Linciati: Lynchings of Italians in America (2004)Linciati: Lynchings of Italians in America (2004) Unlike other European immigrants who struggled initially to become “white” in America, such as the Irish and the Jews, Italian immigrants fought a hostile reception even beyond the third generation in the U.S. Despite or perhaps because of the nearly quintessential American families of the Corleones and the Sopranos, young people of Italian descent are still given affirmative action scholarships, at least in New York City, to entice them to go to college and take part in the American Dream. Although European immigrants were initially granted automatic citizenship thanks to the privileging of white skin that inspired the Naturalization Act of 1790, thus leading to the large-scale immigration of Europeans of the 19th and 20th century, it took Italians several generations to be perceived as entirely “white”, while the Irish and Jews were essentially “white” by the second generation.

Source: Film & History