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3*"The Heart in the Suitcase"
Book List
ENGLISH TRANS. P. 107 -- 115
Translation p. 115 --119

              TITLE LIST:
6.    23 MAGGIO 1992

1.     Zogby report  on Stereotypes
from niaf webpage:

Submitted to:

Submitted by:
MARCH 1, 2001

Rebecca Wittman at Zogby International (315) 624-0200
John Marino at The National Italian American Foundation (202)387-0600 

In the Summer of 2000, Zogby International interviewed 1,264 teenagers nationwide between the ages of 13 and 18. [Males: 591; Females: 673].

The purpose of the survey was to determine whether or not teen-agers in general and Italian American teen-agers in particular perceive stereotyping on television and in the movies and if they do, how such stereotyping affects them. Teen-agers of different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds participated in the survey, including: Northern Europeans (446); Italian Americans (321); Eastern Europeans (56); Central/South Americans (61); African Americans (54); Asians & Pacific Islanders (28); and Middle Easterners (10). The margin of error is +/-3%/ Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Note: percentages are rounded off.

  • When asked to identify the role a person of a particular ethnic or racial background would be most likely to play in a movie or on television, teen agers cited familiar stereotypes:

    African American:  Athlete, gang member, police officer
    Arab American: Terrorist, convenience store clerk
    Asian American: Physician/lawyer, CEO, factory worker
    Hispanic: Gang member, factory worker
    Italian American: Crime boss, gang member, restaurant worker
    Jewish American: Physician/lawyer, CEO, teacher
    Irish American: Drunkard, police officer, factory worker
    Polish American: Factory worker

Movie roles that link Italian Americans with crime (44%) and portray Arab Americans as terrorists (34%) receive the highest percentages of all from the teen-agers surveyed nationally. Among the other findings:

  • 32% say African Americans are portrayed as athletes; another 31% say they are gang members while nearly 11% see African American characters as police officers.

  • 34% of the teens nationwide say that the media typecast Arab Americans as terrorists while another 49% see them as vendors or convenience store clerks.

  • Teens expect Asian Americans to have more varied roles: 19% say they are physicians or lawyers; 13% say they are likely to be executives; 12% say factory workers.

  • 27% of the teens say they see Hispanics on TV or in the movies as gang members and 17% say a Hispanic could be a factory worker.

  • Irish Americans are usually cast as drunkards (26%), police officers (15%) or factory workers (11%), according to the teens in the survey.

  • 44% of teens say that Italian Americans are most often cast as crime bosses or gang members; and 34% associate Italian Americans with restaurant workers.

  • 22% of the teens find a doctor or a lawyer on TV and in the movies is apt to be Jewish American. 10% see Jewish Americans cast as teachers.

  • Polish Americans do not fit any one stereotype, with 15% saying this ethnic group fits the image of a factory worker, and 31% of teens saying they are "not sure" what part a Polish American would play on TV or in the movies.

When asked specifically to identify the role a character of Italian background would be most likely to have in a movie or on television, most teen-agers, including Italian Americans, cited crime boss: African American teens (41%); Italian American teens (38%); Northern European teens (32%) and Jewish teens (32%).

  • When describing roles for Italian Americans, teens who view no TV are less likely to say "crime boss": 27% compared to teens who watch one to two hours a day (34%) and those who watch more than five hours a day (35%).

  • When Italian American teens were asked if their ethnic heritage was accurately portrayed on television or in the movies, 46% agreed and nearly 30% said they were proud of their TV image.

This study reveals that:
  • Teens learn the less admirable aspects of their heritage from entertainment industry stereotyping.

  • Teens' perceptions of other ethnic, religious, and racial groups are shaped by entertainment industry stereotypes.


  by Linda Messina
Are you tired of the stereotypical garbage Hollywood sells as 
Italian-American  lifestyles? 
Then you should buy  tickets to movies
like "Uncle Nino", and  watch TV programs like "That's Life". 
Uncle Nino, starring Joe Mantegna, opened nationwide,
(although only selected cities and states) in February 2005. 
It is  the story of a modern day Italian-American family and their uncle visiting from  Italy.  And it is free of the
mobster syndrome!!!    
It is apparent PROTESTS DON'T WORK. 
The boycott of "Shark Tale" was not successful, the film made $49 million the first week.  The  Italian American
community needs to support positive artists and projects.
Mel Gibson gained the religious groups support for "Passion...". 
And the Greek Americans  supported "...Greek Wedding". 
( Where was the Italian-American coalition for "Uncle Nino"?) 
It is time to  prove to  Hollywood that non-stereotypical entertainment can be a critical and financial success!
Unfortunately the Italian Americans do not support the  films like 
"Uncle Nino".  If all of  the protesters would purchase tickets... think of the power !
The Italian American actors also need to make promotional
appearances to inform the public of these movies and TV programs, etc.
If we DO NOT Support Positive Italian Image Family Films, then we CAN NOT complain when Hollywood makes more MOB MOVIES!!! 
    by Linda Messina
Why do people like the TV shows & movies like the "Sopranos"?
The answers so far:  It is art...
1. The acting is great...sorry but some High School plays are better.
(Besides most those actors will be typecast as mobsters for the rest of their careers.)
2. The writing is outstanding...A twelve year old can write a script full of  obscenities, criminals, murders, etc.
When Hollywood glorifies the mobster lifestyle***
If you have never been asked if your family is "connected to the mob" maybe you don't understand this INSULT.  Do the Soprano fans want their children to be asked this question?
JUNK TV is like junk food it needs to be balanced with non-junk.
Where are the stories about  these other families?
The entertainment industry will not produce non mobster projects if the Italian American community remains too LAZY to support these movies, TV programs, book, and plays, etc..

 third column


                            by Linda Messina

There seems to be confusion among some Italian Americans regarding stereotypical entertainment.
ATTENTION Italian Americans, either you are PRO stereotypes, or AGAINST them!
You CAN NOT DEFEND  these productions, (not even in the name of ART), and CONDEMN the resulting stereotypical mind set that spreads throughout the world.
Coraggio i miei amici !  Choose a side, you can't be on both teams!
In a NY Times (Jan. 13, 2008) article, "Refusing to Let the Mob Hijack What It Means to Be Italian", producer Rosanne De Luca Braun said:  DON"T get her wrong:  she loves “The Godfather.” Ditto, “The Sopranos". ****
But she has devoted much of the last seven years to exploring why certain Italian-American stereotypes  especially the gun-toting, cannoli-loving mobster — loom so large on screen,
and in the national psyche.
That is simple:  Stereotypes beget stereotypes.
The Godfather beget Sopranos, 
Sopranos beget Mafia Wives, and they all beget Shark Tales and Nicky Deuce
(It almost sounds like she is apologizing to her fellow Soprano and Godfather fans, to sell more tickets to her documentary.)
Ms. Braun wanted to work on this project because she couldn't find enough non mobster films for a small festival...maybe she didn't look hard enough...
Besides, there  would be hundreds more films, plays, and TV shows, if the producers could raise the money, but unfortunately most of the financing goes  to the stereotypical garbage.
It will be interesting to hear what Scorsese and Turturo have to say on the subject, since they both became millionaires from glamorizing mobsters.  If they don't like dealing with ethnic stereotyping, they should stop promoting those stereotypes.
Dominic Chianese, a Soprano cast member is invited to the premier of  "Refusing to Let the Mob Hijack What It Means to Be Italian".  How contradictory!  He is one of the perpetrators of the"Hijack".
****This quote was not on the NIAF web page in 2005, when she was trying to raise money for the project!
  • The CSJ was founded in 1979 to fight the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the entertainment, advertising and news industries. It also collaborates with other groups to ensure that people of all races, religions and cultures are treated with dignity and respect.
    How to Fight Stereotyping
    by Bill Dal Cerro
    THE THREE R's)


    • If you see an offensive ad, film, sitcom, etc., jot down a complete, objective statement of facts: e.g., contents, date and time, where it was shown or broadcast.
    • Find out who is the person responsible. If an ad, the head of the company. If a TV show, the head of the network. If a movie, the head of the studio. Get his or her title, address, and telephone number.

    • WRITE a short, simple letter stating your objections to what you saw or heard to the person in charge. Phone calls or emails should be used only as follow-up methods. And ALWAYS photocopy your letters, sending a copy of each to the following:
      • The Public Relations Department of the studio, radio station, etc.
      • Letters to the Editor of your local largest daily and/or weekly newspaper.
      • The Anti-Defamation representative in your local area (usually your largest local Italian American club or organization.)
      • The NIAF Media Institute (1860,19th St., NW Washington, DC 20009.)
        Your own file, for future reference.
    • If or when you do receive a response, send copies to your local Anti-Defamation group and the NIAF Media Institute. They can then advise you on how to evaluate a proper response, either from you or from them.
    STEP 3: READ

    • Communicate with other Italian American activists via email or faxes to support other media offences throughout the country.
    • Read as much as you can about Italian/Italian American culture. You can use these facts in your anti-defamation efforts. Send for the NIAF's free study, Italian Americans in U.S. History and Culture, a large (9X12) stamped ($1.65) self-addressed envelope to: NIAF FACT SHEETS, 1860 19th St., NW Washington, DC 20009).
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you see a POSITIVE ad, film, etc. send a complimentary letter pronto. This is a powerful way of circumventing future negatives because it encourages the person or persons to capitalize on the good vibes of being praised. Try it. It works!
    On 23 May 1992, Italian magistrate,  Giovanni Falcone, Sicily's most distinguished anti-Mafia crusader, was murdered, when his car was blown up by a bomb planted beneath the road leading to Palermo's airport.
    Falcone was killed with his wife Francesca Morvillo (also a magistrate) and three policemen: near Capaci on the motorway between Palermo International Airport and the city. 
    Paolo Borsellino  was an Italian anti-Mafia magistrate who was killed by a Mafia car bomb in Palermo, on  July 19, 1992 less than two months after his friend  Giovanni Falcone had been killed by the Mafia.
    Falcone & Borsellino were named as heroes of the last 60 years in the November 13, 2006 issue of Time Magazine.
    The Palermo airport now bears the names of Falcone & Borsellino
    So you think the MOB is Glamorous - the real Heroes
    23 maggio 1992
    Giovanni Falcone
    Paolo Borsellino


    Judge Falcone in court.It has been over 15 years since Sicily's most distinguished anti-Mafia crusader was murdered when his car and escort were blown up by a bomb planted beneath the road leading to Palermo's airport. Sadly, several of those who conspired to assassinate him were recently released from prison (in March 2002) in return for having cooperated as "pentiti" by turning state's evidence to convict other Mafiosi. Prominent among them is the infamous Santino "Little Saint" De Matteo of Altofonte. Yet, Falcone's memory lives, and the Palermo airport now bears his name and that of fellow magistrate Paolo Borsellino, also a victim of the Mafia.

    Born in Palermo in 1939, Giovanni Falcone spent part of his youth in the Magione district which suffered extensive destruction during the Allied aerial attacks of 1943. He was the son of Arturo Falcone, director of a provincial chemical laboratory, and Luisa Bentivegna. After a classical education, Giovanni studied law following a brief period of study at Livorno's naval academy. Graduating in 1961, he began to practice law before being appointed a judge in 1964. In Italy, judges are appointed, never elected, based on a series of examinations. Falcone eventually gravitated toward penal law after serving as a district magistrate in Sicily at Lentini, Trapani and elsewhere. It was work that he found challenging but also rewarding.

    By the 1970s, he was dealing with cases involving organised crime. Falcone's work was groundbreaking for several reasons. He began to dissolve the aura of mystique and myths surrounding the structure and culture of the Mafia, and by the 1980s, following years of bloodshed (and the murders of police officers and judges), he was making headway in this pursuit. It was as much a sociological task as a juridical one. Falcone was also an innovator in that he persuaded several important Mafiosi, most notably Tomasso Buscetta, to talk about the Mafia and provide useful information about its activities. Cooperation with American authorities was also important, since the Mafia is an international organisation. Before Falcone's efforts, little progress had been made in prosecuting Sicilian Mafiosi who moved about in the United States, particularly in the New York area, without being traced by Italian authorities or identified by American ones. Later, the success of the "Pizza Connection" trial in the United States owed much to Falcone's efforts in Italy.

    The 1980s became the "Years of Lead" in Palermo as one judge or law-enforcement officer after another was gunned down or blown to pieces by the Mafia --Cesare Terranova, Rocco Chinnici, Emanuele Basile and Giuseppe Montana, to name just a few. A handful of prominent Palermitan politicians, including Salvatore Lima (an aging ex-mayor who had sold building construction permits to gangsters only to be murdered by the organisation he had supported), bridled at the prospect of their own alleged or implicit ties to organised crime being alluded to by Falcone's frequent comments to the press, which they characterised as "overzealous." Mayor Leoluca Orlando, a grandstander who had garnered praise as an outspoken "opponent" of the Mafia, was known to make accusations of his own; in the late 1990s he invoked Falcone's name when it was politically convenient to do so.

    Few Sicilians shared the more eccentric opinions of either Orlando or Lima. Clearly, however, there were magistrates and politicians, in Milan and Rome as well as Palermo, who took offence to Falcone's findings, perhaps afraid that these might hit too close to home. In 1988, Italy's highest court controversially ruled, in a particular case, against allowing any juridical procedures which presupposed a vertically organised structure of the Mafia at a national level (as opposed to a localised organisation), and this made further prosecutions difficult for the next few years. The move seemed contradictory in a nation that had enacted legislation against "criminality of the Mafia type," inspiring the practical application of the RICO statute in the United States. (The high court later rescinded on this point.) All the while, the intrepid and outspoken Rudolph Giuliani, then federal southern district judge for New York (and Falcone's American counterpart in almost every sense), applauded Falcone's efforts, which were echoed by the FBI's Louis Freeh, another American jurist of Italian ancestry.

    In 1986 and 1987, Falcone and others presided over the "Maxi Trial" of 475 alleged Mafiosi in Palermo. The case, a parallel to the Pizza Connection trial, drew international attention by bringing the Mafia out into the open, but sadly, most of the 338 criminals convicted served little more than token sentences before being released under Italy's lax penal code, with its extremely high burden of proof. It did, however, result in the conviction of Mafia kingpin Michele Greco and, eventually, Salvatore Riina, Greco's successor from Corleone.

    The Mafia's shadow, whether in the form of the drug trade, money laundering, political corruption (payoffs and kickbacks) or the pizzo (protection money), permeates every facet of the SicilianScene of the explosion near Capaci. economy, and statistically the problem is far worse in Palermo than in Catania. Giovanni Falcone knew this, and so do most Sicilians. Apart from cases of localised interest, Falcone dealt with important narcotics cases, then the Mafia's stock and trade internationally.

    For all the press attention he was receiving, Falcone was becoming a lone crusader as the political establishment, having much to hide, now proved uncooperative, but the common folk regarded the Palermitan as a folk hero. Meanwhile, the Mafia was contemplating Falcone's murder, and actually attempted it several times. Despite languishing government support, Falcone and his staff continued their work in the Anti-Mafia Pool headquartered in Rome. This entailed a national position for Falcone as Italy's main prosecutor for Mafia cases, and extensive travel between Rome and Palermo.

    Constructed in a climate of construction kickbacks, bribery and blatant Mafia opportunism, the Palermo airport, surrounded by steep cliffs, is quite distant from the city, but Falcone's speeding police escort could make the trip in twenty minutes. Along the autostrada on 23 May 1992, near the town of Capaci, Falcone's car was exploded by a mass of plastic explosive placed in a small underpass. Vehicles were destroyed, and so was a segment of road. Falcone's wife, Francesca Morvilio, also a magistrate, was killed with him and the members of his escort, police officers Rocco Di Cillo, Vito Schifani and Antonio Montinaro. Back in Palermo, the assassins were already plotting the murder of Paolo Borsellino, the judge who worked with Falcone.

    Several important Mafiosi were arrested in Sicily in the years following, and the last decade has seen a marked reduction in Mafia-related crime. Falcone may not have defeated the organisation, which still thrives today (complete with websites published by the children of convicted Mafiosi), but he certainly hindered its growth. In the end, one can ask little more of a single courageous hero.

    Vincenzo Salerno

    Defamation and discrimination of Italian Americans are serious problems that cannot go on without some action to bring it to a halt, but before any action can be taken we must have our community recognize what others have seen for many years.    continue reading
       8.     ANNOTICO  REPORT

    Ciao !