The ethnic group that I belong too is the white American ethnic group. To be more specific, my background is mainly Italian so people may consider me Italian-American. Most of the Italians immigrated to the United States in small percentages. Most of the immigration occurred in the 20th century during the years of 1880-1960. Many of the Italian immigrants came from southern Italy with very low education. The main reason for Italian immigration was because of the poor economic conditions in Italy during the 20th century. The Italians settled in specific areas where they can all interact with each other and be away from other ethnic groups.
Since they were not educated they mainly performed manual labor. The Italian immigrants were subjected to severe anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant discrimination and even violence such as lynching. A small amount of the immigrants only wanted to come to America to earn money, and then go back to Italy. The Italian Americans experienced racism, and prejudices in the beginning of World War Two, many Italian Americans, along with Germans, and Japanese, were not allowed to move a certain amount of miles away from their homes, unless given permission.
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They were also forced to surrender any contraband, and had a tight curfew. Many Italian Americans were classified as “enemy aliens” during this time due to heavy security because of the war. Other than having a tight curfew and having contraband taken away, many Italian Americans were arrested and detained, eventually they were forced to stop speaking their native language; Italian. Throughout the war, Italian Americans were tried with Double Jeopardy, institutional discrimination, and other forms of discrimination.
Thankfully, Italian Americans were only discriminated against mainly during the first two years of world war two, so they did not experience many things such as Redlining, reverse discrimination, and environmental justice issues. Discrimination against Italians in America was known as Anti-Italianism. Everyone thought Italians were naturally violent, or somehow included in the Mafia. Italians were stereotyped in so many ways including overly-emotional, melodramatic, low class, superstitious, ignorant, and obsessive.
They were also stereotyped as low class workers, or blue collared workers. After the American Civil War, poor Italian immigrants were recruited to fill the place of abolished slave labor by working on southern plantations, and factories. Eventually Congress passed a racially-based quota which limited the number of Italians that were allowed to enter the United States annually. The Italian Americans were the second most likely ethnic grouped to be lynched. In New Orleans eleven Italians were lynched due to the suspicions of them killing a police chief.
They were first arrested, but in the jail cell they were brutally attacked by a lynch mob that stormed into the jailhouse. When Italian immigrants first came to America they were segregated into their own little areas, which were called, and still known as “little Italy. ” This eventually degraded as the war came to an end, and they were allowed to move around the country. Although Italian Americans are no longer facing segregation or much discrimination like many other ethnic groups today, they did experience it in the earlier 1900’s.
Thankfully there is not much violence against my ethnic group today. In my opinion the Italians were lucky to not have to deal with many forms of discrimination that went on in the United States, such as environmental justice issues, redlining, glass ceiling, glass walls, or glass escalator. After completing this assignment I found that most of the discrimination forms that were described are identified more with the United States mainstream culture, rather than the Italian Americans.