Italian Pride and Heritage

by The Other Guy | March 7, 2020

The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo

As of today, Cosa Nostra is hurting in both quality and capable manpower, and rackets to operate. Lots of racketeers but no rackets to operate does not a mob make! The best and the brightest of the Italian people have been long ago integrated into the American mainstream. And their children, and their children’s children are on the highest trajectory of success, and have melded into the American dream.

A good thing? Of course! But with everything you achieve in life you give something up. Everything is a tradeoff in life. And although today Italians have reached the pinnacle of success in the fields of politics, big business, Hollywood and the like. Something is amiss.

I personally feel that with these “achievements”, a bit of our Italian culture has been lost to the ages. We have become a bit too “Americanized” for my taste. And although I love this country we call America (named by the way after the Italian explorer Americo Vespucci), my love for my base heritage – being 100% Italian – is very near and dear to me. And I’ve tried to raise my children to appreciate all that we are as Italians. To embrace the rich history that Italy has, and carry forward the pride and knowledge that has been handed down by our forefathers. My father and mother, grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts, and of course, my great-grandparents, and our forefathers before them.

I must say that in the scheme of things, my kids still fare pretty well on the scale of comparison with many of their friends and schoolmates. Most of those children do not have a clue about their heritage. Be they Italian, Jewish, Irish, Greek, etc., Today, all families face the same dilemma in that the “americanization” of our youth (and ourselves for that matter), have taken such center stage as to blur our past. Our families wanted so much to be accepted by the Americans and achieve the “American Dream” that we were quick to dismiss our past.

In retrospect, a horrible thought!…. Only in the last twenty years or so I notice many young couples again starting to name their newborns with classic Italian names like Antonio and Antonia, Francesco and Francesca, Camillo and Camilla. Slowly but surely these European names are making a comeback, becoming en vogue again. Its good to see! And everything Italian is becoming “cool” again. Where decades ago young Italian parents cringed at naming their son after his grandfather Giuseppe or Calogero, instead giving the child an anglicized version of Joseph or Charles. Today, its the reverse, they totally embrace those old-time Italian names with a passion.

It’s good to see! But we need more. And in different areas….I notice that many schools don’t offer Italian in language studies choices. Why? With a total population of one of the largest ethnicities in this country there is no reason for it. Especially in schools located in major U.S. cities where there is a huge Italian populous. It is important to keep our beautiful language front and center for those children who want to learn.

And we are under attack in other areas as well. Columbus Day for example. Not to rehash the whole debate, but please read the wonderful article and viewpoint of the reporter from The New York Post that we’ve posted up on this page. I think she explained it best. Much better than I or many could do.

In spite of the monumental achievements that we, the Italian people have made over the last fifty-sixty years, there is still a bit of work to do. There is still an underlying subtle prejudice against anyone with a vowel at the end of their name. I think people at large don’t even recognize it sometimes, but it’s there. Not by all certainly, but by a select few who still harbor preconceived ideas about all Italians. We are sometimes viewed or portrayed as “buffoons” or “ignorant blue collar” workers. A favorite old standby of course is the portrayal of all Italians as being “connected” or as “gangsters”. Our detractors have gotten a lot of mileage out of that one!

Today, we are prominent lawyers, doctors, scientists, accountants, captains of industry and leaders in every conceivable field of endeavor…..nonetheless, the smears continue. Oh, maybe not to our faces. But under their breaths there are still some who harbor those beliefs. But Italians are nothing if not thick skinned! We have been subjected to these types of things since we came to this country. From the very first steps our first forefathers placed on American soil, we’ve heard them. Wop’s, Guinea’s, Spaghetti snappers, Dago’s, etc. Lol….. in thinking about it, I must say that whoever thinks these names up certainly gave us more than our fair share of insulting names. Off the top of my head I could think of over 14. Wow!….. we certainly captured their attention that’s for sure!

I am so proud to be an American. And I’m so proud of where I originally come from. My people. The Italian people. I try and treat all people with respect. The same respect that I look for in life. And although I don’t claim the Italian heritage to be better or above any other ethnicity, we certainly more than hold our own matched against any other culture in the world. We Italians have been in the forefront of civilization and culture since the beginning of time. Our achievements are boundless and legendary!

In closing, let me say that I created this website partially to entertain and partially to educate the interested public not only about this phenomena known the world over as the Mafia, but to also peel away the many layers of a very complex people – yes some of whom became outlaws – to try and show the “human” side of “this thing”. A highly sophisticated people who, even in criminality, had a vision secondary to none. Who else the world over, has ever even come close to formulating and shaping an organization that has stood the test of time the way that Cosa Nostra has? Nobody that’s who! Hundreds of years later and it’s still a viable entity… THAT’S genius!

🇮🇹 🇮🇹 🇮🇹 🇮🇹 🇮🇹

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