An incident involving CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has ignited debate over if – and why – the title “Fredo” is an ethnic slur directed at Italian People.
A video surfaced on Monday night exhibiting Cuomo berate a person for his reference to The Godfather movies’ fictional character Fredo Corleone.
The Corleone brother is seen because the weakest brother within the movies, looking for approval from his mafia boss father.
In response, Cuomo claimed that Fredo is “just like the N-word” for Italians.
“Are any of you Italian?” he requested of the boys concerned within the altercation within the profanity-laced video. “It is an insult to your individuals… It is just like the N-word for us.”
Cuomo’s analogy to the N-word drew condemnation, with critics saying it was inappropriate to match Fredo to the explosive and offensive time period as soon as used to insult black slaves.
Citing Oprah Winfrey, journalist Yashar Ali wrote on Twitter that “the N-word is the very last thing black males heard earlier than they have been strung up from a tree… Nothing is comparable.”
Anthony Tamburri, dean of the John D Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens School Metropolis College of New York, mentioned that he and his colleagues spoke in regards to the incident, and don’t discover Fredo personally offensive, however recognise the potential malice behind the time period.
“The usage of the phrase Fredo as an ethnic slur… is a regionalism,” mentioned Mr Tamburri, who’s a third-generation Italian American. “It is undoubtedly one thing extra native than it’s nationwide.”
In some elements of the US, Italian People would see the time period as impartial, he added.
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“Italians for the previous 140 years have been accused of many issues, together with being lazy, and due to this fact I can see how lazy transfers to incompetence, as Fredo was seen within the Godfather,” Mr Tamburri mentioned.
“He is the older weak brother… He is not the brightest, not the strongest,” he continued.
Mr Tamburri advised that Cuomo’s outrage could also be rooted within the notion that he’s the weak hyperlink of his household, just like Fredo of the fictionalised Corleones.
“It is doable to see how Chris Cuomo might have taken it personally as effectively contemplating his father was one of many United States’ greatest modern orators and contemplating his brother is the Governor of New York,” Mr Tamburri mentioned, referring to Cuomo’s well-known members of the family. His father, Mario Cuomo, was a former governor of New York and his brother, Andrew Cuomo, at the moment serves in the identical position.
CNN political commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas invoked Fredo on this method on Cuomo’s present in January, when she in contrast US President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, to Fredo.
His “solely name to fame was being his daddy’s son”, Navarro-Cárdenas mentioned.
The president appeared to attract on this thread when he weighed in on Tuesday, writing on Twitter that he “thought that Chris was Fredo additionally”.
Whereas Mr Tamburri recognised Fredo as inflammatory, he mentioned it pales compared to different slurs towards Italians.
However Mr Tamburri hesitates to match even these slurs to the N-word.
“As a lot as Italians have suffered and suffered drastically, African People and Jews have needed to cope with issues we’ve not needed to cope with,” Mr Tamburri mentioned, citing the “tragedy of slavery” and “the tragedy of genocide”.
“It does not in any form or kind condone the use,” he continued, “however as Italian People we simply must know the place we stand inside the larger scheme of ethnic politics.”