Maybe because of his privileged childhood cocoon, Chris Cuomo says that he (and he inferred his family and friends) laugh at all of the anti-Italian slander that all too often affects Italian Americans. These "harmless" (according to Chris) slurs: Mafia, WOP, dago, etc., have had such a chilling effect on our heritage as to replace Leonardo DaVinci with Al Capone, Michaelangelo with Lucky Luciano and Enrico Caruso with Tony Soprano. Harmless and laughable! I ask you Chris--was it harmless when they lynched and beat to death Italian Americans in New Orleans? And the media and the politicians of the day justified it by saying that because the victims were Italian they were the lowest form of people who must have committed many crimes and so deserved to die a violent death. (Read the book WOP for the accurate account of which major newspapers and politicians said what). Harmless!
Was it harmless when our Government was so influenced by Hollywood's stereotypical, negative portrayal of our culture that they named a criminal law (RICO Law) after an imaginary gangster, Rico Bandello? So now every time the law is used it reinforces the perceived criminality of Italian Americans. That's right, even when the defendants happen to be from another ethic group (the Israeli Mafia, the Chinese Mafia, the Cuban Mafia) the Government's law and the media's slurs paint the picture that Italians = Crime. So anytime any ethnic group in the country commits a crime and is charged with the prejudicially named Government RICO law, the case is immediately married to the alleged dark side of Italian American culture. Every time the Government charges a RICO enterprise, it sears into the minds of the defendants, the jurors and our fellow citizens that all organized crime leads back to its "origin:" Italian Americans.
Is it harmless to all of the innocent Italian Americans that have died in, and are going to die in jail for crimes that they did not commit all because of this bias law, the Hollywood hype and the media circus that surrounds "Italian Mob" trials? Anyone that thinks that our Government and Hollywood are not aware of the detrimental effect that this constant bombardment of propaganda has on our ethnic group is truly naive. Again I ask, harmless?
Who but Italian Americans pull serious prison time for gambling, collusion and conspiracy all wrapped inside the bigoted law named RICO? Wasn't it your neighbor Geraldine Ferraro's promising political career that was torpedoed by a few well-placed, timed-chants of Mafia? Didn't your own father's dream of a run at the White House get stymied because of the rumors that your saintly mother had ties to the Mafia? Harmless! I think not. Mario Cuomo would have made an excellent president.
It was just a few months ago that I was repulsed by a picture that maligned Bill DeBlasio and your brother Andrew Cuomo. They were on the cover of the NY Daily News. That rag paper had them dressed as old time Mafia hoods holding tommy guns and scowling with the word "Vendetta" emblazoned across the headline. Now there is no connection between these two great New Yorkers and organized crime except for their Italian heritage and the Government-induced bias of the Daily News and the rest of the not so free press… but there was the link for the whole world to see: Italian roots = Crime. This headline was an act of pure bias and hate; not only aimed at these two powerful Italian politicians but at all Italian Americans. This is a Government orchestrated conspiracy to keep us down and always in a scapegoat position. Well, I have news for them. We are not a nationality of criminals but we are, in one way, a nationality of fools… for in our yearning to belong we allowed this discrimination to taint our leaders, our heritage and the reputation of our whole community. After many decades of unopposed stereotyping by our government, Hollywood and the rest of the media and society, we have come to accept this repulsive face of Italian Americans as fact and therefore are not offended by this blatant bigotry.
I would like to let Chris Cuomo know that I am offended. I am offended for all of the hardworking, honest, legitimate Italian Americans that are the victims of this bias. I am offended for all of the union workers that were expelled from the unions because they were alleged to know, or were related to a Government Mafioso (even when this was proven to be untrue). I am offended for all of the hardworking garbage men who had their companies stolen from them and given to friends and relatives of the Government bearcats who stole them. I am offended for the Italian American criminals who are doing extremely long sentences for the crimes that they committed (had they not been of Italian descent they certainly wouldn't receive such harsh sentences). I am offended for the innocent Italian Americans who are serving prison sentences because of who they are related to, or who they are friendly with, or because they would not tell the Government's lies. In the US only children of Italian Americans are punished for the sins of their fathers (prison, no union jobs, no government contracts, no garbage business, etc.). I am even offended for your father who had one hell of a shot at being president before the admiring cheers of, "Mario, Mario, Mario!" turned into shouts of, "Mafia, Mafia Mafia!" at the Democratic Convention.
So in closing I would like to ask you Chris Cuomo, to not make light of this discrimination that has cost so many so much. Also do not assume that because of your national forum that you may speak for us who are truly offended by this and all forms of government sponsored prejudice. Discrimination needs to be stopped. Individuals as well as all groups of people should be treated consistently by our Government no matter the color, religion, bloodline, or where they fall on the social and economic scale. That is the American way and that is the American dream.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Please listen to my latest interview with Frank Morano from AM970 The Answer by clicking the title of this post. We discuss my appeal and its denial by the second circuit. I haven't been blogging in the last few months because I live in a dorm setting at FCI Butner and have trouble finding a quiet place to focus and write. I hope to start writing again soon. Thanks for your continued support.