Everyone who has spent some time in the Italian North knows a simple fact: a big percentage of the people here are ignorant racists. They are also closed minded, xeno-phobic, ultra-conservative and speak only Italian (this includes the majority of young people). This is the place where fascism was born and having lived here for some time I can see why this historical truth is no coincidence as well as how fascism is still deeply ingrained in the local social fabric.
Being married to a black girl I can now taste first hand what I previously could either only deduce or hear about. I will simply recount a few incidents here that will show you why I think Italy should have been bombed more during WWII, but unfortunately did not; I mean if your mistakes do not have serious consequences you are not really convinced that they were mistakes, are you?
Incident 1: It is a beautiful Spring afternoon and my wife and I are in the sad zombie village of Ispra on our way to a newstand to buy some bus tickets (yes, you buy bus tickets in stores around here). Just before the entrance of the shop my wife is tackled by an Italian middle-aged woman who blocks her way and without any preample tells her: "I need to have my house cleaned. Why don't you come and do it some day?" My wife politely responds: "No thanks!" The woman, obviously shocked by the response she received goes on: "but why?" My wife, again politely, responds: "Because I have no need for your job"
We continue our way to the store while this pathetic being looks at us incredulously with her mouth wide open.
Incident 2: We are in the local Super Market. We have just entered the vegs and fruits section. I see this lost lonely male shopper (you know the type) desperately seeking something on the green horizon. His eyes fall on my wife and suddenly his expression changes into one of hope: "Ah, great to find you, are there any melons left?" My wife, always politely, responds "Sorry, I don't work here". The man, moves his eyes away and puts on his desperate mask once more without saying anything further.
Incident 3: We go to the local recycling station to drop off some old electrical appliances and computer parts. We arrive, get out of car right next to one of the containers but I am not sure whether this is just for computers or for all kinds of electrical stuff. So, while my wife is next to me, I turn and shout at the responsible guy who was like 30 meters away: "excuse me, is this...". He cuts me off shouting back at me quite firmly: "NO! NOTHING!". At this point I am not sure what his problem is so my wife goes over to ask while I continue unloading stuff. I look over and I see him shouting the same stuff to Lica from up close; then Lica tells him something that seems to calm him and he tells her something in a much lower voice. Lica comes back and tells me: he thought we were here asking him if we could take stuff from the garbage. Not surprised any more I continue my work and make a mental note to blog this incident.
Other incidents: How some old Italians view black girls
This is where I have been living for the past 5 years people - please send me you condolences; I need them.
2013 Update: We left Italy end of 2009 so we do not have these issues any more. You can do it too.