What’s in a Name?
It is often easy to identify members of our community. Just look at our last names. Does it end in a vowel? Cammarato. Fieramosca. Fucetola. Maddalena. We wear them like a badge of honor. They are a great source of pride.
For some, they are also an easy mark.
I’ve written both in this blog and my blog about New Jersey how we are the last ethnicity people can openly joke about with no fear of repercussion. Well, this week, a Politico writer took a cheap shot at the president of the Middletown, N.J. Board of Education regarding an incredibly serious and sad subject facing today’s youth.
The Board of Education in Middletown unanimously approved a measure to place armed retired police officers in all schools. The decision was made in the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers. The board of education president’s name? Frank Capone.
You can just see the wind-up. Here was the pitch from writer Matt Friedman:
Middletown Mayor Tony Perry quickly came to Capone’s defense via social media:
Friedman quickly apologized and changed the headline. Unfortunately, the responses to the entire feed on Twitter was even more reprehensible. This was a really special response:
Now, stick with me for a moment.
Substitute the Italian ethnicity for any (and I mean any) other ethnicity. Are you offended? Would this receive tons of press coverage? Demand a public apology after thoroughly humiliating the author? Absolutely. But Italians? Meh.
In a way, we do it to ourselves. We laugh at ourselves. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. As a result, no one takes us seriously. This isn’t about being a snowflake. Anyone who knows me (or any of us as a community for that matter) knows “snowflake” is far from an accurate description. However, I think it is time we all start to call out these comments for what they are. Unacceptable.
So no, Mr. Friedman, you do not get a “guido pass” from me.