Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Italian Immigrant Experience (8)

Most of the Italian immigrants settled in the cities, establishing their own communities, where they could be free to speak their own language, eat their own ethnic foods, practice their customs and religion as if back in their homeland, without any hindrance. These communities were designated as "Little Italy". The early Italian immigrants were not welcomed in America; they would be verbally abused by name calling such as "wop," "guinea," and "dago." The Immigrants were constantly subjected to abuse, because the Americans would accuse them of taking away their jobs, by willing to work for much less than they would. Often stereotyped and discriminated against, the Italian immigrant suffered verbal and physical abuse because they were "different." Several of these numerous incidents can be found in the following: Injustice to Italian Laborers in the United States and The Wartime Violations of Italian American Civil Liberties Act.

"Sons of Italy did much to soften the humiliating status of "wops" in the cities. They offered a large measure of psychological compensation through the Italian-American program of keeping alive a love for Italy, retaining the Italian language alongside of English, and in stressing Columbus Day as a symbol of solidarity between America and Italy." (5)

Despite such discouragement, Italians have made major contributions to the economic strength of America and to a richer cultural diversity, in the field of arts, music, education, language, and cuisine. Many have climbed the political ladder, most prominently Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, both sons of Italian immigrants. Rudolph Giuliani is currently running as a candidate for the office of President of the United States. An amazing accomplishment for the Italian-American people.

For more information on the Italian community, a visual look at how the Italian Immigrant lived as well as to read this article in its entirety please visit the Italian Community in the Ethnic section of

Goodbye for now..............until the next time............when "Mimi Speaks."

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