Stereotype This! Debunking Hollywood's Italian Stereotypes and Myths Stereotype This!  Debunking Hollywood's Italian Stereotypes and Myths Stereotype This! Debunking Hollywood's Italian Stereotypes and Myths
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The following quotations by notable and knowledgeable people shed some light on the Italian American predicament.
Dean Martin
(singer/actor, born Dino Crocetti)
I didn't like that film ("The Godfather"). What they did to the Italian people. There was no call for that. I've known a lot of gangsters and many of them were not Italian. They were Irishmen, Jews and All-American types.
  Tony Bennett
(singer/artist, born Anthony Benedetto)
"The Godfather" was a terrible, terrible movie, just pernicious. Despite its marvelous directorial techniques, it leads the audience to believe that organized crime is all Italian when in fact it includes every nationality.
Carl Marzani
(1930s political activist)
No ten-generation Yankee family like the Adams could ever make me feel inferior. I always said I'd rather be a pre-Columbian Roman than a post-Conneticut Yankee.  
  Dr. Joe Giordano
(co-author, "Ethnicity and Family Therapy.")
Mob movies combine two things that Americans love: violence and a sense of family. (The latter because so many of our own families are disintegrating.) Unfortunately, this has come at the expense of Italian American culture.
Edward James Olmos
(actor and Hispanic activist)
A show like "The Sopranos" caters to the lowest common denominator in our society. Italian Americans have been beaten up enough.  
  Richard Gambino
(author, "The Crisis of Italian American Identity.")
Italian American identity is in danger of being dissolved in a sea of inauthentic myths. Italian Americans shout "We Are!" but an army of those (in the media) who define them answers "Look who's talking! Criminals, buffoons, racists and cafoni (peasants)."
Adam Segall
(Jewish Anti-Defamation League)
Italian Americans have a point  
  anonymous American citizen These are your people, bitch. (Sent in a letter to Geraldine Ferraro with a photo of a murdered Italian criminal. Ferraro was the first woman and first Italian American to run as the vice-presidential candidate of a major political party, 1984.)
Mario Puzo
(author, "The Godfather")
The term "the godfather" was never used by Italian criminals. Never. It was a term I made up.  
  Ramsey Clark
(former U.S. Attorney General)
Organized crime is a very small part of America's crime. What does it have to do with the juvenile offender or with street crime, murder, rape, mugging, assault, robbery?. . . white collar crimes, protests, riots, school disturbances? The general violence in our environment is barely touched by organized crime. The greatest harm we could suffer from organized crime would be to distract us from the major problems we face if we are to control crime in America.
Harry Golden
(editor/reporter)
Has anyone, from the very beginning, had a worse press than the Italians? I doubt it. Their gangsters and bootleggers (no more and no less than other groups) have been splashed across the front pages of newspapers for decades . . . And yet, the remarkable thing is that the Italians do nothing about it.  
  anonymous Who Kill'a da Chief?
Mocking taunt used by a New Orleans mob before lynching 11 Sicilians found not guilty at a murder trial, the worst mass lynching in U.S. history (1891).
Stanley Tucci
(actor)
Hollywood has robbed Italian Americans of a lot. What's been done to our culture is repulsive and it's got to stop.  
  Francis Ford Coppola
(filmmaker of "The Godfather")
I knew nothing about Italian criminals. I just assumed that Italian criminals were just like average Italian families. It was as if you were making a film about Jewish traditions but didn't know any Jewish traditions.
From Cigar Aficionado magazine, October, 2003.
Edward James Olmos Dean Martin Tony Bennett Francis Ford Coppola
Presented by Bill Dal Cerro   Copyright 2001