February 27, 2011
Italian Americans and Discrimination
It may be hard to tell by my name, but I am from Italian descent and have a hard time relating to my heritage. I have never had a problem with this fact until this assignment, and now I truly want to find out more about the culture and heritage that I come from. After doing some research, it is plain to me that even Italian Americans face discrimination and prejudice. This is not only true in this day and time, but history also shows that Italian immigrants to this country were met with quite a large amount of discriminatory actions. Between the years 1880-1920 more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States; the largest amount of immigrants by a single race or ethnic group to the United States in such a short time (Rapczynski, 1999). They fled their home country to ours in order to get away from the poverty that they were suffering from in search for a better life. When they arrived however, they were immediately faced with discrimination. They were tested for every known disease, tested for mental deficiency, and deported back to Italy if they showed signs of either. Those that showed no signs of either were passed on to Immigration Inspectors in order to be interrogated (Rapczynski, 1999). The Italian immigrants faced a number of types of discrimination, including stereotypes, racism, dual labor market, and environmental justice issues. Assimilation to America was hard for the immigrants because they were seen as incompetent and feared due to their Catholic religion (Italian Americans Presentation, n.d.). Nearly a hundred years later, Italian Americans are still facing stereotypes and other forms of discrimination that seem to be without end. For more than 35 years Italian Americans claim to have been passed over for jobs by the City University of New York (Foderaro, 2010). Apparently they are...