Criticize Italian Senator For Use Of Racist Slur


Target: Italian Senate

Goal: Let Senator Roberto Calderoli know that racism will not be tolerated

Italian Senator Roberto Calderoli recently compared Italy’s first black cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge, to an orangutan. Yes, he did apologize. However, that does not change the undeniable truth that Minister Cecile Kyenge has been faced with racist slurs since her appointment in April. It is one thing for the Italian public to refer to their minister in a derogatory manner, for a senator, a comrade to do it is an entirely different manner. Please make it clear to Senator Calderoli just why he cannot compare the integration minister to a primate. When you become an Senator, you are no longer just a citizen of Italy, you are a model for how a citizen of Italy should be. By using a racist slur against her, he, intentionally or not, sent the message that it was okay to do so. And it is never okay to do so.

Calderoli also said that Minister Kyenge should be “minister in her own country.”

Other racist slurs Minister Kyenge has faced include: Congolese monkey, Zulu, and the black anti-Italian. Most of the insults have come from far-right groups that do not support immigration in Italy. The reason for much of their ire towards Minister Kyenge may come from the fact that she backs a law that would make anyone born on Italian soil an Italian citizen and that she supports measures that would make it easier for immigrants to become naturalized citizens.

In response to Calderoli’s qualified semi-apology, she said that he should reflect on how his words affect the world’s perception of the institution he represents.Therefore, please make it clear that you disapprove of Minister Calderoli’s words, and at the same time, voice your support for Minster Cecile Kyenge.


Dear President Renato Schifani,

Senator Roberto Calderoli has made it clear that he is not going to resign over his racist comments concerning Minister Cecile Kyenge. That is fine. He did apologize for his racist comments. However, it should be made absolutely clear to him, and to other politicians, who should be working as members of a civil institution alongside Minister Kyenge, that further derogatory comments regarding her race or gender or country of origin will absolutely not be tolerated.

It is important that high ranking members of government conduct themselves and express their opinions in ways that best represent the country and the people they serve. Right now, your country is being poorly represented.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: David via Wiki Commons

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