Italy: segregation in schools, “black kids painted white”

Posted on October 15, 2008

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While Americans prepare to vote for a black president Italy, it appears, prefers to be inspired by the days of Jim Crow.

Not that the issue of race is something that’s constantly on my mind (I’m far from right on and definitely don’t have a chip on my shoulder) but my daily visits to the Corriere website fill me despair.

Today’s offering? The Italian parliament has voted 265 to 245 to have separate classes for foreigners in schools.

 

Now I know many Italians see the Roman Empire as their glory days but have they not noticed we’re in the 21st century? How can the European Union allow this?

 

Aiming to “enable integration”

The motion was proposed by the Lega del Nord. The party’s leader claims the measure serves to prevent racism and actually enable real integration. Erm, really?

 

Probably the only time young Italians are going to be able to interact with immigrants and gain a real understanding of who they are as people rather than the stereotypes that they see on TV or hear from their parents is at school.

 

A new generation

I remember the funniest thing when my ex’s 6-year-old niece came home and told her grandmother that she was in love with a Moroccan boy in her class.

 

For Francesca it was nothing out of the ordinary, he was her friend – the fact that his parents weren’t born in Italy had nothing to do with anything.

 

What was beautiful was that the grandmother, who would distinguish between someone being from her village or the next one three miles down the road, wasn’t bothered that her granddaughter was friends with a Moroccan either.

 

A despicable proposal

The Il Popolo della Libertà, a liberal conservative political party that was once in coalition with the Lega del Nord, has said the motion is “despicable and inserts descrimination in schools”.

 

It says quite a lot if the party fronted by Berlusconi, who famously apologised for Mussolini’s actions, starts complaining about discriminatory measures.

 

The proposal also intends to ban any foreign student from joining an Italian after 31 December in any year.

 

“Black children painted white”

That said it seems as the issue of race has captured the interest of the Italian media.

 

Below the article on school segregation Corriere runs a story on cut-outs of black children that were painted white. The tagline reads “Racism in Varese”.

Isn’t it more mindless vandalism than racism?

 

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Posted in: italy, politics