Letter to the Editor
Chicago Sun-Times, September 23, 2003 ("Hollywood reinforces slur")
used by permission of the author

Dear Editor:

Is it a mere coincidence that former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating recently compared the silence of the Catholic Church's hierarchy to "the mafia?" Actually, the "see-no-evil, hear-no-evil" mentality of the corporate crooks at Enron and WorldCom seems to be more apropos. So why did he choose a small band of criminals in Sicily to be his point men for global evil? You got it: Hollywood!

The Chinese Triad gangs, the Japanese Yakuza, the Russian "mafiya"--heck, just about any criminal enterprise enforces a "code of silence" on its members. Even everyday street gangs threaten their members with death should they cooperate with the cops. Italian criminals didn't invent this system. It's been a mainstay of criminal culture across the globe for centuries.

We need a quick Bogeyman, so out comes the mythical "mafia." This is the same mindset, of course, which blindsided U.S. law enforcement officials, many of whom were so busy chasing down two-bit Italian crooks that the thugs of Al-Qaeda were allowed to roam around freely, plotting the death of 3,000 innocent Americans.

Worshiping at the altar of Hollywood hype can have serious consequences. Let's deal with true evil--terrorists and child molesters--instead of pinning criminal labels on an entire community (Italians).

Bill Dal Cerro
Italic Institute of America, Midwest



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