Italian Stereotypes

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How cinema created the Italian American mobster stereotype

Migrating to the United States because of economic opportunities, Italians faced many discriminations and stereotypes about their culture. Stereotyping is having a generalized idea of a certain group of people. The American cinema portrayed Italians as mobsters, pasta loving people, or thugs. We choose to accept and believe these stereotypes. Although Italians have made their way in America, they are still affiliated with many cultural stereotypes. Some films such as the Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos have negatively influenced our perspective in associating Italians with criminal activity. State how its negatively influenced (3)
The show features Italian mobster who cook
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In the Goodfellas, the characters are not your average criminal. They have an exceptional quality that young children will be impressed by. When they watch it they will be fascinated by them and follow in their footsteps. The quote mentions that this quality is not seen in other criminals so these mobsters are indeed better than other mob groups. Everyone wants to be a part of the better group. This uniqueness in the characters help to promote the idea of Italian stereotypes. Violence and exploitation of women are seen in the film, and being too involved up in the mafia lifestyle and what it is like to become the informer. Many films emphasize the Italian American identity as being lower or working class and if not they are gangsters. They portray Italians who live happily and needing nothing as gaining their wealth through crimes. Additionally, there is a gender stereotyping of gangsters and mobsters. They are generalized as being men as opposed to …show more content…
Television,” Andrew Brizzolara has an opposing argument to the other articles that gangster stereotyping is not so common in films. He states,“The gangster image is an Italian stereotype that has been in less use now than it was in the late 50s and early 60s. Today, the powers in control of television are attempting to populate the medium with a host of law-abiding Italian Americans.” (5). Films featuring mobsters are not as recurring as old times due to the fact that directors want to maintain their audiences. They cannot afford to anger a certain group of people because they will lose out in the end, however this change is not really effective. Brizzolara goes on to say, “Both Andrew Greeley and Richard Juliani feel that this is by no means an improvement. All that television has done is change the ‘roles’ of Italian American characterizations. They have altered one variable out of a legion of stereotypes that still remain in effect.” (5). The directors’ job is to entertain their audience and they think that changing the characters role will hide the subliminal messages that they are sending to us. An Italian American will still know that they are being portrayed in a negative way and that being-in-a-mob label will still be tied to

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