The reputation of Italian Americans has been marked by complex and ongoing negotiations of ethnic identity, ascent from the working class, and ongoing perceptions of support for criminal gangs.
Movies from early on loaded their films with Italian gangsters.
After 1915 heartbreaking melodramas of destitution and misfortune adopted instead a combination of muted 'othering' and universal characterizations.
Because of the common association, Italian Americans spokespeople see films and news accounts about the Mafia as harmful to their community.
Other Italians feel that such shows are problematic only if they feature the Mafia as a common or accepted part of Italian American life.
Thus the stereotypes range from portraying Italians as working class thugs, to violent "guappo" immigrants, to Mafiosi.
Other stereotypes portray Italians as overly-emotional, melodramatic, plebeian, superstitious, hot-blooded, aggressive, traditionalistic, obsessed with food, and prone to vengeance.
Men are sometimes stereotyped as "Italian Stallions".
Italian women have had two main stereotypes: an overly matriarchal old woman or a flirtatious, exotic young woman who indulges in fashions such as Prada and Gucci.
A lesser stereotype of Italian women has been that of a big-haired, gum-cracking airhead who is often shown as a girlfriend of a Mafia soldier.
Italian Americans have often found themselves at the receiving end of ethnic jokes, parodies, and discrimination due to certain stereotypes.
They have been stereotyped working as construction workers, chefs, beggars, peddlers, plumbers, and in other working class jobs.
In their own community, Italian Americans themselves will sometimes refer to such "buffoon-like" Italian males as “cafoni”.
“Cafone” is an Italian word that originally meant peasant, but its meaning evolved to refer to rude, ignorant, uncouth people.
Degrading and even dehumanizing images have been prevalent in the perpetuation of ignorance and historical myths.
Políticos, empresarios, banqueros: ésta es
PD; Mauricio, ¿no tiene un aire a Freddo Corleone? ;-P