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Bias Against Italian-Americans

Letter to the Editor, New York Times, September 18, 2010

Re “Unlikely Group Accuses CUNY of Ethnic Bias” (front page, Sept. 15):

Is an affirmative action lawsuit against the City University of New York unwarranted if the aggrieved party belongs to a politically incorrect ethnicity?

Though a judge will ultimately decide the CUNY case on the merits, the court of public opinion has already found the notion of anti-Italian discrimination to be as bizarre as it is risible.

Despite the prevailing Equal Employment Opportunity laws — and the concept of federally protected classes — Italian-Americans are not usually accorded the same legal or societal safeguards as other minorities. Anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny and homophobia are clearly repugnant — and unlawful in the workplace. But Italophobia is much ado about Guido, the oafish Other of “The Sopranos” and “Jersey Shore” fame.

America has prospered exponentially thanks to the talents and abilities of the astronaut Michael Massimino, the Nobel prize-winning physicist Riccardo Giacconi, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the planetary scientist Carolyn Porco and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito of the Supreme Court.

Human capital is a most precious commodity. And in times of economic duress, ethnic discrimination diminishes the gross domestic product, stifles innovation and erodes our national character.

Rosario A. Iaconis
Vice Chairman, Italic Institute of America
Mineola, N.Y., Sept. 15, 2010

 
 

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