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Italian Stereotypes

Regarding Howard Rosenberg’s television review (“Shuffling Through a Mob of ‘Godfather’ Knockoffs,” July 24):

Americans of Italian heritage are rightfully angry and fed up with the endless stereotypical portrayal of our ethnic group as either criminals, bigots or buffoons.

This negative portrayal is so pervasive it has been internalized by the American public. A 1996 study conducted by the Princeton-based Response Analysis Corp. indicated that three out of four Americans believe Italian Americans are connected with organized crime. Is this statistic not to be expected, when we remain the only ethnic group in America that continues to be portrayed by mass media in such a derogatory fashion?

Those Italian American writers, actors and producers who perpetuate these stereotypes are not excused. Monetary rewards may be hard to resist, but they too must be held accountable. We insist that the portrayal of Italian Americans be balanced--show our doctors, housewives, teachers and lawyers. If the community has warts, show those too, but balance the picture.

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RUSS RAMETTA

California Commission for Social

Justice, Order Sons of Italy

in America, Mission Viejo

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