OCTOBER 16, 2010 11:40PM

The Bigotry of the OS Editors

Rate: 3 Flag

I wonder, if the OS staff read a post that spoke of the African-American mind, as if all blacks thought alike, would they put it on the cover. I don't think so. What if the African-American mind were in that same post represented in terms of Superfly, complete with images from blaxploitation films. Surely, while not censoring such a viewpoint, the editors would never promote it by giving it cover status. But that is exactly what they've done with a recent post by Mary Ann Sorrentino, who seems to feel there is such a thing as the "Italo mind," which she proceeds to associate with mysogyny, racism, and, film clip in hand, the Mafia of Hollywood's imagination. She calls upon Italian American groups not to denounce the stereotype but rather to denounce Carl Palladino for

a) typifying the "Italo mind," with which we Italo-Americans are all, she claims, familiar; and

b)  for thereby bearing the stereotype out.

It is hard for me to believe that a Jewish blogger who denounced a politician for evincing the "Jewish mind," which she illustrated with images of Shylock, would merit a cover from the OS editors. But so implicit, in every sense of the word, is prejudice (literally pre-judging) against Italian-Americans, that a post a entertaining the notion that one ignorant bully-clown of a politician could stand for Italian American men in general (yes, this was a rampantly sexist post as well) receives the ultimate OS stamp of approval--under the heading  the heading no less of Italian American disgrace. The disgrace belongs to the editors, and to the group of similarly benighted readers who congratulated Ms. Sorrentino on her ignorance.

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Uusually, I draw no conclusions from the plenitude or dearth of response to any of my posts. But the silence greeting this one confirms my sense that if Islamophobia represents the last acceptable prejudice in so-called liberal America, Italian Americans continue to suffer under a socially approved set of stereotypes and caricatures. Noone cares to call it ethnic bigotry because noone seems to care about the continued circulation of this nonsense. That the OS editors would participate in and even promote such ignorance does not really surprise me. That OS readers, including some I have conversed with over the years, should register such indifference saddens me and makes me wonder, not for the first time, what the hell I am doing here.
I'll just keep commenting until it appears on the activity feed.
The editors serve the audience. Based on the silliness that regularly ensues here... and the inability of many to see obvious contradictions between their stated views of tolerance and their actual ideas and behavior, the editors understand the audience and give them the red meat they crave. Scratch, give them the wheat germ they eat (yet probably do not crave).
Thanks for commenting McGarret. I'm sure you're right, which begs the question why bother continuing on this site. I have fewer and fewer answers to that one.
Still beating this drum.
I think if you check, you will see that Mary Ann responded sufficiently to your comment (which pretty much said the same thing as this entire post did). In gist, she doesn't expect everyone to agree with her opinions, which are based upon HER life experiences. You can disagree all you want, based upon YOUR experiences.

Also as one of her "similarly benighted readers", based upon MY life experiences, I absolutely agree with her about the fact that many Italians and Sicilians (both male and female) are misogynists, xenophobes, racists and homophobes.

Now the fact that YOU don't acknowledge this fact tells me that you are either a male who is himself a misogynist/xenophobe/racist/homophobe or that you an apologist for them.

What it is painfully obvious is is that you are not a person of color, a woman or openly gay and live immersed in that culture because you would then see that that particular group of behaviors isn't an unfair stereotype at all but is in fact simply how they behave.
What is painfully obvious I'm afraid, Safe Bet Amy, is that you are not very bright.

If you were very bright, you would recognize the huge difference between saying that certain members of a community are racist or xenophobic (who would disagree with such a proposition) and suggesting that racism and xenophobia are endemic to that community, or to a gender within that community, which is what Sorrentino did and you seem to be doing now. It is quite simply the difference between observation and racist generalization.

If you were at all bright, you would recognize that suggesting a moral failing is endemic to an entire ethnic community is the very essence of ethnic bigotry, which the two of you are engaged in.

If you were at all bright, you would realize that using stereotypical images from Hollywood movies to justify your racist stereotyping of people as racist only makes your own prejudice and ignorance that much more legible.

If you were very bright, you would realize that referring to one's personal experiences is no defence against the charge of racism; in the personal experience of many sounterners in the 1960's, African-Americans were stupid, shiftless, and criminal. Fortunately, many of us treated that personal experience as suspect, as the effect rather than the cause of bigotry. Someone like you tells me they know something bad about an ethnicity based on their personal experience, I know two things: 1) nobody has a personal experience of an entire ethnic group or even a sizable portion thereof; they have personal experience of an infintesimal sample. 2) their willingness to draw invidious conclusions about groups based on on such a minute sample is motivated by their bigotry.

If you were at all bright you would know that my own sexual preference, gender, and racial mix is not at all obvious based upon my defence of any ethnic group against stereotypers and racists. Such identity politics driven assumptions as yours are the hallmark of intellectual mediocrity and ideological laziness. You know nothing at all about me.

If you were at all bright, you would know that gays, women and people of color are not immune to being homophobic, sexist, or ethniclly bigoted.

If you were at all bright you would recognize that the following line, copied from your comment, "that particular group of behaviors isn't an unfair stereotype at all but is in fact simply how they behave," is not only incoherent but deeply racist. Every stereotyping hater from the beginning of time has insisted their unfair stereotypes were simply how the people targeted really behave.

If you were at all bright, you would see that calling Carl Palladino a bully-clown of a politician, as I did, is hardly apologizing for him.

But then, if you were at all bright, you wouldn't be the bigot you so obviously are.
You forget the sister who posted a headsup on anti-Obama propaganda just days ago. keep reading, you'll find more.
Oooo, you're gonna make SafeBet mad
noah tawls wrote: Oooo, you're gonna make SafeBet mad

Nah. I don't waste anger on fuckwaffles who feels the need to so defend a group to which he apparently belongs.

'Sides, It's not like anybody reads his posts anyways.
"Nah. I don't waste anger on fuckwaffles who feels the need to so defend a group to which he apparently belongs.
'Sides, It's not like anybody reads his posts anyways."
Safe_Bet Amy

Let's see, in reverse order. First of all, you obviously read the blog. If you wish to characterize yourslef as noone, well I won't disagree.
Second of all, in saying I so defend the group to which I belong, you admit that your comment (as well as Sorrentino's blog) was an attack on that ethnic group, which is to say you have confessed implicitly to the ethnic bigotry I called you on. Thank you. I knew I was right.
Third, it only seems like my defense was strenuous because you are so ill-equipped to answer any of my arguments. your response proves once again, you're just not too bright. Finally, you call me to lame ass curse word out of what? Out of anger, which you have in fact "wasted" in the very act of claiming that you aren't. Anger born out of frustration that you have been exposed as the bigot you are.
I think McGarret is right. The OS editors give this readership what they want, one aspect of which is the license to find stereotypes acceptable to certain liberals. Male ethnics, white but not too white, always do the trick.
Still here calling out the Os editors (and readers like Safe Bet, poster child of OS stupidity) on their racism. Still awaiting editorial response.
Okay, so this is really rich. After being called out on her disgraceful display of ethnic bigotry, and then professing herself indifferent to an unimportant blog like mine, Safe Bet Amy has the gall to blogwhore me by PM. Some people E. M. Forster once wrote have cheek enough for anything.
Too bad Juan Williams didn't make his comments about Italian-Americans. Judging from Open Salon, the audience of NPR would have been totally awright with it and he wouldn't have even been criticized let alone sacked.
Libertarius, I am only just seeing this. I wish you'd have linked to Sorrentino's blog b/c I'm a primary sources kind of person. I'll have to go look for it. It sounds like you're right, though. I am disinclined toward generalizations about groups of people and, like you, tend to see such biases as though in bas relief.
much as i hate to find myself on the same side as mcg, my reaction is similar: the editors are running a business here. they must do it the best they can, and without regard for any question but how many eyes can they put on sponsor ads. you don't like it, complain if you wish but don't imagine your wishes get much attention.

paladino seems to fit many stereotypes and there is no reason to ignore that fact, he's a cardboard jerk on evidence to date. mas wants a higher class italo-american to carry the banner, which is natural. but she is doomed to disappointment, as good people don't apply for the position of politician, unless they are unable to meet the req
...requirements of some more respectable profession, like law or pimping.
I remember reading the original post. I was not at all surprised to see it on the cover. Gay-themed and gay-oriented posts are very popular on OS, especially with the editors.

Unfortunately, the support for gay issues on OS sometimes manifests itself as overt hatred for anyone who is on the other side of the issue, or who even just fails to share the same enthusiasm.

For those people it's basically open season on OS, and remarks that normally would be seen as out of bounds are welcomed and applauded. And the people who say they are denouncing hatred and bigotry in others express their own hatred and bigotry.

But this is nothing new. It has gone on for a long time. The only thing new is that Italians happened to be the target. Who knows what the target will be next time.