any sense about the nuances of gang fights in the parks of Santa Fe Springs, California between "Las Canta Ranas" (The Singing Frogs) and "Peaceful Valley" (PV) who were the main Chicano gangs going at it there in the 1970's.

It was difficult to describe my feelings and what it was like seeing blood spattered in the bathrooms at Dominguez High in Compton where we were there for a cross country meet - we only allowed everyone who could run faster than 11 minutes run the race in order to keep together for safety as the course ran for a mile off campus.

It was confusing when I tried to tell them about my girlfriend's Chinese parents, and why they hated me because I was white (but not as much as her previous Japanese boyfriend).

Race and racism in America - it's in our blood, part of the American DNA. We deal with it as best we can; learn some, fail some. And deal with it.

I find it interesting that when someone says (usually after criticizing the President), "But it's not about race!" This implies the sub-text, "Well, other things are about race, just not THIS."

So, Florence, Italy. That's where I learned that race doesn't have to be about color. That's where I learned that to many Northern Italians a Sicilian isn't a real Italian. They're just "Meridionali" or "terroni." And if one looks at your sister wrong? Well, you can't have one of THEM sullying your family reputation. Take him to the Parco delle Cascine, work him over a bit, and leave him stuck to a tree, syringes through his hands, as a warning to all those other "mulignan'" down south.

A Friend of mine grew up in Florence. He looks like a Florentine. He has a Florentine accent. He's lived there his whole life. But since his parents were Sicilian, he wasn't considered a "real" Florentine.

Yeah, I found this all pretty weird. I was used to good old American brown, black, and skin colored racism. In Italy, despite my first experiences, I found that racism can have an element related to geographical latitude?

I considered this a little more personal education (not necessarily enlightenment) on the problematic issue of "race."

Are Italians (and Florentines here) as a group prone to being racists? No more than you or I. The Florentine community was as aghast and appalled at the "crucifixion" as I was. Earlier in the week, several Florentines and I spontaneously stood in front of a group of illegal African vendors on the Ponte Vecchio in order to shield them from the view of passing Carabinieri who were looking for illegal immigrants.

So where do I finish? It's never finished. You deal with it. You think. You listen. You talk. Maybe you change.

Or you just admire the audacity of a black Italian to stand on the international stage, and pose in defiance and majesty, saying: I exist. Deal with it.

11:05 AM PT: FYI, Mario Balotelli was adopted by his Sicilian mother at the age of three.

Originally posted to fugitive on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Community Spotlight, and Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yep (13+ / 0-)

    in Europe racism is about race but also latitude. The hate can be profound and ancestral just from valley to valley. History and culture matter just as much in it as skin color.

    •  I think the word for that is (11+ / 0-)

      bigotry, not racism per se.

      The diarist seems to conflate the two as well.

      I lived and worked in northern Italy back in the early 90s and yes, the North/South divide there is a dominant theme when you speak with northern Italians about domestic politics...or anything else relating to the "state of Italy".

      "I'm not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I'm not interested in debating them. I want to stop them." - Steve Gilliard

      by grog on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:17:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's both (8+ / 0-)

        sadly they are not exclusive traits

        •  Yeah, important to remember (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, a2nite, historys mysteries

          is that a lot of the cultural resentment is heavily tied to racial resentment at its root.

          All over the world, cultures shit on people for having a little bit a black blood in em - or thinking they do - whatever that "black blood' means to the region in question.

          It gets interwoven with regional, political, cultural resentments, but when people get angry and the bad stuff slips out, more often than not they go straight to the color thing.

      •  bigotry and/or prejudice? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, palantir

        Ethnic identifications, self-applied or by others can reflect many things including learned cultural prejudice, and can be illogically arbitrary and self-delusional.

        Basically, humans are social, heard animals that place a high premium on self-identification and group identification, which makes us tend to construct a foundation of why we are good and others bad, and it can be a pretty shaky foundation built more on sand than stones.

        You think people are really fair and open-minded and then incredible shit comes out of their mouths, like what you mention about the "north-south" divide (hardly unique to Italy).

        Go figure.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:07:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good post. Thanks for sharing. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuLu, JoanMar, historys mysteries

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:15:31 AM PDT

  •  Its tribalism (8+ / 0-)

    Thats in operation in the Italy you describe - same people different language and customs.

    I enjoyed your post

  •  Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico 2006 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slowbutsure, LuLu, chimene, koNko

    I can kinda sorta more or less read Spanish.

    So it was pretty confusing to pass by restaurants in Playa del Carmen and read signs that said "Se solicita empleado.  Se requiere buena presentacion".

    Why would you need to run Power Point to work in a T-Shirt shop or a bar?  The Walmart had Help Wanted signs, but they didn't say "se requiere buena presentacion".

    A Kossack clued me in.  Mariachi Mama pointed out that this is a Dog Whistle for "only light-skinned applicants need apply."

    •  My memories of that neighborhood (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Utahrd

      Two memories stand out...

      Sitting in a restaurant on Christmas day, talking to a teenaged waiter who explained that he had to work to support his family...

      Driving west the next day...Mexican residents searched, tourists passed on...

      "We want tourists...we hate residents???"

      Never went back. Too uncomfortable.

  •  Well, it is a lot different now. (12+ / 0-)

    I live in Rome and am married to an Italian.  My 2 kids go to Italian public schools.  We lived abroad for 8 years, returning here in 2010.  Before that, I lived here from 1997-99 and 2000-2002.  

    The city has changed a lot demographically in that time, truly becoming a multicultural city at last (or at least since antiquity).  Still, many Italians--should I call them ethnic Italians?--marvel at kids who are by now 2nd or 3rd generation Italians of Philippine descent, for example, who speak perfect Romanesco.  As if language was something genetically programmed instead of learned within a culture.  

    The racists of the Lega Nord (Northern League) managed to create major setbacks for young Italians of immigrant descent during Berlusconi's long period of governing.  Even Balotelli, born in Italy and raised by Italian parents, could not request citizenship until he turned 18.  

    The current economic crisis is not helping the transition to a multicultural society (you know, the "those people are stealing our jobs" bigoted argument), but Mario Monti's government fortunately has a much more rational and just approach to immigration and citizenship.  I'm hoping some changes to current law are made before Monti's term is up.  

    •  I'm about to open myself up for HRs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ruleoflaw, palantir

      But here's the thing:
      The way I check an American is by accent. If a person has an American accent, whatever the area (because American accents vary wildly), then that person is American. The parents may be American legally, and I'm not saying anything about them. But if you speak with any American accent, that means certain things. Usually what it means is that you've been here so long that you think of yourself as American, you probably grew up here, everything you know is American. I love immigrants, don't get me wrong, but if you speak with an American accent, you're fucking American, no matter if you have docs or where your parents came from.

      Warning: Erwin Schroedinger will kill you like a cat in a box. Maybe.

      by strandedlad on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:42:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In Norway people from North Norway (7+ / 0-)

    had a bit the same role as Sicilians and South Italians, they were nick-named polar-degos.  Often for fun, I think, but it wasn´t totally uncommon that people would add No North-Norwegians. when they advertised a room or appartment for rent.

    You may not pretend to be someone else, claim to be a race or gender or class or nationality you are not. Hunter

    by Mariken on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 02:34:25 PM PDT

  •  Very nice post. Thanks. (4+ / 0-)

    I am of Italian descent -  second generation on one side of my family, third on the other. My family is from the Abruzzi region of Italy.

    Everyone always joked (I never heard real rancor, just joking) that Sicilians weren't "real" Italians.

    But don't North Eastern Americans look down their noses at Southerners and vice-verse?

    Tribalism, racism - Fear of The Other.

    Still trying to think of something thought-provoking or hilarious for this space.

    by LuLu on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 04:12:05 PM PDT

    •  "Africani" (10+ / 0-)

      It is partly about race. My S. Italian grandfather's 'race' as noted on the ship's manifest when he came to the US (in the early 20th c.) was "S. European". In Rome, they say Africa begins south of Rome. In Florence, they say it includes Rome. Up in the north, they deny they belong to the Mediterranean at all, preferring to trace their descent to the Celts. "Mulignan" is Neapolitan dialect for 'eggplant' - meaning "black", and offensive. Some Italian Americans say that about black people in this country, secretly happy that somebody else can be considered lower than they were back in the old country.

      My experience in Rome is that everybody writes off Naples; Sicily is another planet, except people from the north come down for holidays on the beaches and it's safer than it used to be since the Mafia was curbed starting in the 90s. And even the Sicilians look down on those from Calabria.

      So it's a little more than 'tribalism', though it looks like that to many Americans. Some Italian cities were once Renaissance city-states; the Tuscans trace themselves back to the Etruscans - it's an endless search for the most authentic authenticity - for purity. And that is something that's is shared by many societies, in many times and places.

      You get what you deserve, even if you don't deserve it (Issan Dorsey, Zen teacher)

      by kayak58 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 04:47:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Calabrese look down on the Sicilians. (6+ / 0-)

        All my grandparents came from Calabria.  The term they used for Africans was tutsoon (phonetic spelling) which I think means dirty, muddy.  It's derogatory.  My father had relatives with the last name Africana, go figure.  But I've met red headed Calabrese (with skin that tanned).  This whole idea of bigotry and racism exists every where and it's the fear of the stranger.  We need to stand up for everyone as equal.    All of us of southern Italian decent have felt the bigotry of the northern Italians.  We've also felt the prejudice against Italian Americans here.  We aren't tall, blue eyed blonds.  Nor are we in the mafia or thugs.  We aren't stupid like all of Tony Danza's characters either.  

        •  Genghis Khan (3+ / 0-)

          had red hair and green eyes. I don't know why I am posting this here.

          Warning: Erwin Schroedinger will kill you like a cat in a box. Maybe.

          by strandedlad on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:45:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because there is no such thing as race (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            historys mysteries

            We are all the same species with a lot of variation in skin color, eye color, hair color and texture, and facial features, tooth shape and skull shape.  Kind of like dogs (they have a lot more variation).  

            Humans have traveled and bred.  Look at the peoples along the ancient silk road and you can see exactly what groups traveled that road.  And now that they can trace what region your DNA comes from, they can tell where your ancestors really came from.

            •  Yes, yes, yes (0+ / 0-)

              There are red heads with blue eyes ('tipo normano', the Norman (French) type) in Sicily. The Indian monk Bodhidharma, who brought Zen Buddhism to China, was the "blue eyed barbarian" who also had a red beard - in response to the Genghis Khan reference above.

              You get what you deserve, even if you don't deserve it (Issan Dorsey, Zen teacher)

              by kayak58 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:00:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  My great grandparents are from Calabria too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kayak58, historys mysteries

          Came to America in the 19-teens and managed to support a family of 12 by selling fruit by the side of the road.

        •  Believe me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, historys mysteries

          I'm with you. I'm Italian on both sides: 1/4 Sicilian, 1/4 Abruzzese, 1/2 Campagna. I was fascinated and horrified by The Sopranos, but not as offended as some Italian Americans, because, well, I have cousins in Jersey. (And BTW, a beloved aunt, my father's oldest brother's wife, who was a Calabrese. She rocked.) I am horrified, PERIOD, by The Jersey Shore. Those are the stereotypes that a lot of Americans go by.

          You get what you deserve, even if you don't deserve it (Issan Dorsey, Zen teacher)

          by kayak58 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:57:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  When visiting my cousins in Rome (5+ / 0-)

        I made the mistake of saying something about our family coming from Abruzzi - as I had been taught since I was a kid.

        No, they corrected me - we were from Molise - a province that became independent from Abruzzi in the early 1960s after constant pressure from the residents.

        We were of a "different stock" - their exact words - I remember it so clearly.

        Molise is the ancestral home of the Samnites - a fierce warlike people that would regularly defeat the Roman Legions.

        So we weren't descended from those Etruscan woosies, but those fierce Samnites.

        I was schooled.

        Do not click this link.

        by LuLu on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:06:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You raise an important point about Italy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        historys mysteries

        Traditionally, a feudalistic state, occasionally united but always self-identifying as city-states or provincial states.

        Like China, Japan, and much of South-East and Central Asia.

        People with now living experience in such cultures may not get the full depth of that.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:16:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When Rome fell the area was repopulated with (6+ / 0-)

    people from sounding states and countries, some which no longer exist.  The old roman population, especially the upper class left/disappeared out of fright after the city and nearby cities were raided and repopulated over and over for hundreds of years.  Squatters came, set up homes in surrounding areas.

    For Italy to believe all are descendants of the people from the Roman Empire period and prior is not surprising. Ethnicity is very strong.  It is what identifies a culture and A people, a hold to there identity.  Meanwhile what do they have to fear of a great man who is a great representative of the country?

    First Black Miss Italy

  •  I wrote this in a previous diary today. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra, koNko, historys mysteries
     * [new] As a proud daughter of a Siscilian American, I (8+ / 0-)
    Remember hearing that our heritage was often referred to as "black Irish".

    when dad was courting mom in Colorado during WWII, her family and town folk used the N word, she being blond blue eyed, German/Alsatian.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:02:48 PM PDT

  •  Race (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra, Chi, kayak58

    The idea of race is a cultural construct.

    A person with black skin color may be genetically closer to a fair skinned blond then to another black skinned person. Choosing skin color as opposed to eye color, economic class, language or geographic location as a separating trait is a cultural choice not based on genetics or science.

    It's about the human need to identify with a group. It's really arbitrary how the group is defined.

    •  You're mistaken. (3+ / 0-)

      What we consider race consists of superficial traits (skin color, shape of various facial features, color of hair, etc.). Those observable traits (phenotypes) are without question encoded in DNA. The traits that make us think "Indian" or "African" or "Japanese" are encoded genetically, even if the labels we attach to them are cultural. People haven't gone looking for them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. They do, and we definitely have enough data to find them. I don't know what the point would be, but it's definitely possible.

      > A person with black skin color may be genetically closer to a fair skinned blond then to another black skinned person.

      Theoretically possible but rather unlikely, and I challenge you to find actual evidence to support this claim.

      "The dirty secret is that Obama is a moderate conservative. If I were a liberal democrat, I probably would be upset." Bruce Bartlett

      by DrReason on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:44:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dr. Henry Louis Gates (0+ / 0-)

        had his own DNA analyzed and discovered that his European inheritance was greater than his African Inheritance. So I'm afraid you're the one who is mistaken. Genetically speaking, Gates is more Irish than African. Shows the speciousness the phenotypic model of race.

        •  DNA (0+ / 0-)

          The terms of any analysis such as you cite for Gates are first based on the concept that there are identifiable genetic, not just geographic, differences between peoples. But you seem to want to deny that there is phenotypic expression of those genes. The fact that any one individual seems more phenotypical of one group rather than another can't and doesn't simply lead to the denial of the existence of such groups—which is why the AKC looks at bloodline evidence, not just phenotypical traits.

          Oddly enough, although people man the ramparts when anyone suggests genetic intellectual differences, few seem put out when it is suggested, e.g., that blacks of W. African heritage benefit from a greater amount of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

          •  This is your issue not mine. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm simply relaying the results of the analysis as reported by Dr. Gates and the correlative that phenotypic characteristics aren't a reliable guide to a given individual's preponderant genetic inheritance. If you have a problem with this, I suggest you take it up with Dr. Gates or the scientists who carried out the analysis of his DNA. I'm just the messenger.

            •  Right (0+ / 0-)

              "phenotypic characteristics aren't a reliable guide to a given individual's preponderant genetic inheritance"

              No problem. I'm only pointing out that often they are.

              •  Race is an illusion (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WB Reeves
                Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.
                Skin color really is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin color have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence. Knowing someone's skin color doesn't necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.
                Most variation is within, not between, "races." Of the small amount of total human variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% can be found within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.
                "The concept of race is a social and cultural construction. . . . Race simply cannot be tested or proven scientifically,'' according to the policy statement issued by the American Anthropological Association. "It is clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. The concept of `race' has no validity . . . in the human species.'' Race is a socially defined concept that is used to categorize people according to their physical characteristics, and as such, a biologically meaningless category. It would be obvious by now that most people misuse the term "race," since the 'pure races' or genetically homogeneous human populations alluded to, do not exist, nor is there any valid evidence that they have ever existed.
                •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                  that's one version of things. If it makes you feel better to term race an enduring social construct, that's fine. It remains true that certain phenotypes prevail in clear enough patterns that race is one of the most obvious and persistent ways in which humans classify other humans—scientific classification not being the sole form of classification or the arbiter of any other form. The lack of unambiguous, clearly demarcated biological markers doesn't eliminate the phenomenon.

                  •  In other words (0+ / 0-)

                    You believe in "race" as a matter of personal aesthetics. There's a word for that.

                    •  Aesthetics (0+ / 0-)

                      How about you do a survey: you will ask ask, say, a random sample of 1,000,000 worldwide whether they believe there is such a phenomenon as race. Get back to us with the results.

                      BTW, if there is no such thing as race, who are these deluded folk demanding justice for this or that race of which they think they are a member? Should we just tell them that they are mistaken in believing that there are any such dividing lines among humans?

                      •  survey (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        WB Reeves, fugitive

                        Popular belief about subjects like whether the earth is flat or ho w the universe was created are not going to determine whether or not something is true.

                        As far as racism. Racism is NOT based on genetics, biology or science. It's based on ignorance. If a group of people are discriminated against based on economic class, sexual preference, skin color or national origin that should be remedied but it doesn't mean that the ignorant prejudice which classifies one of these characteristics as a 'race' has any basis in reality. It has a basis in a cultural construct based on ignorance.

                        •  You can cover your eyes (0+ / 0-)

                          all you want in fear of that dread word "racism," but the recognition that there are phenotypical regularities in species isn't pernicious racism. To use an absolutely benign instance, a peach and a nectarine are different fruits in the marketplace, but are botanically identical.

                          And you really didn't address my question of all these millions of people all over the world who clearly see that there are some who look like them and some who don't. I suppose we have to instruct them that they are mistakenly classifying things based on looks, that they are in fact racists. When they ask why there exist such constellations of appearances that they imagine races to exist, we will tell them to stop asking meaningless questions.

                          Here's a more serious real-world political question for you: assuming the case for slavery reparations was entirely successful and the U.S. government decided to pay out those reparations, to whom should they pay them? People who can prove actual descent from an actual slave? People with dark skin? People with caucasian features (I use the term advisedly) but who claim that since they are as genetically Afro-American as anyone else, they should share in the pie?

                          •  Here's a question for you (0+ / 0-)

                            Are you really so arrogant as to imagine that your arguments aren't utterly transparent?

                            This thread began over a question of scientific fact. You would know this if you'd bothered to look at the parent of my comment before posting a "reply". Appeals to prejudice and ignorance have no place in discussions of scientific fact.

                            If you want to claim that arguments based on ingrained bigotry deserve the same consideration as those based on scientific fact, feel free. However, no one is obliged to treat that assertion with anything other than the contempt it deserves.

                            Equally contemptible is the effort to divert the discussion into extraneous political questions, evidently to serve some agenda of your own.  


                          •  The only thing contemptible (0+ / 0-)

                            is your small-minded arrogance in accusing me of racism, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice. Unlike you, I can both read and think—you've got only the canned comments of an ideologue. Me, I was reading and thinking about Ashley Montagu before you were born. What a maroon!

                          •  If you can read and think (0+ / 0-)

                            you're clearly choosing to do neither here.

                            I haven't accused you of racism. I've not even used that word. Neither did I describe you personally as prejudiced and ignorant. I described your argument that widely held popular bias and myth trump scientific fact as an appeal to prejudice and ignorance. A description that is entirely accurate. One can't advance such a notion without asserting that ingrained bigotry deserves the same consideration as scientific fact, again an entirely accurate description.

                            As for your reading the late Ashley Montague, good for you. What you think that proves is anyone's guess.

                            BTW, what makes you think you're older than than me? Or is that just another thoughtless, unsubstantiated assertion on your part?    

                          •  I see (0+ / 0-)

                            It's not me, only my arguments that are bigoted and worthy of contempt because they appeal to prejudice and ignorance. So much better.

                            I figured I was older than you based on the immature character of your reasoning—not, I suppose, to be confused with you yourself. BTW, next time you read him, possibly you'll get the name right—it's Montagu, as I spelled it. No "e."

                          •  That's right (0+ / 0-)

                            I gave you the benefit of a doubt and didn't assume that the character of your argument necessarily reflected your personal character.

                            If your idea of "mature" reasoning encompasses treating popular prejudice and unfounded assumption as fact, I really can't be too concerned about what you consider immature.


                  •  One version (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    WB Reeves

                    Yes, it is the scientific version of things. Of course that doesn't stop people from just making stuff up.

                    •  Science (0+ / 0-)

                      Science: Light bouncing off a surface enters the eye, causing a reaction on the retina that sends electrical impulses to the brain which becomes chemically active in certain places.

                      Phenomenon: Looks like it's going to be a nice day.

                      Science is one description of the world. It is not the only description, nor is everything else, "just making stuff up."

  •  His posing was extremely stupid (0+ / 0-)

    because he got a yellow card for taking off his shirt, which meant that if he got another yellow he would be ejected, Italy would be down to 10 men for the rest of the game and he'd miss the final.

    I'm 100% against racism in sports and everywhere else. There are a lot of racist remarks and chants that he gets which are terrible, and a lot of the heat that he gets certainly is based on race. But a lot of the heat that Balotelli gets is because he does dumb stuff (like taking off his shirt and getting a yellow card) on a regular basis.

    There's definitely an element of racism (see that King Kong cartoon published in an Italian newspaper), but the post-goal pose was stupid for a different reason.

    When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

    by PhillyJeff on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:43:10 PM PDT

    •  1968 Olympics flashback (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BentLiberal, koNko, Nespolo

      Damn, I'm old-- I remember this:

      Black Power gesture

      (IOC) president, Avery Brundage, deemed it to be a domestic political statement, unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were supposed to be. In an immediate response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Games.

      A spokesman for the IOC said it was "a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit."[3] Brundage, who was president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936, had made no objections against Nazi salutes during the Berlin Olympics. He argued that the Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was acceptable in a competition of nations, while the athletes' salute was not of a nation and therefore unacceptable.[9] However, this rationalization relied upon public ignorance that it was contradicted by the IOC Charter itself, which has always stipulated that, "the Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries."[10]

      "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

      by LucyandByron on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 05:51:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only in a soccer sense, at best (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      strandedlad, Chi, koNko, palantir, Nespolo
      His posing was extremely stupid (0+ / 0-)

      because he got a yellow card for taking off his shirt ...

      But seeing as he didn't get another yellow card, and he played the rest of the game I think the declaration of his stupidity is a curious reaction, given all the possible reactions.


      Also, not sure what you're getting at here:

      I'm 100% against racism in sports and everywhere else. There are a lot of racist remarks and chants that he gets which are terrible, and a lot of the heat that he gets certainly is based on race. But a lot of the heat that Balotelli gets is because he does dumb stuff (like taking off his shirt and getting a yellow card) on a regular basis.
      But this paragraph could be read that the racist chants are justified because he brings it on himself, for doing "dumb stuff."
    •  no, it was fine. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      he earned the ability to take off his shirt when he put them up 2-0. It's a routine thing to celebrate in a prohibited way and get a yellow card, after having scored a decisive goal.

      Democratic Governors Association on: Mitt Romney's economic plan

      by distraught on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:24:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  African Italians during Roman empire (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayak58, koNko, WB Reeves, ybruti

    The playwright Terence  St. Augustine  the Emperor Septimius Severus who was one of the more competent emperors.  

    Ostia and the Bay of Naples had plenty of resident Africans who were involved in shipping, and archaeological evidence indicates retired soldiers of African origin all over the empire.

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

    by LucyandByron on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:01:19 PM PDT

  •  Ramblings... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayak58, koNko

    I remember a scene from a great movie, "Streets of New York" that showed how low the Irish Immigrants were viewed as they got off the boat in New York...

    And in some other forum, I'll tell the story of how my dark-skinned Italian lawyer son is treated when he crosses the Canada-US border...

    But more to your point, let's admit that bigotry still exists in this country and work to get rid of it.

  •  But isn't it really again mostly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    strandedlad, Chi

    about African vs European? Black vs white.

    In Italy

    Isn't the South thought of that way basically because people say there's (GASP!!) African blood mixed in there?

    And oh, those Northern Italians are sooo close to Switzerland.... ooooohhhh.

    Sometimes I think people can go a long long way out of the way just to end up back at the same place.

    It's like in South and Central America. Basically, despite all the nuances (and yes, they exist) it comes down to a greyscale from blanco to negro, and where you fall on that scale is how "clean" you are.

    I think a lot of the cultural resentments are usually rooted back in the racial resentments ultimately, even if they involve the silliest most absurd levels of nonesense, like 2% African blood in your heritage.

    To a neonazi or a softcore wannabee neonazi, evidently this crap matters.

    It's all so small and ugly and pointless, especially in an Internet world.

  •  Mario Balotelli rocks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In every way possible, and that victory pose says it all. Favorable comparisons to Muhammad Ali are not over-blown.

    I think what you are trying to say is that "ethic" differences, or more precisely, the heard instinct embedded in humanity, is not merely based on "race" and a universal problem that never quite goes away so one we have to deal with.

    I agree, and because I had, perhaps, the opposite experience of growing up in what appears to be (but is not actually) an more "Racially homogenous" country, then living in the USA where I became, instantly, part of a small minority and learning what that means, and then returning home to find the place had completely changed - where did all this incredible diversity (and conflict, and prejudice) suddenly come from.

    My advice: be the change you want, and pick your fights wisely.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:52:18 PM PDT

  •  Penetrating post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and very interesting comments.
    I'm really surprised overseas people are so well informed about my country, but yes this is Daily Kos!

    P.S.: forza azzurri for tomorrow final!

    Siamo tutti parte del sogno - We are all part of the dream

    by libero7 on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 01:50:08 AM PDT

  •  mulignan translates to eggplant (0+ / 0-)

    According to my Italian grandparents, the color of eggplant was imagery for darker skin color.

  •  Italian Immigrants To America Were Barely "White" (0+ / 0-)

    Italian immigrant were some of the last European immigrants to arrive. Notice how many towns have Irish names, but few have Italian names.  The Italians came not speaking English, they were swarthy, and worst of all they were Catholic at a time of intense anti-Catholic prejudice.

    So today it cracks me up to meet Hispanics who don't consider themselves "white" who are two shades lighter skinned than the Italian kids I grew up with.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:22:16 AM PDT

  •  hmmm - you just brought back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wildthumb, a2nite

    memories from my time in Italy with a Northern Italian upper class family.

    I expressed a desire to visit southern Italy and my hostess asked, with a raised eyebrow, "why would you want to spend time with Africani?"

    Her opinion of anything below Rome was negative.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 08:02:57 AM PDT

  •  My mother's people came from Tuscany (Florence and (0+ / 0-)

    Siena) and my father's people came from Naples and Salerno.

    Growing up my parents had conflicts over classism mainly, not racism. My father knew that my mother's attitude was that his people were from bassa Italia, "lower" Italy. This and other factors contributed I think to my father's sense of inferiority.

    But boy, did my father and his brothers, as Italian-Americans, show abominable racism toward black people in Pittsburgh, PA. Growing up, they called them tizzun (hard to transliterate this word) and mulinyan (which you may have heard if you saw The Sopranos.

    Now I'm trying to shed all that classism and racism I grew up with. It's not a pretty burden. But progress can start with awareness.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 09:10:34 AM PDT

  •  Has anyone seen the movie "True Romance?" (0+ / 0-)

    If not, there is a scene in the film where Dennis Hopper is confronted by the mob led by Christopher Walken. Hopper's son, Christian Slater, ran off with a suitcase full of cocaine and Walken and company went to Hopper's trailer home to find out where Slater was. Since Hopper wouldn't tell the mob the truth and he knew he was going to die, here's the scene:

    I hope I didn't insult anyone by showing this clip. By the way, the screenwriter of "True Romance" was Quentin Tarantino.

    "Do they call you Rush because you're in a rush to eat?" -"Stutterin' John" Melendez to Rush Limbaugh.

    by Nedsdag on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 10:28:42 AM PDT

  •  This is not uncommon... (0+ / 0-)

    I just had a debate with a rightie who said Canada had universal health Care and all that other nice shit because it's more homogenous then us. He meant they're all white Canadians, which is true. They're about 80% white, whereas we're only about 2/3 white.

    But that's using extremely Amero-centric definitions of diversity. In almost every other country there's less racial diversity, but an awful lot of them manage to have more diversity total. Canada's ruling ethnic group, for example, is clearly the English-speakers. The French have it pretty good as minorities go, frequently running the country, but they are also clearly at the mercy of their Anglophone neighbors. They are also a quarter of the population. Canada's foreign-born population is extremely high (20-25%), and they've got more of what we'd call "Native Americans" (called Aboriginals) then us at 4%. A lot of that 20% non-white I mentioned is captured in the Aboriginals or foreign-born, but not all of it is.

    So by any definition of Canadian diversity that is based on what Canadians think, Canada is majority-minority.

  •  Euro football loaded w/ tribal sentiment (0+ / 0-)

    Football can bring out the worst in people over there.  The World Cup is pretty much the only context where the Germans feel comfortable expressing any kind of national identity and pride ... now imagine how other countries without such a [recently] bloody history feel.  I saw on Youtube about how the ferocious rivalry between Glasgow's two local teams that goes far beyond the sport itself to become both facade and outlet for intense ethnic and religious divisions.

    It's not hard to imagine that at some point, it's not enough to be an excellent player, you have to embody the tribal self-image.  The players may be commodities to the teams' owners, who want the best no matter what color they are or what country they're from, but they're champions in the fullest sense of the word to the fans: even more than winning, their job is to "represent".

    I imagine that what offends many Italians is not that Mr. Balotelli is black, it's that he's black while being on "their" team: the Italian national team.  To argue that he's an excellent player, a powerful asset, and above all a statement of 21st Century Italy is to miss the point completely.  The normal politics of football aside, there's also something in the Italian character that would rather see a team of paisani go down to defeat than win with an adopted black man, because such a defeat would be "our" defeat: it affirms and unites us as Italians nonetheless.  Likewise, there's a feeling that this is not "our" victory, but somehow "his" victory instead, especially since people keep talking about him.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 11:05:26 AM PDT

  •  there are some really anti-Italian (0+ / 0-)

    racist rants on youtube. Unbelievably stupid stuff.

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