chapter  2
Italians, Race, and Power in the United States
Pages 15

Looking back on their and their ancestors' early immigrant experiences in America, many Italian Americans, especially since the 1970s, have prided themselves on making it in America by working hard and shunning government assistance. Examining interviews of Chicago's Italian Americans conducted in the early 1980s, I came across these views over and over again. Leonard Giuliano stated: "With determination and perseverance . . . the Italian was able to . . . pull himself up by his own bootstraps. . . . His greatest desire, of course, was for his children and his family to have a better life than he had left in Italy, but he did not expect this for nothing. He had to work." Constance Muzzacavallo agreed: "I think we've updated ourselves. I'll give the Italian 100 percent credit for that. You didn't have the government helping you." Joseph Loguidice added:"The immigrants in those days didn't have . . . the things today . . . or the help that they have today. Today is a cake walk. Everybody gets help. They didn't have no aid . . . like you have today. . . . Those people were too proud."1