Letter to the Editor,
New York Times,
January 30, 2010
Re “Discussing That Word That Prompts Either a Fist Pump or a Scowl” (Arts pages, Jan. 23):
Attendees at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute’s “Guido culture” seminar ignored one sad sociological reality: The big lie lives.
Though theirs is a culture that helped spawn Western civilization, the scions of Italy are, in my opinion, the least respected members of America’s ethnic pantheon.
Though Italian-Americans have achieved great success in every professional, legal, scientific and entrepreneurial field, they possess a negative media profile.
Incessant stereotyping has made Italophobia a safe and highly profitable suburban prejudice. “Jersey Shore” is but the latest manifestation of America’s disdain for an ethnicity it gleefully considers the preserve of “Guidos” or “gangsters.”
This demonization of a people is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions that raises the question: “Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, Shrunk to this little measure?”
Rosario A. Iaconis
The Italic Institute of America
Mineola, N.Y., Jan. 25, 2010