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Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:17 AM

"Fredo" and Chris Cuomo and Italian Americans

For those who are parsing that the term "Fredo" wasn't derogatory towards both Chris Cuomo and Italian Americans:

1) I wouldn't call the character, Fredo, in The Godfather as an exemplary representative of Italian Americans;

2) If CC had been labeled "Guido," would that have made a difference?

3) Italian Americans are only a couple of generations away from the status imposed upon Central and South Americans. (Remember WOP -- "without a passport" or "garlic eaters" in It's A Wonderful Life?)

Should the moniker of "Fredo" be excused when it's an insult against a group of AMERICANS?

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Reply "Fredo" and Chris Cuomo and Italian Americans (Original post)
no_hypocrisy Aug 14 OP
Squinch Aug 14 #1
FBaggins Aug 14 #4
hlthe2b Aug 14 #11
Squinch Aug 14 #14
FBaggins Aug 14 #20
hlthe2b Aug 14 #22
FBaggins Aug 14 #23
hlthe2b Aug 14 #25
FBaggins Aug 14 #26
hlthe2b Aug 14 #27
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #29
hlthe2b Aug 14 #30
FBaggins Aug 14 #33
hlthe2b Aug 14 #34
FBaggins Aug 14 #37
hlthe2b Aug 14 #38
FBaggins Aug 14 #39
hlthe2b Aug 14 #41
BannonsLiver Aug 14 #24
dsc Aug 14 #2
hlthe2b Aug 14 #16
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #58
hlthe2b Aug 14 #59
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #60
hlthe2b Aug 14 #61
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #63
hlthe2b Aug 14 #64
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #66
hlthe2b Aug 14 #68
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #70
hlthe2b Aug 14 #71
Historic NY Aug 14 #69
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #72
FBaggins Aug 14 #75
LanternWaste Aug 14 #76
FBaggins Aug 14 #78
FBaggins Aug 14 #73
hlthe2b Aug 14 #74
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #82
FBaggins Aug 15 #83
smirkymonkey Aug 14 #62
emmaverybo Aug 14 #77
PoliticAverse Aug 14 #3
True Dough Aug 14 #5
Laura PourMeADrink Aug 14 #32
True Dough Aug 14 #35
FBaggins Aug 14 #6
WhiskeyGrinder Aug 14 #10
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #13
Drahthaardogs Aug 14 #36
FBaggins Aug 14 #44
Drahthaardogs Aug 14 #51
FBaggins Aug 14 #54
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #53
Dennis Donovan Aug 14 #7
no_hypocrisy Aug 14 #8
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #18
FBaggins Aug 14 #21
Drahthaardogs Aug 14 #40
FBaggins Aug 14 #47
walkingman Aug 14 #9
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #12
Gidney N Cloyd Aug 14 #42
Oregon1947 Aug 14 #15
no_hypocrisy Aug 14 #17
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #28
Throck Aug 14 #19
Drahthaardogs Aug 14 #31
StarfishSaver Aug 14 #43
FBaggins Aug 14 #45
Talitha Aug 14 #46
FBaggins Aug 14 #48
SweetieD Aug 14 #49
FBaggins Aug 14 #50
tblue37 Aug 14 #52
xmas74 Aug 14 #56
JustAnotherGen Aug 14 #65
Stinky The Clown Aug 14 #80
AncientGeezer Aug 14 #55
FBaggins Aug 14 #57
aikoaiko Aug 14 #67
Stinky The Clown Aug 14 #79
LArider Aug 14 #81

Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:21 AM

1. By that token, though, "Michael" should be a much bigger insult.

I am not saying Fredo is not a slur. It is. But the Godfather story glorifies skeezy Italian criminals, and Michael is the skeeziest and most criminal.

That being said, I do love the movies.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:24 AM

4. Which... interestingly enough... better describes Cuomo's behavior in the video.

Definitely not Fredo-like... but also not in a good way.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:00 AM

11. Not the same at all. Michael was criminal, but the intelligent one. It would not be a slur in the

manner of Fredo at all, which implies stupid, cowardly and incompetent, while Michael implies ruthless criminality.

Obviously, most of us would not wish either comparison, but Fredo is undoubtedly the most insulting.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:04 AM

14. Kay.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:48 AM

20. I disagree

I would much rather be seen as stupid/cowardly/incompetent than as a ruthless violent criminal.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #20)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:52 AM

22. The slur's relevence is in the mind of those slinging them. To RWTrumpers, it is the opposite.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #22)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:55 AM

23. Not relevant in this case

Neither would focus on the character’s Italian-ness.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #23)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:02 AM

25. How can YOU say what was in the mind of the verbal assaulter?. Really? You don't get to determine

what is an insult and what is not. It is the recipient to decide. I find this entire discussion pitting one slur against another, one population, one race, one ethnicity against another in the attempt to decide which slur is worst-- to be ridiculously condescending and inappropriate.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #25)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:07 AM

26. Seriously?

Isn't that what you're doing by insisting that it's an ethnic slur?

It is the recipient to decide.

Not quite. It's for the recipient to decide whether he's insulted... it isn't for him to decide "what was in the mind of the verbal assaulter" - let alone to speak for everyone with an Italian ancestor or everyone who ever watched a particular movie.

For the record... I'm perfectly capable of looking at negative character traits of fictional characters without assuming that those traits are associated with his race/gender/whatever. Why aren't you?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #26)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:16 AM

27. I insist the recipient believes it is. You are being quite condescending

to believe YOU get to decide for EVERYONE how to perceive a slur aimed at them It is not dissimilar to the parade of defenders on RW media justifying Trump's every utterance because THEY don't think it is wrong to use his horrific language and verbal assaults. Such behavior is not progressive in my book. Slurs you don't find inappropriate because they aren't aimed at YOU do not automatically become acceptable.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #27)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:23 AM

29. I think it's up to an individual to decide if an insult is offensive to them

But it's also possible for others to consider objectively whether a term is an ethnic slur aimed at an entire group since the latter is based not on personal interaction and perception but on history, usage and other objective factors.

History and usage do not support a conclusion that "Fredo" is a slur against all Italians.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #29)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:27 AM

30. As those of us who have been harmed throughout our careers by those who use the "c" word against

us know, the youth who have never experienced that but endeavor to be cool and say the word is just fine because they are "repurposing it" or the Brits use it without offense or whatever, this is bullshit. If you aren't a member of the group being attacked then you don't get to decide if it is a slur or not. That is the height of arrogance.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #27)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:37 AM

33. Laughable

And ironic re: "condescending".



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Response to FBaggins (Reply #33)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:39 AM

34. Obviously you think insulting all manner of people is "laughable"... How progressive of you.

All in whose goat is getting gored, I guess.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #34)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:40 AM

37. Lol.

Tell me again how I'm the one claiming I can get into others' minds and declare what they're thinking.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #37)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:43 AM

38. No need to.. You shout it like a megaphone with your own posts.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #38)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:44 AM

39. As I said...

... the irony.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #39)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:50 AM

41. well, though you didn't mean it obviously

I will take that as a minute amount of self-awareness.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #20)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:59 AM

24. That's because it's subjective.

And one reason why the person you are responding to has a weak point.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:22 AM

2. excused no but equal to the n word no

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Response to dsc (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:10 AM

16. I think the impact is on the individual member of a group being targeted. I don't think it right

for me to evaluate the relative impact of a slur against a group to which I do not belong. To me, the "n" word will always be a special level of nasty, but then again, I feel that intensively about the "c" word leveled against me and other women throughout our lives. Some who have naively tried to justify use or reclaiming of that word-- with all the sensitivity of a self-absorbed teenager--would obviously not agree--but they never experienced the damage and harm, just as I've never experienced the impacts of being called a "WOP" or another such slur.

So, I would think it highly inappropriate to tell Cuomo that his reaction to "Fredo" or any other slur was not as consequential as the "n" word.

We need not play into that "game" that the RW would dearly love us to adopt.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:14 PM

58. Cuomo has referred to himself as Fredo in a radio interview with Curtis Sliwa

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #58)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:15 PM

59. Assertions without support are always convenient, but rarely convincing.

Not to mention context-free.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #59)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:25 PM

60. Really....it's all over the internet...I quoted the exchange below...her's a link to Sliwa's show

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #60)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:29 PM

61. Curious...?

Would you likewise tell an African American friend/colleague that they must accept being called the "N" word because they'd once quoted a rap song that included it?

Good to know...

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #61)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:36 PM

63. If you are comparing fredo to the N-word....that's your problem...mistake

Cuomo and Sliwa laughed about it in the interview....nothing curious about it...and your insinuation...."Would you likewise tell an African American......" utter BS!!

Sliwa.....“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo Nostra.”

Cuomo.....“Who am I, then, Fredo?”

Sliwa.....“Yes, exactly,” “So you better be careful that your brother Andrew doesn’t kiss you on both cheeks and then all of a sudden they take you out on the middle of the lake and where’s Chris?”

Cuomo.....“He kisses me plenty because he’s a great big brother,”

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #63)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:38 PM

64. I compare nothing.. But it isn't up to YOU or I to tell someone of another culture, race, gender,

what is and is NOT a slur. That is a level of arrogance that is adopted by the RW as they deride the left for being too "PC" while they simultaneously defend all manner of overt racism, bigotry, misogyny on a regular basis. Shame on you if you are buying into that.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #64)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:45 PM

66. He jokes with Sliwa about being fredo but threatens to throw a guy

down a set of stairs for calling him fredo.....not buying the double standard BS.
From you or anyone else.
Cuomo over reacted and admitted it in his tweet.

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #66)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:48 PM

68. I didn't justify his response, only his right to take offense.

I suppose you think if a female friend or family member has ever used the word "bitch" then you have a right to call them one and they should have no right to be offended. Again, you are shameful in this argument. Absolutely so.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #68)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:07 PM

70. The only 1 shameful here...Cuomo..his selective outrage...and overreaction.

You can try to attach straw men to me all you want....crap that would never/has never occurred...fact remains Sliwa and Cuomo joked about it....

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #70)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:10 PM

71. ...

this is your third strawman to date so, no. But, feel free to have the last word. It will undoubtedly be critically important to you.

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #66)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:07 PM

69. So why would someome walk up to him and call him that

other than to push his buttons and then pretend he thought that was his name. Sure sounds like someone wanted to setup an exchange.

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #69)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:22 PM

72. Let's run with that.."pretend..."..we have no clue what the guy knew..re; Cuomo's name.

...dude sounds like a bit of a goober in the video.. he thought that was his name...does it justify a threat of being thrown down a set of stairs?
Let's do the more likely deal...a reference to the Godfather movie fredo...does it justify a threat of being thrown down a set of stairs?

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #69)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 02:13 PM

75. He probably DID want to "push his buttons"

The "button" that says "your father and brother are so much more significant than you are"

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #75)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 02:27 PM

76. Your speculation sounds no more nor less valid...

than that same speculation you keep alleging is untrue.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #76)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 03:05 PM

78. Not sure why

One is in fairly common use (including by Cuomo himself and the Italian side of my family - thus my own perspective)... and I can't find a reference to the second usage prior to the current debate.

My understanding is that Cuomo attributes the nickname to Limbaugh calling him that. A quick search found him saying "the Fredo of the Cuomo family". That's pretty clearly the "less-successful sibling" connotation rather than a generic anti-Italian slur.

I'm still waiting for someone to back up the slur connotation with something other than just the claim itself. I was previously asked about "Guido" and Wikipedia lists " North American slang term, often derogatory, for a working-class urban Italian American. The guido stereotype is multi-faceted. Originally, it was used as a demeaning term for Italian Americans in general. More recently, it has come to refer to Italian Americans who conduct themselves in an overtly macho manner.[1] "

I have yet to see anything similar for "Fredo". But I did find this:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/07/donald-trump-jr-fredo-godfather

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/7/11/15952652/donald-trump-jr-fredo-corleone-godfather


Does anyone think that they were slurring Trump Jr. for his Italian heritage?

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #61)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 02:09 PM

73. Even more curious...?

Why do you only type "'N' word" yet type out "Fredo" if they're so similarly offensive?

Just wondering.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #73)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 02:10 PM

74. Obviously Fredo is likewise a name and not merely a slur, unlike the "n" word

Is that REALLY so hard to grasp? Similarly "bitch" is an acceptable term for a female canine, yet do you likewise defend its use as a gender-specific slur?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #73)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 06:20 PM

82. Valid question...I'm curious what the answer will be....I suspect there will bo No answer.

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #82)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 08:34 AM

83. I thought hlthe2b answered reasonably

I wouldn't personally use a name that offensive for someone outside of required reference to that person... but I can't say it's an unreasonable rationale.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:33 PM

62. +1000

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 02:35 PM

77. Although "Fredo" is not as bad a slur as many Cuomo surely knows, he

is simply explaining what this slur is like for an Italian-American, “like” not meaning the “same as.” He is not qualifying the degree of harm, or comparing Italian-American history with African-American.

He could have said the slur is like “to an Italian American” (meaning “feels” like”), many other ethnic slurs with terrible connotations, but since today we are focused on black American experience, he referred to a common slur most Americans know is unacceptable.

Historical slurs against new Italian immigrants were used in the context of a time when, in the criminological field, Southern Italian immigrants were considered a “criminal type” based on a “physiognomy” described as “simian.” Books contained measurements, photos, descriptions by facial features and head shape. Many more dark complected Italian-Americans were subjected to police harassment and suspicion, took up a fair share of the prison population, and were called “swarthy,” “greasy,” sinister. I believe Cuomo is a descendant of Southern Italians, associated notbtoo long ago, in the public mind, with the Mafia.

Any racial or ethnic slur arises out of discriminatory attitudes and practices. All have implications
entailing historical injustices, current bigoted attitudes, hatred that is often quite inclusive. Cuomo could have said “Fredo” for Italian Americans is like “Paddy.” Don’t think the guy baiting him would have gotten it. Despite “Fredo,” by no means, being equivalent to the slur Cuomo said it is subjectively like, there are some points of comparison, features universal to all ethnic and racial slurs,
exclusive to none. It is used to demean, shame, and attack an individual for her being a member of
a group which is maligned and stereotyped.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:23 AM

3. It was definately meant to be derogatory to Cuomo but it hasn't been used as a general ethnic insult

against Italian Americans.

I wouldn't call the character, Fredo, in The Godfather as an exemplary representative of Italian Americans;

You could say that about most every character in the movie.

Search DU for references to "Fredo". See who it has been used about most often:

Example:
https://upload.democraticunderground.com/100210169092


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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:28 AM

5. I agree it was intended in a derogatory mannner

but I also agree with the poster above (and other DUers who've stated as much) that attempting to equate it with the "N" word is flat-out wrong.

Also, Cuomo comes off as waaaay too reactionary. He could have told the guy off in a much calmer fashion. The viral video is doing little for his image and is cementing his nickname as "Fredo" Cuomo. It's counterproductive.

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Response to True Dough (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:36 AM

32. Agree. I was actually shocked - always thought he had a calm demeanor - almost

like he is always sedated.

Behind the curve on this - what prompted the guy to call Cuomo Fredo?

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #32)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:39 AM

35. Don't know for sure but apparently the agitator is a right-winger

And, it's been said, Rush Limbaugh has been in the habit of calling Cuomo "Fredo," so maybe that guy picked it up from everyone's least favorite talk radio host.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:33 AM

6. I'll parse it further

It was derogatory toward Cuomo... but isn't an ethnic slur toward Italian Americans in general.

1) This operates against the argument. Fredo is not an example that represents Italian Americans. The name is thus an insult implying the recipient is of like character... not that he is of Italian descent.

2) Slightly... since "Guido" is more commonly associated with the mafia in real life and not just a character in a movie and does have a history of referring to Italian males in general. But neither approaches the word he compared it to.

3) True. That doesn't mean that the name of any fictional character who happens to be of Italian descent becomes a slut against anyone else. As already pointed out "Michael" isn't exactly a slur.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:59 AM

10. This.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:04 AM

13. Yes, this.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:40 AM

36. You are completely wrong.

It's a two sides insult. The first, and most obvious is calling him dumb.

The second, and more nefarious is equating him with a mafia character. That is how Italians are represented in this country in popular media and it is a vicious stereotype. The Sons of Italy exists to fight this very thing

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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #36)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:05 AM

44. Not buying it

I've seen you make that second connection several times now... without supporting it.

That isn't how fiction works. When you tell a story it exists within a certain universe/structure, but the character is independent of that structure. If we talk of a "Romeo" we might be talking about young love unwilling to go on without the object of his affection... but we aren't saying anything about people from Verona. We can change to "West Side Story" and replace feuding families with racial/gang tensions of the Jets/Sharks... but Tony is the same character. Maria is from Puerto Rico (and the clash in the background is clearly racial in nature), but she's just a retelling of Juliett. You could associate someone with the character of "Maria" to say that she's young and beautiful and overly quick to fall deeply in love without seeing faults that others in her group view through their own bias... but you wouldn't be limited to using the label to Puerto Rican women. There are lots of Marias and Tonys out there.

If he has negative character traits, then calling someone "a Romeo" could be an insult (as this was no doubt intended to be)... but it would be associated with those character traits... which are independent of his background in that telling of the story (as opposed to The Brothers Karamazov or King Lear where similar characters have entirely different backgrounds).

If "Vader" became an insulting name to call people... it would have little to nothing to do with whether the target of the insult had emigrated to Tatooine.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #44)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:52 AM

51. The fact that you don't "buy it" is irrelevant

It is the truth. All it proves is that you are so accustomed to it, you are immune.

It is the same as calling a black man a "thug" which gets lots of action on DU.

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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #51)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:04 PM

54. To you perhaps

You have yet to demonstrate that your perspective should carry any weight. Those associating the term with the character's racial identity have a far more valid point than this nonsensical "he was in the mafia" connection. There were lots of characters that better depict that characteristic than Fredo (who actually betrays the family).

It is the same as calling a black man a "thug" which gets lots of action on DU.

You probably don't realize that you just gave your point away. Is it an insult to a black man because it's associating him with a Muslim tribe in India???

On edit - And yes... I'm Italian. Nobody on our family chat has ever associated the term with Italians in general. Those who have seen the movie know exactly what the attack implies. My grandfather used to refer to Marvin Bush as "Fredo" all the time.

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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #36)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:00 PM

53. Cuomo has referred to himself as Fredo in a radio interview with Curtis Sliwa

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:35 AM

7. My first thought after reading about the incident wasn't about xenophobia...

...rather, it was about Chris not being Governor, like his brother Andrew and his father, Mario. Remember, Fredo was the ne'er-do-well son of Vito - the one they called dumb, not "smaht".

However, Chris' success as a journalist can't be denied, although an argument could be made that his last name helped his career along?

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:54 AM

8. But Cuomo wasn't attacked as a journalist or as brother of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

His ancestry was addressed and attacked via a fictional Italian-American.

Analogy: German-Americans are still confused with Nazis and the Third Reich. Even the ones born after 1945. You wouldn't address a German-American as "Adolf" unless you want to insult Germans.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #8)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:24 AM

18. "Fredo" isn't an insult limited to Italians.

It applies to anyone seen as weak and hapless, regardless of ethnicity. It's no more a slur against Italians than calling someone who spins fantasizes a "Walter Mitty" is a slur against white men.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #18)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:51 AM

21. Exactly correct

Fredo is a character who happens to be Italian. None of his character traits are uniquely Italian... but they weren’t casting aliens. One can pick at those traits without indicting the character of everyone else with a similar accent.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #21)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:48 AM

40. Exactly incorrect

Because other white people are considered being criminals based only on their surname.

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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #40)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:34 AM

47. "Fredo" ISN'T a surname

I think if Cuomo was called "Mr. Corleone" it would be easier to associate the label with organized crime.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:59 AM

9. No reason for excuses - this was simply an insult by a redneck and I back Cuomo 100%. The

offender is a pussy with a big mouth.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:02 AM

12. My take

"Fredo" is an insult and it may be particularly insulting to Italians on certain contexts. As a black American, I am very reluctant to tell other people that something isn't offensive, but I strongly disagree that it's on the par of the n word.

This is the difference. The n word is attached to and seasoned by centuries of cruelty, ugliness, criminality, genocide, lynchings, etc. It is used almost exclusively to describe blacks and is applied to any and all black people and is unrelated to any characteristic other than blackness.

On the other hand, "Fredo" arose from a character - an Italian character created by an Italian, brought to life by an Italian and played by an Italian. The character was not a stereotype and wasn't a derogatory depiction of Italians. Fredo is memorable because he was pathetic and doomed, but the pathos and fate was universally human, not ethnic.

When someone calls a person a "nigger," we learn nothing about that person - whether they're rich, poor, stupid, brilliant, etc - except that they're black. It's not a description. It's a threat, intended to wound, to strike fear and the hundreds of years of information surrounding it does just that - it's like dipping a spear in poison.

But "Fredo" isn't a threat and doesn't carry poison. It's a description. Anyone who behaves a certain way can be a "Fredo." When someone is called a "Fredo" we don't know their race, ethnicity, national origin or economic status. But we do know they're being accused of being hapless and it too bright and are likely the weak link in their family.

"Fredo" is the equivalent of calling someone a "Pollyanna," or a "Little Lord Fauntleroy." There is no equivalent for "nigger."

"Fredo" is an insult but I don't see it as a slur.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #12)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:52 AM

42. +1

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:08 AM

15. the guy calling him Fredo is a jerk but this isn't

an ethnic slur. Chris needs to get off the roids. A professional isn't supposed to handle stupidity by threatening to kill someone.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:19 AM

17. Last comment:

Jews rightfully bristle when the name Shylock (from "Merchant of Venice" ) is invoked due to his reprehensible character traits.

Why should "Fredo" be given a free pass b/c the name is associated with a fictional character?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:17 AM

28. The character Shylock was an extremely derogatory stereotype of Jews that has been since used to

insult and demean Jews. The very characteristics that make up the character - greed, avarice, sneaky, dangerous, hook nose, etc. - were ugly stereotypes of Jews that were personified into the Shylock character that has since been used to further demean Jews.

That's very different than Fredo. Fredo's negative characteristics - weakness, haplessness, stupidity - were not and are not stereotypes of Italians and his character flaws were unrelated to his ethnicity. And "Fredo" insult doesn't play on Italian stereotypes nor is it limited to Italians as targets. "Fredo" ≠ "Shylock"

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:29 AM

19. It was more of a poke at Chris and his brother the governor Andy.

Over the years because of their public positions both Chris and Andy have taken shots at one another. Not much difference between them and other brothers. I'll bet Chris and Andy had a good laugh over it.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 10:31 AM

31. The slur comes from equating italian surnames with mafia

It's a disgusting stereotype and to hear people on DU defend it is abhorrent.

A race of people who essentially ruled the world for a millennia, established our form of government, led the Renaissance, has a cuisine that rivals to a lesser degree French and Chinese, and boast some of the worlds greatest scientist are always represented in American culture as mafia.

This is akin to representing all black people as thugs or Mexican people as lazy.

It's putrid.

The largest mass lynching in America was perpetrated against Sicilian immigrants. Theodore Roosevelt called it a "good thing to show the dagos their place"

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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #31)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:04 AM

43. The insult intended by "Fredo" is unrelated to ethnicity or association with the Mafia

It is based on a specific character trait not limited to Italians.

It's not akin to calling all black people anything since "Fredo" does not characterize all Italians as anything.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #43)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:09 AM

45. Let's read that last sentence again... shall we?

It's not akin to calling all black people anything since "Fredo" does not characterize all Italians as anything.



We now return you to your regularly-scheduled political discussion group.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:34 AM

46. I never saw the Godfather movies...

... or heard the name 'Fredo' before all this happened.

TBH, I thought they mis-spelled 'Frodo' - from the Ring trilogy.

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Response to Talitha (Reply #46)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:35 AM

48. Hey!

NOW you're being offensive!

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:41 AM

49. I'm not even sure why people are parsing this out. The guy used the term in a derogatory

Manner and because Cuomo is Italian. It doesn't matter if it isn't some long standing slur. The only reason the guy said it was because of ethnicity.

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Response to SweetieD (Reply #49)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:50 AM

50. Right with you up until the last sentence

I can't read his mind (he claims he had no idea it wasn't his name)... but it's certainly intended as an insult by the people (Limbaugh, etc.) who call him that all the time. I think it's reasonable for Cuomo to take it as a personal insult. To your point... that should be enough.

But it's ridiculous to say ethnicity was the reason (let alone the only reason). They're clearly saying that he's the less-capable younger brother. Dad was the former three-time governor of the third-largest state and big brother is the current governor of the third-largest state... while he's just a mid-tier host on the third-tier cable news network.

Just like the character Fredo... compared to any other member of some other family, he would be a substantial force. But in his family he's an also-ran.

Plenty insulting... without ever knowing where his family comes from.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:58 AM

52. K&R and thanks. My grandparents came here from Sicily. Discrimination against Italians

was very real.

Dad changed his name from Salvatore Giovanni to Samuel John when he joined the Air Force in WWII, to avoid prejudice and because we were at war with Italy. (He was actually at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed.)

The Irish suffered similar prejudice as immigrants. Neither they not the Italians were considered "white" at one time. Now way too many people with Irish and Italian immigrant backgrounds turn the same prejudice against immigrants from other countries.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #52)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:07 PM

56. I heard a coworker say that Italians aren't

"Really white". The same woman asked me about my name a few days before and when I said it's Italian she asked if I was adopted because I wasn't "greasy looking".

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #56)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:44 PM

65. My husband is off the plane from Calabria

And he agrees. But not about Tuscans and such!

He's actually an Italian Citizen and we have a home there - not a US Citizen at all.

If you tell a Calabrese Mountain person they are 'white' - they will rip your head off. White people are Germans, Norwegians, Brits, Northern Italians . . .

Calabrese have deep roots in Greece and all that it implies.

He doesn't put the Islands folks in the White Category either - their roots are different than the Calabrese and the Northerners.

By that same token - if your family has been in the USA two or three generations - you aren't Italian at all <--- according to the Gio.

I'm Italian (his wife by citizenship) and they are not - and he doesn't understand why they panty bunch because most Americans view Italians as white folks. :lmao:


Which once again pisses an actual Calabrese immigrant right off!



Disclaimer for any Italian Americans - It's not easy being me. Your grandmother lived this hell - especially if your grand daddy was Calabrese! (stubborn hard headed temperamental men)

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #65)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:58 PM

80. There was a Calabrese cousin in my father's generation. To you, all I can say is . . . . .

. . . . . YUP!

LOL

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:05 PM

55. Cuomo has referred to himself as Fredo in a radio interview with Curtis Sliwa

Sliwa.....“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo Nostra.”

Cuomo.....“Who am I, then, Fredo?”

Sliwa.....“Yes, exactly,” “So you better be careful that your brother Andrew doesn’t kiss you on both cheeks and then all of a sudden they take you out on the middle of the lake and where’s Chris?”

Cuomo.....“He kisses me plenty because he’s a great big brother,”

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Response to AncientGeezer (Reply #55)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:13 PM

57. Which shows that he knows exactly what it means

As I mentioned above. My (Italian) grandfather used to refer to Marvin (and Neal) Bush as "Fredo"

Was he saying anything about his (nonexistent) Italian heritage?

Nope... it was obviously (Dad was head of the CIA and President... older brothers were both governors of large states and one was also president... you're a disappointment)

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:46 PM

67. Fredo equals cowardly and/or disloyal.

Last edited Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:56 AM - Edit history (2)

It is a perjorative, but not an Italian perjorative.

It is an insult to anyone to be called a Fredo.

It’s akin to Benedict Arnold.

eta: fixed autocorrect typo

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:54 PM

79. Even today I see anti-Italian prejudice

To be VERY fair, it is hardly as big a deal as other ethnicities, but it exists. For as far back as I can recall, people trying to remember my name call me "Tony". It isn't even close to my name But "Tony" while not an exclusively Italian name is still associated with us. It is sorta like calling a Scot "Jimmy" or a black person "LeRoy" All fine, real names but in the hands of some people at least a slap if not an intentional slur.

So now there's "Fredo". The root of the Italian slur in it is discussed elsewhere in this thread.

It is just the latest. We used to WOPs, which derived from "With Out Papers". Then we were Guineas - a slang/slur that actually started out directed at black people (from Guinea, in Africa), and aimed at us for our own dark skin. Then Dagos, as I understood it from my parents' and grandparents' generation, meant low skilled day laborers.

You'll see how this tracks with today's "lesser" ethnicities.

Ignorant fucking assholes resort to such words. I don't blame Chris Cuomo. I feel bad that it became public.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:58 PM

81. So by this logic

every character in a film or television show could be a racial slur?

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