In a pivotal scene in The Godfather Part II, Kay Corleone (nee Adams, because what could possibly be more WASPy than Kay Adams, Dartmouth co-ed?), confronts Michael with the truth about the surreptitious abortion of their child, “an unholy, evil” act she likens to their marriage and to what she calls “this Sicilian thing.” Left unexamined, of course, is Kay’s own role in denying, enabling, and benefiting from the Cosa Nostra.
For over a century, Italian Americans have lived with the idea that WASP America may love our music, our food, our poetry, and our art, but doesn’t really respect, like, or trust us. The WASP owners of most of the means of production since the days of Carnegie and Morgan have benefited from our cheap, white labor, buffering themselves from us with buffoonish caricatures, with immigration and naturalization policies meant to keep Southern Europeans distinct from “real”…
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