Open Letter to Winthrop Town Councilors
Italian hate and stereotype is alive and well, as proven by Barbara Flockhart. Many of my friends reside in Winthrop and as all good citizens they are involved in local government. On Friday evening one of my Winthrop friends forwarded me the video from the council meeting 3/31/2022 with Councilor, Barbara Flockhart. It showed Barbara interviewing a candidate for Town Manager who happened to be of Italian heritage. Her question to him was “I spoke with several people in the town . Something that I heard from somebody that works closely with you is that you have a tendency to “Get Your Italian UP” when you get passionate.”
To say I was shocked by her horrible stereotype of Italian gentlemen would be an understatement. I cried when I heard it and I had to play it again several times to make sure I really heard her degrading, ugly words . Her blatant disrespect towards Italians did not go unnoticed. I immediately thought of my own grandfather, John Patti, he came to this country when he was in his early 20’s. Unfortunately, he had to endure ugly remarks. My grandfather was a kind gentle, calm man. I never saw him get angry. He along with my grandmother worked hard to build a business in their home city of Waltham, Massachusetts. My uncle moved it to Sudbury where it expanded from furniture to lighting. Patti Brothers is still a thriving family owned business
Notice, I used the word angry, I did not say “get his Italian up.” Those words not only send an ignorant and raciest message but categorizes Italian gentlemen as thugs. I’ve thought about this now for days. I wonder if Barbara would have used those kinds of words to ask a Black or Hispanic man this same question. Clearly, someone as educated, gentile and all inclusive as Barbara should have been able to ask this question in a variety of ways. However, she chose to attack the Italian culture and the Italian man.
This type of hate has no place in society. I hope Barbara will not continue to tarnish the good name of Winthrop City Council and immediately submit her resignation. I also hope the City Council of Winthrop will apologize to the candidate and the Italian American people of Winthrop.
Very respectfully yours,
Virginia (Papa) Gardner
Italian American Alliance.
National Chapter – President.