Friday, January 6, 2017

Carl Paladino---The Beat Goes On

We recently posted about Carl Paladino and the reaction to his racist comments and his nonsensical apology. That post has drawn a considerable number of readers and, sadly, the predictions I made in that post seem to be working out.

We were not alone in our outrage, of course. Paldino has been under considerable pressure from people of conscience. George De Stefano, for instance, has written a great piece for La Voce di New York fleshing out the points made in our post and adding much to the discussion. It's clear that Paladino is a bad actor, and has been one for a long time---and it's clear that he has powerful friends who support him and who share his racism and that Paladino and his friends present real dangers. Trump & Company welcome Paladino's fundraising and money, for instance, even if they put just a bit of polite distance between themselves and Paladino's remarks. These ties need to be exposed. "La brace coerte I'e quele che scota de piu," my family would say---Covered coals burn the hottest.

Anyway, we strongly encourage everyone---and particularly Italian Americans---to read the De Stefano article here and react positively to it with organizing and by joining in the protests.

From the article:

“Where is the outrage?” asks Anthony Tamburri, in his La Voce di New York article about the silence of Italian American organizations over the outrageously racist comments by Carl Pasquale Paladino, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor of New York, the co-chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the state, and a member of the Buffalo public schools board. Tamburri, the Dean of the Calandra Italian American Institute (City University of New York) and a preeminent Italian American intellectual, notes that Italian American organizations go into high dudgeon over fictional representations of Italian or Italian American gangsters. Indeed, sometimes their complaints tend toward hysteria, as when one member of the Italian American “prominenti” referred to The Sopranos as a form of “genocide.”

These intrepid foes of what they consider ethnic defamation, however, never express outrage over defamation and outright racism directed at other groups. As Tamburri notes, “They have gone on to condemn filmmakers such as Coppola, Scorsese, and Chase, to name a few, and the numerous Italian-American actors and actresses who took roles in such films. Yet, they seem to remain silent on such real-life incidents as those involving the likes of Paladino.”

Like Tamburri, I will not quote Paladino’s sickening comments about Barack and Michelle Obama. They are in one sense typical of the Republicans’ contempt for the outgoing president and his wife, whom they have savaged in grossly racist terms for eight years. (For the record, this is not a partisan issue for me, as I am not an admirer of Obama but rather one of his left-wing critics. I believe his and the Democrats’ failures to pursue a genuinely progressive agenda helped elect Trump. That, however, is another story.) Paladino’s comments, which he made to the Buffalo publication ArtVoice in response to a call for suggestions about “What Do We Want For 2017?”, are beyond the pale even for right-wing Republicans. He evidently felt that he needed to spice up his vitriol with references to bestiality, gorillas, and the First Lady’s gender.

No comments:

Post a Comment