Growing up as an Italian-American has given me a special point of view on American society. When I was in college I was far more to the left than the average liberal. Therefore, I spent a lot time with other dyed-in-the-wool left-wingers. I suggest you do the same at some point in the future. It will be the best education you’ve ever received.
For my more liberally minded readers, I’d tell you to go hang out with your local Tea Party or other similar group. You may find that the stereotype labels attributed to conservatives just aren’t true.
I know those were wasted words. If you’re a liberal, then you think of yourself as too enlightened or superior to those conservative “cave men.” It’s a great excuse that most liberals use to prevent themselves from hearing a different opinion (something else that I’ve noticed over the years).
I do prefer the term Libertarian rather than conservative. I don’t consider myself either a Democrat or a Republican. However, most liberals will paint me with the same wide brushstrokes that they use on conservatives. Therefore, I have to tolerate the conservative stereotypes brandished and distributed by the “lamestream” media.
The following paragraph is not true.
As a conservative I like to get my baseball bat and beat on anyone trying to enter or exit a Gay Bar. I also like to burn crosses if a black family makes the mistake of moving into the neighborhood. If I meet a guy named José at church, I immediately ask him for his green card. My wife is barefoot and pregnant all the time. She’s not allowed out of the house alone, and spends most of her time kneeling at my feet (next to the dog) waiting for my next command. When I’m tired of kicking puppies or clubbing baby seals to death (bludgeoning gets old in about ten minutes), I go to the local firing range because their targets are old department store mannequins dressed up to look like Cherokees and Asian businessmen. After dispelling a few rounds of ammunition, my fellow conservative neanderthals and I throw some pork chops at a Mosque and then spray paint swastikas in front of the Synagogue. Now we’ve worked up a thirst and it’s over to the local pub. It’s a great place where anyone (as long as they are white and protestant) can relax amongst friends.
A student was so sick and tired of his liberal professor’s stereotyping rants that he took this video. As I searched YouTube, I found that there were many such examples.
And here’s the difficult truth.
Gay couples attended my wedding. I’ve been friends with them for years. I’ve dated black and Asian women. I volunteer at the church, sweating in a kitchen and serving food to guys named José and others. My wife wears camouflage and combat boots. From time to time she gets deployed to the other side of the world. She doesn’t do the cooking and serving, I do. My cats are quite spoiled. I don’t go to the firing range because I don’t own a gun. I own a copy of the Koran. I’ve taught myself Biblical Hebrew, because I was obsessed with all things Judaica in my youth. I thought it was a better way to understand Catholicism. Did I say Catholicism? I guess I can’t hang out at the pub now. Well, I do anyway because it really is a place where everyone is welcomed.
So what do the liberal / conservative labels have to do with being an Italian-American?
Well, remember I used to hang out with them a lot in my younger days. Also, I’ve had to associate myself with liberal writers in critique groups, or coexist with them on the job in my teaching career. Here are a few anecdotes about what liberals have done and said to me over the years. Just for the record, no “cave man” conservative has ever said or done anything like the following to me.
“Wow like you’re Italian. Are you going to open up a pizzeria or something?”
“Um…no, I’m pulling a double major in Cinema Studies and History, because I’d like to be a professor.”
“Jane told me that you’re Italian. Is that true?”
“You got any mafia connections? I really need to get out of a speeding ticket.”
I’ve lost count of the amount of liberals who always wanted to talk to me about the latest episode of The Sopranos. Why did I have to constantly remind them that I’ve never watched and will never watch one minute of it? Then they preach to me that the show shouldn’t upset me because it is a true depiction of Italians.
My all-time favorite (and I just experienced this one yet again a few weeks ago) is when someone who speaks Oxford and Cambridge English switches their speech pattern upon discovery that I have an Italian heritage. They start with “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” and gravitate toward “Hey yo, howudoin’ fuhgeddabowdit,” in just a few seconds.
This is a blog post not a novel. But If I wanted to write about all of the things I’ve had happen to me at the hands of rabid-politically-correct “tolerant” liberals, it would turn out to be a book….hmmm now there’s a novel idea. O.K., color me convinced, it’s time to start making notes for a new novel. Perhaps it will be a family saga about the Italian-American experience and how the stereotyping and prejudices have not changed over the years.
I know that my examples are personal. But believe me I know the history of the Italian-American experience. I’ve read books, took classes, attended lectures, and have done research at university libraries and at The Center for Migration Studies.
There will be much to come in the next few weeks. I felt it necessary to start this blog category with an introduction which clearly defines where I stand, and a few reasons for my particular position.
My next post in this category will concern ethnic representation in film and television.