Sugary excerpt from Michael Barbaro's informative and alarming article in the New York Times about the race for the Governorship of New York:
What is most interesting to many watching the campaign is that the stereotypes are being stirred up in a race between Italian-Americans, or, in the words of Stefano Albertini, a faculty member in the department of Italian studies at New York University, “not when there was an Italian against somebody else, but an Italian against an Italian.”
It is not only the candidates giving this election its Italian cast. Central players in both campaigns are Italian: Mr. Cuomo’s closest and most powerful adviser is Joseph Percoco, a pugnacious political enforcer (a term Mr. Cuomo finds ethnically loaded) and Mr. Paladino’s campaign manager and spokesman is Michael R. Caputo, who describes himself as a “junkyard dog.”
From the start, the Paladino camp, sensing Mr. Cuomo’s sensitivity to the issue, has deliberately injected ethnicity into the campaign. After Mr. Paladino won the Republican primary, Mr. Caputo commissioned a campaign poster that, by means of an altered photo, depicted Mr. Cuomo shirtless in the shower, trying to wash off the muck of Albany corruption. (“Clean up Albany,” it said. “Start with Cuomo.”) A sly detail was inserted: a gold chain around his neck, prompting howls of protest from those who detected anti-Italian bias.
Mr. Caputo scoffed at the complaints at the time, gleefully declaring to reporters, “Carl has his own gold chain he wears very proudly, and so do I.”
Mr. Paladino playfully told an interviewer from Italy that perhaps Mr. Cuomo’s claim of Italian ancestry should be viewed skeptically. “I don’t know, he might have been adopted,” Mr. Paladino said impishly.
During the same interview, he showed off his mastery of Italian, such as it is. When the reporter complimented his fluency, Mr. Paladino begged to differ. “It’s very broken,” he said. “I can find my way to the bathroom.”
If even New York isn't postracial, what does it say about America and its obsession with race, ethnicity, and fluff? Probably that race, ethnicity, and fluff isn't about race and ethnicity, but precisely fluff. That said I'm for Andrew Cuomo not because I think that Paladino is a racist or a bigot (his comments about 'homosexuality' just convince me that he doesn't know anything about New York and how to pander to different constituencies without being too aggressive and icky) for I think that both sides in every election use sex, race and ethnicity in despicable ways to talk about ways and to strengthen stereotypes. I believe simply that Paladino hasn't proven that he has what it takes to be a competent Governor of a state as important as New York. Paladino has done everything, but make the case that he would make a decent Governor of New York and that is the reason why he is going to lose because he focused on his opponent forgetting that New Yorkers have such a high idea of themselves and of their state (with good reasons) that they are nto going to elect somebody they believe can't do the job no matter how angry they are.