Discrimination Heritage Mafia

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:

Matt Friedman
Headline from Politico by Matt Friedman

Middletown Mayor Tony Perry quickly came to Capone’s defense via social media:

Mayor Tony Perry
Response from Middletown Mayor Tony Perry

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:

Guido pass
Yeah, I have no words for this one

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.

For the record, this story was only covered by two organizations; The Italian Sons and Daughters of America and the Middletown Patch.

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.

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Hello, Andrea,
    Just came across your site. I, too, am a Jersey girl (who now lives in Texas!) of Italian and Irish heritage. I was looking up some information on Italian Americans during WWII. My Grandpa Maffei wrote a letter to his wife who was visiting relatives in Baltimore in July 1942. I just had it translated. He spoke of the judgements people were making, and it got me to thinking about discrimination against Italian during the early part of the war. I have completed our family’s genealogy lines (Maffei/Maffeo-Picone and Russo-Anginoni) back to Atripalda, Campania, Italy. I always think I am finished adding as much history as it pertains to the family–until another aspects arises!
    I grew up in Montclair, most Maffeis are from Bloomfield and I did student teaching in Belleville School #7 in 1967.
    So thank you and keep it up!

    1. Wow! First, thanks for finding my blog. I hope you continue to enjoy my posts. I grew up in Belleville and attended School #7. I have wonderful memories growing up in Belleville.

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