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Italian and African Americans: Two Peas in a Pod

Updated on June 7, 2010

Italian and African Americans: Two Peas in a Pod

The idea that African Americans and Italian Americans despise each other is truly a myth. However, the way African and Italian Americans are portrayed in the movies gives people the illusion that they absolutely loathe one another. I honestly believe these views are so far away from the truth. How can these two groups of people dislike each other when they possess a great amount of customs and traditions that are so much alike in many ways.

Italians and African Americans are known for what I like to call, The Three F’s -- family, food, and faith. Each of them are ethnic groups who share similar ethics and not to mention the big S--stereotypes.


In the past the African American and Italian American husbands would go out and work, while the wives stayed home, bear a house full of loving children and keep house. The moms were housewives and homemakers who took care of the family. The husbands were the men of the houses who did hard labor to support the family. Women did the domestic work and the men did the dirty work. In some families these customs have not changed. Dads continue to be the breadwinner while the moms baked the bread.

African Americans and Italian Americans tend to have big families Each and every member have an intense bond with one another and endures a strong love for everyone. Family is very important in these households. One day out of each week is always designated for the entire family. Everyone comes together just to have one huge supper. These suppers are usually at the matriarch’s house. The matriarchs are central when it comes to a household. She is the one who keeps everyone together in both these families.

When it comes to living together, they don’t mind opening up their homes to anyone who needs a place to stay. A real family never turns their backs on anyone. Everyone living under the same roof is never a problem, you know why, because their family. Also when it comes to conflicts there is never any problem too big to handle.


Alright Italian Americans families are known for their love of authentic Italian food and African Americans families are known for their love of food for the soul or southern food. Italian Americans specialize in pasta and African Americans specialize in meat. One likes pizza and spaghetti and one likes chicken and ribs. Although their taste in food seems to differentiate from one another, their love of food will always remain the same.

Food is part of the Italian and African American culture. It is what makes them who they are. Food is part of their traditions. In everything they do it will always feature food. The older women are always the proud cooks who love to cook, and don’t mind cooking. Good home meals are the answers to any and every thing in these families. Food solves all kinds of problems as long as it is always good food.


Faith is one of the last and most important things that Italian and African Americans have in common. Italian Americans mainly practice the Catholic religion and the African Americans mainly practice the Christian religion. Even though these are two different religions, they depict generally the same principals. Christians and Catholics have an immense faith in The Father and The Son. Both of these religions are basically the same.

Italian and African Americans each retain very strong religious beliefs. The only difference is that the Italians have Mass, confessionals, and the Pope. Other then that they both share the same God. Religion is universal in for them. It is part of what gives them such solid family values. A family that prays together, stays together is what they live by.


Not only are Italian and African Americans similar when it comes to family, food, and faith, they are also the source of several similar stereotypes.

Italian and African American are typically stereotyped as gangsters. You have the Italian Americans who have the Mob Boss, then you have the African Americans who have the Drug Lord. Whenever these two groups of people made money, everyone assumed that it was illegal. People figured that they were always a part of some organized crime team.

Everybody likes chicken!
Everybody likes chicken!
Everybody loves pizza!
Everybody loves pizza!
Real families have faith+.
Real families have faith+.
Church--everyone is welcomed.
Church--everyone is welcomed.
Dinner tables bring families together.
Dinner tables bring families together.
Who doesn't like spaghetti?
Who doesn't like spaghetti?
Finger-licking ribs on everyone's fingers!
Finger-licking ribs on everyone's fingers!

Love/Hate Situation


In the past there was some racial tension between the two because they were so much alike. It was partly because of competition as well. Both of these ethnic groups were living in urban areas and steadily looking for ways to make money. It lead to organized crime and ultimately the competing against one another, which caused more tension. Nevertheless Italian and African Americans did have a strong dislike for one another solely because one was one race and one was another.

Do Italians and African Americans really do like each other?

When you heard about racism between Italian and African Americans, it was normally between the men. People say that Italian American men were however frequently attracted to African American women. It was even believed that some mob bosses had African American mistresses. I’m guessing this is when they started disliking each other. The Italian American men secretly wanted the African American women and the same can go for some African American men. I think they were mad at each other because they wanted each others women.

Anyway, things have changed and mostly everybody has changed. Some of the most famous Italian Americans were and still are married to African Americans. For an example Robert De Niro is married to an African American woman, and Ellen Pompeo is married to an African American man. Next plenty of the most famous celebrities are multiracial. Each have one Italian American parent and one African American parent. For another example we have Keisha Cole who is mixed Italian and African American and Vin Diesel who is mixed Italian and African American. The list just goes on.

To conclude once more, how can Italian and African Americans detest each other when they are hands down literally one in the same. At the end of the day I think these two races really love each other.

What is your favorite food?

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    • profile image

      Italian Guy 

      9 months ago

      You are wrong. Vin Diesel doesn' t have any drop of Italian blood. Check his ethnicity.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I'm making a cook book for Italian negros. I'm thinking fried chicken francese. Penn vodka with grits. Maybe squirrel calamari rings.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love this! Great and true job here.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      What books were you reading? majority of black women were not huse wives so shut the hell up. But good article. PEOple should look for similarites rather what makes them different.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am an African American woman, who was married to an Italian American man for 15 yrs... Im divorced now and dating.. Most of the men who have been attracted to me are Italians. We have so much more in common and share the same views about family and faith... it just clicks!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      LOL, The Three F’s... different families, different food and a different faith :D

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm glad I read this. I'm multi-racial (not Italian, though) and love Italian men! :/ Sadly, there's none in California or at least none that I can find! Sadly, the media has distorted both Italians and Blacks to the point that you don't know how to define them unless they fit a stereotypical mold.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm sorry, but the whole black women/italo men is nothing but a big FAT MYTH!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i'm an italian-american guy and i like mostly african-american music, all the way from the old blues, rock n roll, rhythm and blues, and soul, to today's hip-hop and contemporary R&B, and i like hip-hop style clothing and hair

      i didn't realize it but maybe i embraced some of african-american culture because it was in some ways similar to my own

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      haha like pepe, I am Italian (born) and living in United States. Italians and also our Italian-American cousins I think, we like a lot the black woman and women like Alicia Keys or Kelly Rowland are very desirable. I think that it can be different reaction towards men, because we are all still animals ultimately, maybe in the bottom we see each other as a threat, i don't know

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm an Italian born in Italy and now live in New York. Italian men love all women no matter what race! Real Italian men don't discriminate when it comes to SEX. However, we don't like to parade around town with all of our trophies for everybody to see, especially if she's black! We don't like that type of negative attention from socially biased people, so we just don't cross that line! I must say that many of us do think that curvaceous black women are sexy. When Naomi Campbell was popular in the 90's, many similar West African prostitutes became high in demand in Italy. Funny isn't it?

    • profile image

      Mary Bucci Bush 

      6 years ago

      Check out my new novel Sweet Hope (by Mary Bucci Bush) inspired by my grandmother's childhood experiences on a Delta cotton plantation where Italians were held in peonage/ contract laborers as part of the "Italian Colony Experiment." It's a piece of Delta/ American history very few know about. The somewhat freer African American sharecroppers taught Italians to work cotton, speak English, and survive. The novel focuses on a friendship/ love between an Italian & African American family as both learn bitter truths about race in America, 1901. I'd like to believe we've come a long way since then.

    • profile image

      Joe Pinzone 

      7 years ago


      My name is Joe Pinzone and I'm a casting producer for a TV Show. We are looking for families that have some sort of issues with their in-laws because of having a different cultural background. Would you mind posting our casting call for it? If you have more questions about the show, please contact me.

      212-564-2607 ext 2395

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am also african american, like will, and I am dating an italian american. Her mother loves me, but her father and most of her family hate me for no apparent reason. My parents love her, but obviously dont like her family because they would be considered racist. So in a way what you said about italian men and African men makes sence. Race never really mattered to me. I find racism stupid. A waist of time. Life is to short to hate a group of people because they are different.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well, I'm a Black American man who is getting ready to be married to a Sicilian American woman. Her family LOVES me, and my family LOVES her. Our different heritage has NEVER been an issue. And I always thought to myself that some of the things pointed out in the article are true. I know it's not a good example: But the kids on Jersey Shore could also be stereotypical Black kids (for better, but probably worse LOL!). I always said to myself that if God came to me in a vision or something, and told me I had to be white. But that I could pick whatever ethnicity of white that I wanted to be; I would be Italian.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What in the world are you trying to show my secret life at home/at the library.

      It's so sterotipao okay??



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