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Italia–the Terrible

14 October 2010
Tomorrow I have a very important photo shoot and I will be spending time job hunting since I am running out of cash. I have some awesome ideas that I need to follow up on. My blog post over at Beyond Black and White went exceedingly well, however I got a major outcry from my Italian friends for not giving a complete picture of the Italian culture and landscape. Mind you, I did not see any point of adding what I am about to put here on this post on a post about interracial dating in Italy. Remember the following is a generalized overview. There are always exceptions to every rule, so your experience and someone else's experience could be completely different.

For those of you who have been emailing me about Italian men and are they truly what people say and are Italian people really opened minded, the answer is yes and no. I find that Italian men mainly south of Tuscany are very attracted to women of color because of the Moor conquest (Moors are people from North Africa that have mixed heritage) and the Italian conquest of Libya and Eritrea. They are used to seeing dark skin and features and are more open to interracial 'coupling'. Mind you there are plenty of men in the North who love more than blondes, however if you are darker, you will have more luck in the central to southern part of Italy.

There is also the Madonna/Whore complex that most Italian men suffer from. It is due to the dominant Catholic culture and maschilismo--no English term for this; it is the opposite of feminist-- society here. What is the Madonna/Whore complex you ask? The Madonna/Whore complex means that women only fall into two categories, Madonna--i.e. girlfriend, wife, serious relationship, good girl-- or whore--well you get the picture. And once you fall into one of the categories you are never set free from it. There is no flexibility in a woman's sexuality like you would find in say France or England. Now don't go tripping because you know this complex also exists in the States. And it dominates--just watch a few music videos and reality tv shows and you will see it staring you in the face. So girls who want to just come here to have flings, you may want to think twice about that if you eventually want a serious relationship down the road. And remember Italy is a village--EVERYONE knows everyone's business.

What about racism you ask? Well, the racism or as I refer to it prejudice that is the strongest in Italy is between Northern Italians and Southern Italians. There is a major hatred of Southern Italians by Northern Italians, it even goes as deep as Northern Italians claiming that Southern Italians are a different race of people. According to historical data, this is pretty much fact however, I say they share a common land and language so to me they are all Italians. The country that is known as Italy was settled by different groups of people such as the Osco-Umbrians, the Etruscans, Ligurians, Raetians, Latins and the Italics in pre-history.

After the dissolution of the Roman empire, the Southern part of Italy was conquered many times and the Island of Sicily was conquered some 500 times by varying groups to include the Greeks, French, Moors, Arabs, Turks (Byzantines), Africans, Spanish, Normans and Romans. In fact there is a rumor that Sicily used to be an island of people mixed with Black African blood, by which many of them would assert as well. Consequently, the first black Madonna statue was created in Palermo, Sicily in the 14th century and the second in Naples.

Sicilians are probably the most diverse looking group you would ever see. There are some blonde haired, blue eyed Sicilians, some dark, some with hair as curly as mine, and they are very PROUD of their heritage. Never call a Sicilian an Italian, you might get cut. Seriously.. Now this is where it gets funny to me, the North claims the southern Italians are a different race because of the many different groups that have conquered that area of the country, HOWEVER the north has been conquered just as extensively, by the French, the Lombards (german tribe), the Gauls (a gaelic tribe mainly out of France), and the Goths. And subsequently the mixing of both groups (southern and northern) within the population. So no one, if this criteria is asserted, living in Italy is Italian. But hey, I am just visiting so I can never understand the beef between the two regions, like no one can understand the racism in America except those who have been discriminated against there. To me it is the classic, light skinned vs. dark skinned, north vs. south, industrialists vs.pastoralists debauchery that exist in many colonized states and most everywhere.

Secondly, because this rift between the North and the South, a political party was created called the Lega Nord. The Lega Nord is advocating for the disbandment of Italy into federal state giving each region or state in Italy the right to rule its region autonomously--which would make Italy similar to the United States pre-Civil War. Mind you this system didn't work the first time, but most folks have their own agenda and throw history to the wind. This political party is also advocating the succession of the North from the South, kinda like the Confederates but the reverse. The argument here is that the northerners work longer hours, produce better businesses and product and are in essence, more intelligent than those in the south who are happy to be ruled and controlled by the Mafia and farm their entire life--mind you this is not altogether true although there is some truth in the assertion about the rule of the Mafia in the south--which is another topic altogether--but believe me, those in the south dislike the Mafia just as much as those in the North.

Despite all of these negative things going on here, not to mention the bureaucracy that is out of this world, Italy to me is still one of the most enchanting places on earth. To be honest most of what I mention, if you don't KNOW the language or culture and if you are not Italian than you never really see it. In fact, the positives outweigh the negatives. But I had to write about it so that you all know the real deal and not come here with stars in your eyes, completely oblivious.

For me, I am having the time of my life. I have not been discriminated against thus far--knock on wood and the only place that I have not liked in Italy is Milan--initially--the last time I went I had the time of my life but I think it was because of the company I was in. But this is just MY personal experience. Your experiences may be totally different.

I hope I have enlightened you. Until next blog, watch some La Dolce Vita or Under the Tuscan Sun and enjoy the landscape and the joy that is Italia!
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Thanks chiclets for your chic comments. I look forward to hearing more from you.

Forever chic,