MTV is getting pressure to cancel its “Jersey Shore” reality show. Sen. Joseph F. Vitale, the chairman of the New Jersey Italian American Legislative Caucus, and Richard Bilotti, the chairman of the New Jersey Italian and Italian American Heritage Commission, have sent a letter to MTV parent company Viacom asking them to cancel the show for promoting derogatory ethnic stereotypes with its “offensive, inaccurate” portrayal of Italian-Americans.
“Jersey Shore is a fabrication created by MTV Networks and marketed to represent reality,” the letter says. “This is a far cry from a documentary of a naturally occurring subculture existing in New Jersey.” Vitale and Bilotti even go so far as to say the show violates, at least in spirit, New Jersey’s hate and bias crime laws. Really?
There IS in fact a reason we have stereotypes in the first place. Stereotypes are based on the theory that enough people of a certain group behave and/or dress in a certain way. You can’t have a stereotype based on your co-worker Bob, from Minnesota because he wears dockers and blue shirts on Saturdays. But if you get enough people engaging in certain behavior…
I’m really sorry, New Jersey Italian-Americans if the show depicts your people as oompa loompa-tinged, over-gelled, children who probably suffered one too many blows to the head. You can’t tell me that these are the only– what six or eight of these idiots roaming The Garden State. Keep in mind that MTV has defended the show by saying that the cast members take pride in their ethnicity, and that “Jersey Shore” “depicts just one aspect of youth culture.”
Frankly, I don’t really think Middle America now thinks that all Italian-Americans look or act like this. If that was the case I would be offended by telenovelas because they depict Latin American women as hot, busty and always dressing a little trampy before getting into a catfight with the maid over the father of my…er…their baby…oh wait, we are.
Everyone can relate to having a family member you’d rather not admit to having or an infamous person being from your culture that makes an ass of themselves. I’m sure the Asian/African-American/golfers are still cringing from Tiger’s recent antics.