I ran across this article today and I am both stunned and not sure of how to say what I am thinking. The article “Dirty negro” insult not always racist? comes from Rome, and a ruling made by their courts. I am confused by the court’s decision, and to make things simple I will translate the situation to the U.S.
A group of white men called a group of black/hispanic women “Dirty negroes — what are these negroes doing here?” The men then proceed to punch the women. When the case goes to court one of the men says that his words were not racist. The court agrees with him. What do you think would happen in the U.S.?
How the Italian court could say this was a case of “generic dislike, intolerance or rejection based on race, ethnicity or religion” and not “discriminatory behavior for reasons of race, ethnicity, nationality or religion” or “only if it is motivated by real hatred” is beyond me. To verbally assault someone, on the basis of only their color, and then to follow that with a physical assault seems stronger than a mere generic dislike to me. What other motivation is happening here if not motivated by hatred, which the statement made by the men seems to exude?
If someone were to go through Italy, and tell each italian that “your great-great-great-granddaddy was black, go back to Africa” and then proceeded to hit them… The Italian courts would seem to have to find in favor under the above ruling, but I doubt it. In the U.S. lock-up under various charges including racism would happen in a moment. And the fact that the ‘grandaddy’ statement is based in truth would not matter.
As a side note, many Italians to my experience and knowledge (abroad and in the U.S.) find that any reference to the period of time from roughly 831 – 1061 to be offensive. It was during that time, at least, where the Moors had control of Sicily and major influence in southern Italy [as well as virtually all of Spain]. The fact that interracial marriages and offspring occured and are in the bloodlines of Italy, Spain and other parts of Europe is seen as inciteful. I don’t understand why, especially when viewed against the European/American White colonial culture of intermixing with Native Indians, South American Indians, North Africans, African slaves and Middle Easterners. A supposition could be that in the latter the upper hand was held by the Caucasians, as opposed to the Moors having it.
Back to the matter at hand. How can a second-world nation, with diversity and cultural history, and the physical spiritual center of a world religion that calls for inclusion, compassion and understanding, be so seemingly dense? A nation that rose up against Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, and facsism. One would expect better of them.
This ruling, in conjunction with the sexual harrassment issues (mentioned in the same article) and recent behavior at Soccer matches leads one to wonder what is going on in Italy. It seems the ghosts of the past, or perhaps and worse yet visions of a future are peeking at us. With the world growing smaller everyday, due to internet/telecommunications/faster travel, what happens in one place on the globe quickly affects the rest.
This is what I think, how about you?