An ugly side of Italy
America has been called the “melting pot”, a mix of people from all over the world coming to her shores, but I think the Italian peninsula was the original “melting pot”. This beautiful land that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea has been ruled by various groups during the course of several millennium including the Greeks, Romans, Germans, French, Spanish and various local tribes. The Romans brought people from all over their known world to this area to be their slaves and other people have come here for various reasons and become a mix of the combined gene pool. This mixing of people groups over hundreds and thousands of years has developed unique differences in the various regions of the present Italy.
This makes for an interesting backdrop considering the current increase in anti-immigrant sentiment we have noticed, I do not believe this is a unique phenomenon only to Italy but as foreigners we see this in a different light. Since we tend to blend in with the local populace we have not been direct targets of this problem but we do see, hear and read about occurrences. The newspapers have had several stories of Chinese nationals being beaten or killed by Italians, we have heard government employees lump all Romanians and Albanians into the category of thieves, and we see how some locals react to the darker skinned immigrants they encounter on the streets. Unfortunately there have been some highly publicized incidents where immigrants have done some very bad things which certainly do not improve how the populace views them.
Italy has a term for these people, extracomunitaro and the two of us are extracomunitari. This is the term used for foreigners who originate from outside the European Union. This term is frequently used in the media and you generally do not see it used but in a derogatory manner. Recently the Italian parliament has passed a law that the children of extracomunitari will be placed in separate classes in the schools until their language skills are to the standard described by the state, so as to not “impede” the learning of the Italian children.
Has anyone seen a “Blackshirt” lately…?