'Sopranos' Stereotypes
The New York Times Editorials/Letters section, March 6, 2001
used by permission

To the Editor:

    Re "The Roots of 'Sopranos' Grew From Cagney Film" (TV Notes, Feb. 28):

    David Chase, creator of "The Sopranos," wrote and directed episodes of "Northern Exposure," a series about a Jewish doctor in Alaska, and "I'll Fly Away," about a noble black housekeeper in the segregated South. Yet when it came to writing about his own heritage, Mr. Chase (whose family name was De Cesare) presents us with Tony Soprano, a murderous, inarticulate, foul-mouthed mob boss.

    Apparently, he, too, has fallen under the spell of the entertainment industry's decades-long stereotyping of Italian-Americans as goons or buffoons. A report last year from the Italic Studies Institute revealed that of the 1,078 movies about Italians or Italian-Americans made in the United States between 1928 and 2000, 73 percent portray us in a negative light.

Frank J. Guarini
Jersey City, Feb. 28, 2001
The writer is chairman of the National Italian American Foundation

 

 

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