News / Europe

Italy Probes Racism Against African-Italian Minister

Congo-born Italian Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge attends at the Lower house of the parliament in Rome, April 29, 2013.
Congo-born Italian Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge attends at the Lower house of the parliament in Rome, April 29, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
The Italian government has ordered an inquiry into alleged racism on right-wing websites after slurs against the country's first black cabinet minister.

Italy's new Cabinet was sworn in on Sunday, and Cecile Kyenge took the post as minister of integration.
 
She is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to Italy three decades ago. She is now an Italian citizen, is married to an Italian and has two children.

But right-wing websites have posted a range of racial slurs against the country's first black Cabinet member.

A member of one website described Kyenge as a "Congolese Monkey."

On Wednesday the government ordered an investigation into the websites. The new equal opportunities minister who ordered the inquiry, Josefa Idem, described the comments as "vile racist epithets."

Comments about Kyenge's race have not only appeared online.
 
Speaking on the radio earlier this week, Italian politician Mario Borghezio from the Northern League party referred to the new government as a "bonga bonga government" and said that Africans "had not produced great genes."

Other Italian politicians have been critical of what they have called "racist vulgarities."

Andrea Mammone is an expert in European politics at the University of London. He said the comments made by the Northern League do not come as a surprise.

"It is not surprising when it comes from the Northern League. They have always rejected immigration and this woman is not coming from Italy," said Mammone.
 
The anti-immigration Northern League has in the past been an ally of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

But Mammone said views voiced by the party represent only a slice of Italian attitudes and do not necessarily reflect a wider racism.
 
"It reveals a xenophobic approach made by some people, by some specific parties. But it is not widespread, it is something that is part of the far right in Italy," Mammone added.

Kyenge on Tuesday took to the online networking site Twitter to respond to the insults. She said that even criticism can inform "if done with respect."

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mario Valdes from: Cambridge, MA, 02138
May 04, 2013 7:32 PM
Since she is being touted as Italy's first black government minister, it is all too obvious that despite the fact that our PBS Frontline website on him is the most comprehensive on this still otherwise verboten subject of Florentine history, the media remains blissfully ignorant of Alessandro de' Medici.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/medici.html

As the first Duke of Florence and, therefore, the first black head of state in modern Western history, he is also the ancestor of at least two Imperial Hapsburg Archdukes and a rather impressive roster of still highly influential European dynastic families. It is this genealogical information and the reason, after all, for the obscurity to which Alessandro de' Medici has been relegated by so many historians that would make his biography such an unimaginably important and useful one not only for Ms. Kyenge in her capacity as Minister of Integration but for the rest of the world, as well.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid