Berlusconi’s Frighteningly Successful Racism. Adetola Lawal

Two days after the United States Presidential Election, Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, said to the President of Russia President-elect Barack Obama “has all the qualities to get along well with you: he’s young, handsome and suntanned, so I think you can develop a good working relationship.” This statement was harshly rebuked by Italian politicians as being racist. Berlusconi’s opponent in the last Italian election, Walter Veltroni, went far enough to say that his comments “seriously damage the image and dignity of our country on the international scene.” Unfortunately for Italy, this statement is insignificant compared to the racism rampant in the Italian government and population at large. The Roma (Gypsy) are an ethnic group that emigrated from South Asia to many countries primarily in Southern and Eastern Europe almost a millennium ago. For many centuries, Europeans have been at odds with the Roma community due to their cultural differences and physical appearances. The Roma have experienced injustices for centuries including losing their children, suffering discrimination, and even being forced into labor. Continue reading