Blatant Examples of How Italians are Stereotyped in Movies

Blatant Examples of How Italians are Stereotyped in Movies

The Italian-American community has for many years now been suffering a very blatant stereotype in the media. Hollywood, despite being filled with high-caliber writers and the type of talent that could possibly dispel the myths and fabrications that have been levied against Italians, has many times opted to show their version of events rather than looking in the history books to see how things truly went down. And on top of this, many movies have fed into the stereotype by playing fast and loose with the facts. The truth is that Italians have had a big hand in making this country what it is and among them a small, almost infinitesimal portion have been involved in the type of activities for which their movie counterparts are so well known.

Here are just a few stereotypes that Hollywood has fed into over the years concerning Italians.

 A large number of them are mobsters or are affiliated with the mob.

La Cosa Nostra, or “our thing” has been a very serious business in the past, and has included a number of prominent individuals that initially banded together for protection against those that would seek to cause them harm and gang up on immigrants that came to the US. La Cosa Nostra is said to have originated in Sicily, meaning that it was brought across the pond to America, but it was strongest nearly a hundred years ago and more. Today the mafia is a broken thing compared to what it once was, and it hasn’t been the terrifying syndicate it once was for quite some time. Italians and Italian-Americans are honest, hardworking people for the most part that seek to live their lives just like anyone else.

They all speak with the same accent. 

This should be noted as not being prevalent in the many different representations. The distinct accent that those of Italian descent speak with is not as distinctive as one would think. There are different dialects and accents all over Italy just as there are in America. There are roughly 34 different spoken languages in Italy with many different dialects, and despite the prevalence of Italian, which is derived from Tuscan, there are a number of differences throughout the language.

They are typically day laborers, con artists, or craftsmen. 

Italians in movies almost never hold any position of value unless it has something to do with organized crime. They are often shown as winemakers, tradesmen, and wage earners, but nothing that would make them insanely successful like their fellow Americans. Italians are as diverse a bunch when it comes to success as anyone. They attend American schools, study the same courses and in many cases become well known in a wide variety of fields. Since we’re on the subject of movies a few notable actors of Italian descent are Robert DeNiro, Sophia Loren, Monica Belluci, and many, many more.

It’s unlike that the stereotypes concerning Italians are going to go away any time soon, but the recognition of them is often enough to at least make people realize that it is happening. When this happens it becomes easier to do the research and separate fact from fiction.


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