Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Degrees of Being Italian American.

I had to write tonight based on the whole idea of being Italian American. I ran into a few people this week where we talked about being Italian American and the generational gaps. Every time I talk to a person about being Italian it really becomes an educational lesson for me. Sometimes I suffer from thinking that everyone is or thinks like I do when it comes to being Italian American. Not that I feel any superiority to any one's level of cultural upbringing but I often find myself comparing my life and upbringing to theirs and how we evolve from our close generations to thinking or just recognizing a few traits of your heritage. This is definitely one of the factors that I always speak of and how losing your cultural identity is such an easy thing because really we all socialize into our "American" societal mannerisms and your cultural upbringing becomes secondary or unspoken.

How can in a nation built on immigrants are we so clueless and lost to who we really are..? Yes, we are American, but knowing where, what and how you got here is the key to understanding your cultural identity. So, turn off the TV, forget about the stereotypes and start thinking, researching and educating yourselves on the true history behind your culture. My interactions this week, kind of set me off, after engaging in a water cooler conversation about "The Real Housewives of NJ" and how the fact that there was violence at the finale show was because they all have "Italian tempers." That pissed me off beyond pissed me off. (Oh yeah, that's my Italian temper talking!)

If all that came out of that show were accusations and the fact that Italians have tempers then that is a waste of airtime and a perfect example of how we are manipulated by mass media. I really had to control my conversational responses this week, because I easily could have said a lot that could have sparked some negative vibes, for sure. But I only added what I know to be true, the facts about what being Italian American is all about for me. Again, I don't speak for everyone, this is my opinion but I feel strongly about the whole degree or levels of being Italian American and knowing who you really are and not what a TV show tells you its all about. Anyone care to share your thoughts on this one?
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