We're more alike than you think


To the editor:

(re: “Let Dems keep ranting,” Sept. 14)

In his recent letter, Dennis Donofrio asserts that his being of white, Italian descent makes him culturally superior to peoples of color. How ironic!

Only recently in our nation’s history, immigrants from South Europe were considered by bigots to be too dark-skinned for polite, white society. They had difficulty getting jobs or joining some private clubs. 

Sadly, similar bigotry is now found among some northern Italians against their own countrymen from the Southern Italian peninsula and Sicily. And two generations ago, the New York Yankees management was reluctant to sign Lawrence (“Yogi”) Berra because he looked too Italian for them, being short, squat and swarthy — unlike the elegant-looking Joseph DiMaggio.

People who invoke white superiority are apparently ignorant of established anthropology, which holds that all of our species, Homo sapiens, are descended from black people who migrated out of the Horn of eastern Africa about 125,000 to 50,000 years ago. Some of them evolved into peoples of the different racial aspects seen today.

If Donofrio was more aware of Italian history, he would know that for many thousands of years, there has been significant cultural exchange between Italians and Africans. Indeed, the Roman poet known as Terrence was a freed slave born a member of the Berber tribes of the Sahara region.

Alan Saks

Alan Saks