The Rebirth of the Guido: Media to Blame

In “Guido: Fashioning an American Italian Youth Style,” Donald Tricarico assesses the media’s role in the perpetuation of the Guido image. He explains the term Guido represents a low status Italian-American stereotype and is used for satiric purposes. For instance, a community college newspaper published an article “How to become a Cugine in Seven Easy Steps.” However, the word often refers to Italian-American ties to the mafia, which are reinforced by television and movie portrayals such as The Godfather and The Sopranos. The perception of Italian-Americans' strong ties to the mafia persisted in the 1989 Bensonhurst incident, in which Italian-American males killed a Black youth. The news portrayed the perpetrators as “typical Guidos” and drew heavily on Hollywood depictions of the mafia. In addition, the abuse and murder of Black males in Howard Beach further cemented the "Guido" as an accurate depiction of all Italian-American youth. Peter Hamil, a fervent New York Post columnist, regularly wrote about the “Guido problem.” He presented, “Guidoville as a degenerate 'state of mind' displayed by a handful of 'punks' and 'wiseguys'.”
Contrastingly, a New York Times Op-Ed piece by Senator Jermey S. Weinstein seeks to disprove the claim that all Italian-Americans are racist bigots. Instead, he cites instances of the media misconstrued coverage of the neighborhood. He reasons, “the citizens of an entire neighborhood were tried, and convicted, for a crime they did not commit,” even though many, “vehemently condemned the violence.”
Tricarico, Donald. “Guido: Fashioning an Italian American Youth.” The Journal of Ethnic Studies: Spring 1991: 53-54. Web. 3 May 2010.
Weinstein, Jermey. Editorial. The New York Times. com 30 January 1988. Web. 6 May 2010.