FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or email@example.com
AMERICANS CHALLENGE STEREOTYPES IN
(Washington, DC - February 27, 2001) The
unflattering stereotypes of Italian Americans as poorly educated
and criminally inclined that dominate the HBO series, "The
Sopranos" fly in the face of statistical evidence
about Italian Americans, according to the National Italian
American Foundation (NIAF), a leading advocacy group for the
nation's estimated 20 million Americans of Italian descent.
research clearly proves that programs like "The
Sopranos," which present Italian Americans as
under-educated people who are either criminals or in blue-collar
jobs, bear no resemblance to the average Italian American who is
a law-abiding citizen working in a white-collar position,"
said Frank J. Guarini, NIAF chairman and a former U.S.
congressman from New Jersey.
information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the
1990 U.S. Census the NIAF found that :
Italian Americans have constituted little more than five percent
of the fugitives on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most
Wanted List over the past 50 years.
FBI records, only 5.6 percent or 26 of the 458 fugitives whose
names have appeared so far on the FBI's famous list have been of
Italian descent. No Italian Americans are currently on the list.
Two-thirds of the Italian Americans in the U.S. labor force are
employed in white-collar positions compared to only one-third in
blue-collar jobs, according to the 1990 U.S. Census.
Of the six
million working people who identified themselves as Italian
American in the 1990 U.S. Census, four million were
professionals (physicians, attorneys, educators, etc.) as well
as managers, and technical, sales, or administrative workers.
Italian Americans were employed in "blue collar" jobs,
which included police officers, farmers, mechanics and
construction workers, according to Census Bureau
U.S. entertainment industry's persistent stereotyping of Italian
Americans as goons or buffoons has increased dramatically over
the past 25 years, despite the growing climate of
"political correctness" in the media and American
society," Guarini said.
cited a study last year from the Italic Studies Institute in
Floral Park, New York that reviewed all Hollywood films that
featured Italian or Italian American characters from 1928 to the
beginning of the year 2000.
1,078 films that fit this description, an overwhelming 73
percent portray Italians in a negative light," he said.
"Of the negative Italian American characters, 33 percent
were boors, bigots or bimbos. Characters that were involved in
organized crime accounted for 40 percent. But of the films
Hollywood has made of Italian American criminals, only 14
percent were based on the lives of actual people. The remaining
86 percent of the films featured entirely fictional Italian
American characters," Guarini said.
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