A new mailer paid by ‘Stand For New York’ – a PAC supporting Michelle Bond – has ruffled feathers in the First Congressional District of New York.
The new mailer likens LaLota to former Mayor Bill DeBlasio and former Governor Andrew Cuomo in a mafioso depiction, with the caption “Liberal Fella” in a clear reference to the 1990 film, GoodFellas. It further reminds voters to vote in the August 23 primary election.
Across the region, the Italian-American community was quick to condemn the action via the Italian American Political Action Committee (I AM PAC).
“It has been brought to the attention of the Italian American PAC (I AM PAC) that again, discrimination still exists in the political arena,” reads the post, entitled Discrimination Against Italians Still Exists.
It goes on further to read: “I AM PAC is making this call to all Italian Americans, especially those who are the third and fourth generation of Italian Heritage, to open their eyes; and, it is time to recognize that even though you are American, you still have to deal with being stereotyped. You may not realize that society has and still stereotypes all of Italian Heritage. This stereotyping has existed for so long that everyone has become numb to it.”
“Think about it… the Italian American community has made tolerable movies, TV shows, Political Ads and big industry to continue displaying Italians as being part of illegal criminal activities making all of Italian Heritage a stereotypical group.”
Similar attacks were made against the Cuomos during their time in office, as well as other prominent Italian politicians across the state.
“This isn’t limited to one party,” said Bob Fonti, president of I AM PAC.
Even Long Island, a region with Italian ancestry evident in the names and culture, is not immune to characterizations time and time again decried as bigoted by the Italian community.
“It’s not the first time that this has happened,” said James Lisa, chairman of I AM PAC.
“It seems like it is permissible to stereotype every Italian,” said Lisa. “That’s what’s constantly used (criminal associations) in the community to disparage, dispel, denounce, and discriminate against anyone Italian running for office.”
Fonti and Lisa demand an apology from whichever entity put out the advertisement to the Italian community. “An apology is deserved and demanded,” concluded Lisa.
“An insult to the Italian American name is an insult to all ethnic groups,” Fonti further emphasized.
A representative of the Bond campaign was not available prior to publication.