A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You

More

This is a bit besides the main point of Robert L. Fleeger's essay on ""Theodore G. Bilbo and the Decline of Public Racism, 1938-1947", but it's a pretty striking example of the past being a foreign country:

Furthermore, elites often expressed or ignored other forms of bigotry. Anti-Italian sentiment, while less acceptable than anti-black sentiment, could still be seen in major news publications before the war. Indeed, this rhetoric appeared in descriptions of the most popular Italian-American of the day, New York Yankees star Joe DiMaggio. In May 1939, Life wrote, “Although he learned Italian first, Joe, now twenty-four, speaks English without an accent and is otherwise well-adapted to most U.S. mores. Instead of olive oil or smelly bear grease he keeps his hair slick with water. He never reeks of garlic and prefers chicken chow mein to spaghetti.” The article also included a picture of DiMaggio with Joe Louis, captioned “Like Heavyweight Champion Louis, DiMaggio is lazy, shy, and inarticulate.”

Speaking personally, I would be a bit frightened to call a championship boxer "lazy."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Hunting With Poison Darts

An indigenous forest dweller in Borneo explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In