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How Italy Protects Its Identity Essay

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Updated: May 24th, 2021

Italy is doubtlessly among the countries that have the richest cultures resulting from their long and diverse histories. The contemporary Italian society, however, is hardly open to diversity, which results in dramatic underrepresentation of ethnical and racial minorities in the sociocultural environment. Furthermore, the local residents seek to preserve their authentic culture, which is done by means of replacing foreign phenomena with local ones and promoting the latter. Overall, what I learned from the unit is that Italians appreciate their cultural identity to such an extent that they find in normal to neglect different ones.

A considerable part of Italian history is associated with colonialism, including race-based violence, which has determined a prejudiced attitude toward the black. Modern African-Italians are still not considered integral to the national belonging and remain in the background in all terms – social, political, and cultural. Nevertheless, the government does not recognize any form of racism, regarding it as a foreign problem, which is not critical in Italy.

Being excluded encourages Afro-Italian population to make their presence known, in particular, through art. One of the best-known artists trying to draw attention to the status of blackness in Italy is the writer and activist of African origin Igiaba Scego. Thus, her latest novel entitled La linea del colore, which is The Color Line in English, describes the past, present, and desirable future of Italy. It comprises the tales of three black women whose lives illustrate that Italy quite tolerates racist perspective due to the specific mentality of a former colonial power.

Scego insists that the formation of a new Italianness, which is apparently a recent trend in the local society, should include blackness as an intrinsic part of the history. The systematic dehumanization and enslavement that took place throughout the empire’s existence must never be forgotten. Considering the colonial past, Afro-Italians should be heard in the present and gain a full membership in sociocultural life of the country in the future.

Meanwhile, Italian society is apparently not ready to integrate anything, which is not aligned with the image of Italy as a white Western country with unique traditions. The latter nuance is of special importance, as even cultural phenomena peculiar to other Western countries are not really welcome. Thus, Italians actively opposed the fast food culture brought from the USA, which they had perceived as a threat to the traditional local cuisine. The fear gave birth to the so-called slow food movement that then spread across the world and is not present in approximately 160 countries. The essence of that movement lies in consuming clean, high-quality food made from seasonal natural ingredients.

In point of fact, everything Italy is known for is being carefully preserved and apparently seen by the locals as a marker of normality. For instance, everyone who has ever been to Rome was probably impressed by the chaotic driving even in the downtown. The transport flows at Piazza Venezia, the central square of the capital, are traditionally controlled and directed by a police officer standing on a special pedestal. His absence during the quarantine was seen by the residents as a symbol of hard time, while his returning was regarded as returning to normal.

To summarize, notwithstanding the storied history of the Roman Empire, modern Italy, which is its heir, remains pretty culturally isolated. Notably, it does not allow for representing the black population, although the documented colonial ventures prove that Italian history, hence culture, is not entirely white. Other ways to preserve the local traditions include replacing the adopted cultural phenomenon as well as a special focus on what forms the image of the country.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'How Italy Protects Its Identity'. 24 May.

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