John Gennari (Author of the book “Flavor and Soul: Italian America at Its African American Edge”)
Anna ascolta sempre la sua passione per l'investigazione e di li a poco si ritrova coinvolta nella struggente storia di Bruno che cerca una sorella persa quando lui era ancora un bambino. Seller Inventory APC New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since Seller Inventory IQ Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. Mariacristina Berton. Publisher: Independently published , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.
Normally, Lahiri explains, she is annoyed by the journalistic boilerplate of being asked her favorite book, but during her time in Rome, begun in , she was "able to respond without any hesitation" that it was Ovid's "Metamorphoses. The content of Ovid's masterpiece also fits. Like Daphne fleeing Apollo, Lahiri tries to escape the embrace of English, the demands and separations it inflicted on her girlhood. These started in a kindergarten doorway in Rhode Island, where she set aside the Bengali she spoke at home for "a culture that had to be mastered, interpreted.
As Lahiri reports it, her escape into Italian hits a wall. Her husband, Alberto Vourvoulias, speaks the language with a Spanish accent. When I do the same thing, the same people say, in English, 'Nice to meet you. The writer's facility with Italian far outstrips her husband's, but her appearance reads "foreign," just as it did in Boston, where she once refused a flier, only to be cursed by a man who demanded to know if her problem was that she couldn't speak English.
When she travels to Kolkata, India, despite a lifelong proficiency with Bengali, vendors address her in English.
These paradoxes vex Lahiri, but she knows they are one wellspring of her creativity. Toward the end of her latest work, she describes it as "a hesitant book and at the same time bold. A text both private and public. On the one hand it springs from my other books. The themes, ultimately, are unchanged: identity, alienation, belonging. But the wrapping, the contents, the body and soul are transfigured.
We The Italians | André DiMino (Executive Administrator - UNICO National)
The cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker notes that "language comes so naturally to us that we're apt to forget what a strange and miraculous gift it is. By Marthine Satris. Thursday, February 4, Her debut book of fiction won the Pulitzer Prize. Her next three all decorated the best-seller charts for weeks, and Hollywood even made one into a movie. Abandons English entirely, of course. But rather than offering anecdotes of expat life, the series of brief essays becomes a revelation of how a writer finds her voice, intertwined with meditations on the estrangement that her identity as the child of Indian immigrants has imposed on her relationship to English.
Becoming a writer in Italian means returning to the role of a student, in which gains come quickly but mastery is elusive. Connotations fly right by her and idiomatic uses of prepositions puzzle her, but her renunciation of her prowess in English offers an opportunity for rebirth. Included in the book are two new short stories in her new style.
They are spare, without details of time or place. After writing this book I changed my mind. The hard work, a common topic: it also relates with what you wrote about sports, right?
Bill Cellini Jr: It’s Time to Discover your Italian Roots!
The people who built the modern cities of this country had bodies made for production. When they became sports figures they became objects of visual consumption, sport heroes. Today, Italian Americans have a very prominent role in US basketball culture, not so much as players but coaches, broadcasters, and marketers. Sports media in this country have a large presence of Italian Americans, in radio shows, television broadcasting and such. It goes back to what I told you about food: the conviviality, the talk, getting together in bars and taverns. Baseball is now dominated by Latin Americans, players from Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic: that is exactly what happened with Italian immigrants 70 an 80 years ago.
The number of Italian great baseball players in the 40s, 50s and 60s was very high, like Latino players today. Is there a difference in how this relationship developed over the decades, if we look at this from a geographic point of view? Yes, sure. The book is largely based in the Northeast, where I grew up. I talk about New Orleans in the first part of the book because of the history I learned there about the development of jazz. There is a big intersection between those groups in these places. It happened the same way in Chicago and Saint Louis, in the Midwest.
For similar reasons, there were migrations largely for industrial labor but there was also a development of culture as well in the California cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. These groups live in neighborhoods that are next to each other, and sometimes they are in conflict. I concentrated my research on the Northeast because of my time living in places like Philadelphia, the lower East Side of Manhattan, Jersey City, and Brooklyn, and these are locations that became the template for Hollywood representations of ethnicity.
We see it in The Godfather and all the gangster movies, in Rocky and Saturday Night Fever , in the earliest films of Spike Lee, which I spotlight in a chapter of the book. Which were the main topics of opposition and conflict between African American and Italian American cultures? I mentioned earlier the discrimination Italians faced in the early years of the century. The Italians were racially ambiguous, somewhere in between white and black, or tenuously on either side of the color line.
If they went to school, they went to segregated schools with African American children. In America, almost by definition, the formula to achieve whiteness is to put a border between yourself and blackness, and to develop an identity which is in opposition, oftentimes in violent opposition, to the black Other. Some of the Italian Americans who remained in the cities became resentful of African Americans and Latinos. In the suburbs they developed a deep investment in the meaning of home and property, and they saw African Americans and Latinos coming to these areas as threats to the value of property, and as criminals.
There was just as much criminality in the Italian neighborhoods as in the black neighborhoods and the Latino neighborhoods. There were gang wars between these ethnic groups. When the civil rights movement developed in this country, many Italian Americans were part of the resistance, particularly if the civil right African Americans chose to exercise was to move into an Italian American neighborhood.
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Not all felt that way: there were many progressive Italian Americans who worked nobly on behalf of the black freedom and equality revolution. But there also were a lot of conservative, reactionary Italian Americans that stood up for segregation. Some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Newark and Chicago became like the American South, with white families not wanting black children in the same schools as their children, and not wanting black or Latino neighbors because they believed that their property values were going to diminish.
Let's talk about people. Which are the most important names, on both sides, who left a mark on this relation between two cultures? Sinatra was a great hero for the African American musicians. He was a strong anti-racist leader. He played in Gary, Indiana, when hundreds of white students at Froebel School in walked out of their classes to protest African American students ….
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He had a very robust sense of integration. There were also African American writers who became interested in the Italian American community. Most of the great African American writers of fiction from the s used Italian or Italian American characters, because they knew them, they lived in the same neighborhoods. James Baldwin is an example: he was born in Harlem, and there were many Italians there.
He moved to the Greenwich Village, into a mostly Italian neighborhood, and he filled his novels with Italian American characters. Albert Murray was another African American writer, very important for the history of blues and jazz. Coming out of Alabama, he moved to Harlem and spent time in Rome when he was in the Armed Forces: he was able to see the parallels between the American South and the Italian South and wrote beautifully about them. More recently, film actor Robert De Niro has had several romantic relationships with African American women. One of them is the actor Giancarlo Esposito, of whom I wrote about in the book because of his extensive work with Spike Lee.
She wrote a beautiful book, The Skin Between Us, a memoir.
His best friends and worst enemies were Italian, and you see that reflected in the movies, where there are Italian characters who are really racist and others who have a fluency and an ease with black culture. These are some of the key figures I write about in the book. His name was Ficre Ghabreyesus. He was an immigrant to the US from Eritrea. He grew up as part of the Italian colonial system in East Africa, was educated by Italian nuns, spoke fluent Italian, fought in the civil war between Eritrea and Ethiopia and lost a brother in that war.
He and two other brothers came to the US in the late s and opened a great restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. New Haven was a great Italian-Black city, with a very strong tradition of both cultures. He was a wonderful man. Unfortunately, he died several years ago just after his 50th birthday, because of a heart condition. He was married to the great African American poet and scholar, Elizabeth Alexander, who introduced me to my wife twenty years ago: we had a very close relationship. He had such a great command of the language and of the cuisine, he was a student of Italian history and architecture.
He made me think in a more international way of this relationship between Africans and Italians. Let's talk about the present. Unfortunately, because of a new great wave of immigration, Italy seems to have a problem with Africa, in this very moment. What's the status of the relations between Italian Americans and African Americans, today?
I travel there regularly and I hope to bring my daughters there. They are adopted from the northern region of Ethiopia, close to the border with Eritrea. I was very hopeful about this relationship. After the period of violence in NYC, years of deep conflict between the communities, there have been hopeful signs of reconciliation. I see this in college classrooms in particular.