What we were taught in school

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Conti832
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What we were taught in school

Postby Conti832 » 10 Mar 2009, 16:08

I don't know if everybody feels this way but it amazes me to learn how much of my education growing up in school turned out to not be true and how much we should have been taught and were not.

When we learned about the wave of people coming to America I have to be honest and say not until I was an adult did I know that Italians flocked to places such as Canada and South America just like here.We were never taught that.To learn how American schools changed names of Italian children and that it stuck is something I also find to be very wrong.Why was that allowed?

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Eleven » 10 Mar 2009, 18:41

It was allowed, because no immigrant was going to complain about it. And how could they, most didnt speak english. Some, also wanted to "fit in", so they accepted the american name.

I know my own grandparents stopped using their Italian names, on their own. He became Tony and she became Lucy.

A school teacher "selected" my mothers american name. Heh..see if they tried to do that, today. There would be all kinds of protests.

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby sylogician » 10 Mar 2009, 23:12

Assimilation was a very important part of coming to America. My Italian ancestors not only changed their names, but dropped all affiliations with Catholicism to fit in the predominantly Protestant society they found themselves in.

Ironically, in the Antebellum South, their novelty was particularly appreciated. Much as today Anglophiles have a love English accents, many well-bred Southerners were into Classical literature. The Italian-descended ladies of my family were admiringly refered to as "the Greek ladies" up till the turn of the last century, though they'd fully assimilated by the time of the Civil War.

Also, the names were still essentially the same, the only difference being slight spelling and pronunciation differences. Pietro to Peter. Gaspare to Casper. Tommaso to Thomas. Gian to John. So the change was not usually very traumatic.

American history is colored by those who write it. We think of Italians as late comers to America, but Italian Americans fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and on both sides of the Civil War as officers and men. There is a lot to be proud of in our heritage. Don't think too harshly of those who changed their names or allowed their names to be changed. It was all part of a process that wove us into the fabric of the nation. It is a history that all too often becomes eclipsed by the gumbas of the Sopranos and visions of New York slums. That's a Hollywood stereotype of a small minority of Italian Americans.

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Jwmann2 » 11 Mar 2009, 18:49

You guys haven't even stated the half yet. In American textbooks, who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell, right? Wrong! Antonio Meucci invented the telephone. When he applied for the patent, which was $10, they told him $25 probably because he was Italian. When you apply for patents, your idea becomes common knowledge, so roughly a year later, Graham Bell snatches up the patent.
What about the man who discovered America? Christopher Columbus? Nope. Crisforo Columbo.
Who discovered Canada? John Cabot, right? Nope. Giovanni Caboto.
Who was America named after? Amerigo Vespucci. But rarely do you ever even hear his name even mentioned with America.
Why didn't they call Mussolini- Ben Mussolin? Becase he never did any good, he was evil, so why Americanize it and take credit for it?

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Conti832 » 12 Mar 2009, 14:21

Heard the name Amerigo Vespucci last night on Jay Leno.But you are right.never hear that stuff.

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Romano1970 » 13 Mar 2009, 19:08

In my family, my parents hesitated to teach us italian for fear of being sterotyped. I find that to be an awfull thing. Not on the part of my parents, they were trying to protect us ( Americanize us). it is awfull on the part of a country that is filled with what........imigrants. try that with any other nationality and there would be backlash.
Michael Romano

Chi va piano va sano e va lontano

Those who go slowly, go safely and go far

Looking for family history in Piazza Armerina, Aidone, and Musomelli Sicily.
Names researching: Romano, Nigrelli, Ristagno, Piazza Maida Triolo.

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby sigel7 » 13 Mar 2009, 22:05

I have to pipe in here as the devils advocate. please dont hate me. On the same token I hate it when things are in both English and Spanish. English is the national language at the moment. I hate that my parents didnt teach us Italian and we were VERY American but I also see many immigrants both legal and not that dont embrace this country and just cluster amongst themselves without learning about Americans. My opinion, and its just that, my opinion, if you dont want to embrace the customs of where you are, maybe think hard about coming here. I wish my grandparents had stayed in Italy as I love everything about it but I hope they had a good reason to leave and I respect that when they did come here they learned the national language and ways of doing things while still keeping some traditions though my father didnt trickle much down to us.
Maybe by giving these Italians American names it was a compliment as if saying that they are one of our own.

Catherine
Looking for Calderoni

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Jwmann2 » 13 Mar 2009, 22:25

sigel17,
i assume yor referring to Mexicans, being those who don't learn English, and I agree. They work low skill jobs with other Mexicans, and don't learn English.
At least we all have Italian food to share amongst each other. Nothing beats family time preparing the food. But at what point does this whole Italian American thing come to an end? I am 22 and when I go to have kids soon, that will be one generation further from the old country. On my maternal side, we have possible Irish Ancestry in the 1600s, but come on, that doesn't make me Irish. That was almost 400 hunred years ago. Im not going to claim Irish ancestry.

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby carmine1917 » 29 Mar 2009, 15:37

They say once you are 3rd generation you are a true American. I am 2nd on my Dad's and 3rd on my Mom's. I am 100% Italian. I am learning that one side of my family may have come from France. People in Europe tell me I look french, so I jokingly say I am French sometimes. What I am, is American! Proud, very proud and will honor and not disrespect my country. Since nobody is really an American, where Native Americans, really the first here? Who knows. we all say we are Italian, Irish, Polish etc. Sorry Jewish people, Jewish is a religion and stop getting insulted when i say, No where are you from?


We all know back when Italian immigration started, our ancestors were TORTURED, insulted, it was horrible!!!

My Mother's family comes from Bensonhurst. My Mother did not give us middle names, she did not want her daughters to have such long names, like she does. My last name is misspelled, because the hospital in Brooklyn where my father was born, misspelled it and through school my dad used the the correct spelling, but the military said Nope, this is on your birth certificate. When he wanted to change it back, my Mother had already got her kids social security cards, so we just kept our name.

Growing up in a small town on the border of Westchester County, the Irish and Jews did not invite the Sicilian kids to birthday parties. The Irish on my street picked on us and the Monsignor at the Catholic School told my Mom her kids would not fit in the Catholic School with all the Irish kids!!! People don't believe me when I tell them this. I was born in 1972, so this went on through the 70's and 80's. My fathers dream was to rise above the projects and have a Cadillac. He got his cadillac, so we were called Mafia.


I am in awe of my ancestors and all those who came on these diseased, dirty ships to try a new foreign land. How brave were all these people? Italian, Jewish, Polish, Irish, Spanish, Mexican? Everyone who came to America came for the same reason=freedom.

Discrimination in this country is a big issue, it is always around. I understand the new wave of immigration coming into this country and wanting to stay around what they know and speaking their languages, etc. But to change the street names to Spanish, to have to press 1 for English--give me a BREAK! That is just plain nonsense.

I never got into the Sopranos, because I felt it made Italians look bad. However, my parents loved the show. Since I have been on disability , I have ordered Sopranos, starting from Season 1. I am on almost at the end of Season 5, yeh, I know some things that happen and watched the last episode when it was on but missed a lot in between, so don't tell me how Adrianna dies etc, LOL. My point is watching this show, has made me more proud than EVER to be Italian and Sicilian. What Tony Soprano says about Italians and how much they shaped this country, is so true. I just saw the episode at Carmella's fathers 75th birthday party, where she goes off on her Mother for being embarrassed for being Italian. Italians on TV have been described as fat, hairy mustaches and so on.

I also love how people say I have black blood in me, because I am Sicilian. My response is, I wish I did, I really do. I am so pale, I look sick at times, LOL!!!!

My point is-I am proud to be American with Italian ancestry!

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Jwmann2 » 30 Mar 2009, 05:16

The Sopranos teaches you about italian american culture more than italian culture it seems like. I bet if you went to Italy and asked a waiter for gabba ghoul or if you asked a man if he had a "goomar" on the side, they probablly would not know what you are talking about. Loved the episode where they mentioned Antonio Meucci as the true inventor of the telephone and Giovanni Caboto as the founder of Canada.

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby carmine1917 » 30 Mar 2009, 10:41

The Sopranos are Italian-American, so of course they are teaching us about Italian American Culture. The episode when they are talking about all Italians have done for this country is the best. As for goomar, the saying in Italy is Men love their Mothers, Respect their wives and spoil their mistresses. That is also saying all Italian men cheat. Another argument I had with a non-Italian, who insisted, since my father is Sicilian he cheated on my Mom. This is without ever meeting my parents, and knowing me for a month at a job, LOL!!

Do a google on famous Italian-Americans--we rule!!!!

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barbalatte
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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby barbalatte » 30 Mar 2009, 11:33

Maybe you Americans changed peoples names, but here in Australia we do no such thing!
Only I can change my name, no one else! At most the kids would call me Daniel instead of Daniele!

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby PeterTimber » 30 Mar 2009, 12:36

Then how come you guys changed Australia to OZ? =Peter=
~Peter~

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby ItalianLori » 30 Mar 2009, 19:41

http://www.niaf.org/
Click on the above link under Research and Resources. I am a member of the NIAF, and, although I don't agree with with some of the political philosophies of the organization, I do send them money to support Italian language and cultural education. They have a link called, Milestones, which outlines the acchievements of famous Italians and Italian Americans. It is quite remarkable. I, too, never watched the Sopranos because as a kid, I bore the brunt of racism because of my Italian heritage. Perpetuating the negative steriotypes in the media diminishes the
acchievements of our ancestors. The NIAF often takes various people and organizations to task for their negative connotations of Italians. This site is worth reading and learning about the contributions Italians and Italian Americans have made to our country and to the world. In a larger sense, it is our responsibility to our children and grandchildren, to make sure the true story of Italians and Italian Americans are recognized and never forgotten.

Lori

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Re: What we were taught in school

Postby Eleven » 30 Mar 2009, 23:46

I never felt any prejudices, growing up Italian. I come from a city, that had neighborhoods, that were all Italians. Even the few irish or blacks or polish, seemed italian to me. All of my friends were Italian and I married an Italian.

I watched the sopranos...for laughs. Those are your Hollywood Italians. I enjoyed watching them eat..and talk their "goomba" Italian. It was entertainment..as was the Godfather series. My husband watches those, every time they are on, even if he just saw them a few weeks before. I think he knows all of the lines, by heart.

I have been asked silly mafia questions (once we moved further north, out of that city). I was asked once, by my big Irish neighbor, if we were mafia, since I moved right next to the only other italian on the block. Ya gotta love those questions. I took it and ran with it..of course we are..we ALL are..so you had better watch out.

I have loved being Italian from the day I realized what that was. I couldnt imagine myself being anything else.


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