Sometimes I think I’m just oversensitive. But then if something bothers me don’t I have the right to be upset by it?
Being from an Italian and Polish family and raised in Surrey I’m full of stereotypes that people like to throw at me. And you know what, that’s fine in small doses. The important thing, not just when speaking to me but in dealing with any other human, is knowing when to stop.
Particularly, some people will pick up that I’m Italian and continue to call me “the Italian” until I eventually snap at them. I was born in Canada. I’m Canadian, I have Italian AND Polish heritage. But even though I have these countries in my background, this should not give you the right to put on incredibly fake Italian accents and shout “mamma mia” when trying to tell me jokes about how all Italians eat is pasta and how we’re all connected to the mob.
Really original. I’ve never heard any of that before.
I’ll take some of the blame, because I do crack jokes about the mob sometimes and I am a stereotypical hand talker. But there is a time and a place. When you feel like you need to make the joke because there is nothing intelligent to add to the conversation, then shut up.
Lately the mob jokes have gotten to me, hence why I feel I may be a tad oversensitive because it is par for the Italian ancestry course. But the mafia is not like The Godfather, The Sopranos or Goodfellas. It’s not just sitting around in strip bars putting hits out on someone who does your family wrong. The Mafia, whose presence is widely in the South, is known for their drug dealing, smuggling, kidnapping, people trafficking, prostitution rackets, and the bribery of judges and politicians in Italy. The economy is being ruined, especially in the South, due to their activities. Somehow none of that makes it into their jokes.
Can I suggest some light reading before you continue cracking mafia jokes?
- Article on the economy in Italy and Mafia’s desire to control it.
- About recent progress and arrests against them in Italy. The comments by Italians are mixed and interesting.
- Interesting read about mob hits in Canada (not about Italy, but likely similar)
- Italian cinema focuses on the destructiveness of the Mafia instead of glorifying it like Hollywood
I feel that educated jokes are easier to handle. To spout off stereotypes without realizing why they’re offensive is worse, because I don’t know if you’re joking or if you’re just ignorant. Do I laugh or do I pity the person?
It’s quite shocking that no one picks up on the Polish part of me, they could have a field day with those stereotypes.