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The Italian communities around the world, starting from the USA, represent the heritage of the 20th century emigration. They all remember the Italian culture of their different periods of emigration...
The Italian communities around the world, starting from the USA, represent the heritage of the 20th century emigration. They all remember the Italian culture of their different periods of emigration. We often speak today about the crisis affecting the various foundations, born during the last century, without understanding the causes and, if you wish, the importance of such a crisis. Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance (I.L.I.C.A.) has been founded with the experience of the last Italian immigration to the USA, an immigration generated by choice rather than by need. The first reason, for the crisis of associationism among American of Italian origin Foundations, must be sought within the celebration of an Italian culture. They act as a mirror of the memories of individuals who haven’t lived that culture for more than 3 generations. ILICA considers such a “stereotype” a necessary integrative process to adjusting to the new culture for fear of being excluded from social, political and/or economic achievements. We have many examples of Americans of Italian origin success stories: from Geraldine Ferraro to Rudy Giuliani, from Penny Marshall to Ella Grasso, from Mario Cuomo to Antonin Scalia, from Jack Valenti to Edward Re, from Tommy La Sorda to Joe Di Maggio and many more (too many to mention) in show business, sports, politics, diplomacy, Italian names are an integral part of American history. A reality by now part of an Italian culture stereotyped enough within the last century. The acceleration of time, imposed by new technologies discovered only during the past 30 years, is creating new reference paradigms. The beginning of the XXI century is creating a new global culture, perhaps more inclusive, which is unmasking the emotion of a cultural heritage by reducing it to a cold historical notion. Dancing with the Italian songs of the ‘60s or eating a very rich meal, compared to a more balanced modern diet, could stir a happy emotion for remembering a special historic period rather than being a celebration of today’s actual Italian culture. The reality suggests that “today Italian culture” has much less representation in America than the memories tied to the last century. We, Americans of Italian heritage, must take that into consideration to better understand why we are characterized by stereotypes rather than by the reality of the culture Italian are living today. The actual gap is an identity crisis which has lost it’s cultural glue representing the meeting point between those, who were already in America, and the new Italians searching for a better future. A strong community of integrated immigrants and the formation of second and third generations are destined to accentuate the cultural segmentation by shuffling the criteria of cultural identity. The technological acceleration started in the ‘80s, has helped to split the different generations, not only of Italians or those of Italian heritage. Such a revolution had the first effect in the downsizing of the “senior members of the community”, focal points of any culture in general.
Grandparents, source of popular knowledge and proverbs, have been replaced by the internet. Parents have passed their influence to Siri and Alexa: all this has happened in less than 15 years. We often speak today about robotics and we must be ready to reform our entire way of communicating because, very soon, human beings will have to relate with machines that are always more artificially intelligent. Ethnic culture is increasingly compressed into algorithms accessible from those familiar with technology. They will however be motivated by the interest that this or that ethnic group will arouse: where is Italy today? After living for more than one year in Italy, after 50 years of working and living within the greatest democracy of our globe, I have found myself lost within an avalanche of opinions, TV talk shows, pseudo-political attempts to attract ethnic anarchy and the lack of working for the benefit of the people which has brought the “Bel Paese” back decades. Italy is no longer fashionable even if it remains the temple of creative fashion. Italy is still the first in producing the transformation of agricultural products into delicacies for the palate. Italy is still the most beautiful and first open-air museum in the world. COVID 19 is responsible for many failures around the globe while the chronic inability to organize a geographic site that has always been divided into small paradises, is showing all its limitations. Italy however, as in the Renaissance, is proposing again it’s genial DNA by donating to the new world its most valuable youth. Educated Italians are perpetuating the miracle once they are integrated into new organized cultures: they export pure excellence, Italian excellence. Leonardo Da Vinci was no exception: he had to emigrate to Paris and Milan before returning to Florence. Leonardo is part of Italian history while today we are obliged to gather up those precious drops of culture Italy is still producing through its youth. They exist, trust me, and we should help our younger generations them to sail away from the ocean of rhetoric that grips a system unable to manage justice, politics, social order, ethnic integration and everything for which Italy is famous today, including having the dirtiest capital of Europe. It would be useless to try to look for responsibilities tied to an environmental disaster which took Roma to the social superficiality of the Roma from the early 19th century.
XXI century Italy has a great history while has lost its culture.
That is unfortunately the sad truth, and the principal cause for the new emigration of young Italians towards better organized countries either industrialized or in need of expertise. Young Italians are leaving their country where meritocracy has been replaced by a new nepotism, just an imitation of the original one reigning 200 years ago. Unlikely entrepreneurs make their way within a weak Italian system with financial strength deriving from doubtful legal activities. The “Bel Paese” is still in time to restart a new renaissance even if the new ethnical groups (Romanians, Nigerians, Albanians, Chinese…) contend the remains in a state of comatose agony. Italian companies are moving to territories more favorable to production and profit while Indians are buying, in Italy, the largest European steel mill. Italy offers tax incentives and benefits to foreign investors, almost the same benefits Italian entrepreneurs receive from the former eastern Countries with tax reductions of up to more than 50% of the amount they are paying in Italy. We remember when work was considered a noble means to support oneself and one’s family. Without forgetting the years of mass emigration because Italians had no work nor a serious hope for their future. It was a situation that allowed us, the emigrants, to write so many success stories in the USA.
The Italian constitutional charter is the youngest one among the industrialized Countries while the history of Italy is among the oldest in the world.
The fragility of a country in a process of cultural development is increasingly more evident within the administration of justice and social relationships. All is disguised by an avalanche of linguistic rhetoric perceivable by titles assigned, as in the best feudal tradition, and new laws ruling everything while condoning the opposite of everything. The stereotypes underlying the American Foundations of Italian heritage must deal with XXIst century Italy. A strong culture integrates and harmonizes the new immigrations without discrimination. If one doesn’t know where they come from, they cannot know where they are going.
The evolution of Italian culture is in a worrying pause.
Let’s work together to help our “roots” support all the positive things they have produced.
We are the fruits of those roots and even if we are outside of the “Bel Paese” we can still do much to help Italy. Let us support the Italian youth in establishing their role and in taking their place in this new Inter-Cultural context, so that they too can contribute to the globalization currently underway. Each culture will offer their best and Italy should be no different.