The Italian Americans: Responding to Stereotypes

Italian Americans are no longer a new group of immigrants. It has been decades since the majority of Italians in the U.S. were newcomers. Since that time, Italian American identity has evolved and some wonder how much of what is considered Italian American identity today is a stereotype. Many of the associations that exist in the US about Italian Americans has been constructed by the media through magazines, films, and cartoons and does not reflect individuals’ realities. These “caricatures” neither capture the diversity of people and experience nor the nuances of what it means or feels like to have a connection to another place and to migration many generations back. This short excerpt from PBS’s “The Italian Americans” explores the ways that Italian Americans respond to those stereotypes.