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Ethnic Groups And Descrimination

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Italian-Americans

Amanda Austin-Bassett

Axia of UOP College

Tarra Thompson

October 21, 2007

A person could consider me a true American in the sense that I am made up of many different races. There is one that stands up most among them all though, and that is the Italian side of me. My Great grandparents on my father's side came through Ellis Island in the 1910's, they were migrating from Sicily. They made it here before the government put strict laws into affect for the number of Italians that were allowed per year to immigrate to the United States. The newly Italian-American ethnic group found themselves facing many types of discrimination just like every other group who tried to make America their home. The start of World War II though made it especially hard for the average Italian immigrant. They found themselves faces with new prejudices, segregation, and racism. "During World War II, 600,000 undocumented Italian immigrants in the United States were deemed "enemy aliens" and detained, relocated, stripped of their property or placed under curfew. A couple hundred were even locked in internment camps." (Yollin, 2001)

"Italian Americans were one of the largest ethnic minorities in the United States in the late 1940s. According to the 19.50 census, the United States was home to 1,427,145 Italian immigrants and 3,143,405 American-born people of Italian parentage. Third-generation Italian Americans accounted for about two million persons, comprising nearly five percent of the total American population of Italian descent in 1950." (Luconi 2000) With these large percentages of Italian-Americans in the United States it made for ugly times that have been covered up until the recent September 11th attacks provoked the abuse of Middle Eastern-Americans. The attacks on the Middle Eastern-Americans brought back the abuse that the Italian-Americans suffered during WWII.

The Italian-Americans at the time "were forced to register as enemy aliens, carry photo ID booklets and surrender flashlights, shortwave radios, guns, binoculars, cameras and other "contraband." There were FBI raids on private homes, arrests and detentions." (Yollin 2001) At the time that World War II broke out there was over 500,000 Italian-Americans fighting in the United States Army. They made up the largest ethnic group in the service. Many soldiers came home to their families gone and their homes destroyed.

Because of the large scale hiding of the truth many elderly Italian-Americans found themselves wanting justice. They didn't want money or an apology, all they wanted was the truth to be known. After much work by these Italian-Americans an "investigation was ordered by President Bill Clinton when he signed the Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act." (Yollin 2001) This act was a large scale investigation into what happened to the Italian-Americans during WWII, the results were that is was now publicly know the abuse that they suffered, and it was taught to the world.

During World War II the Italian-Americans were institutionally discriminated against when they were denied the opportunities and equal rights that others were receiving in a society. Even before WWII took place though the Italian-Americans were forced to endure the effects of low-wage labor, and dual-wage labor when they were forced to work separately, and take lower pay then other ethnic groups. The work place isn't the only place that the Italian-American has found troubles. They have been redlined for many years to the point where you can only find large groups of Italian-Americans living in tight nit communities. Even today you will find in large cities around the United States little sections

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