What does it mean to be Italian? Italian Pride (Culture & Citizenship / Jure Sanguinis)

What does it mean to be Italian? Italian Pride (Culture & Citizenship / Jure Sanguinis)

So, you think you’re Italian… let’s talk about that Hey hey what’s up, I’m Rafael Di Furia AKA Rafi Di is me back at it again, let’s get right into it on another beautiful Friday night. and before we get
too deep into the video if you want to see more content like this be sure that
you’re subscribed with that notification bell turned on and if you could give
this video a like I’d really appreciate it because it does help the channel grow
and don’t forget this is an open conversation so feel free to leave any
of your thoughts down below here on the YouTube comments section if you haven’t
seen the last two videos that I’ve done be sure to check them out because those
are gonna give this video a little bit more context but in short we’ve been
talking about Italian citizenship and kind of what it is to be Italian and
what that really means but this time I want to go into a little bit of a
different direction rather than speaking about the legal point because my main
focus so far has really been on the legal aspect of being an Italian of
being eligible for Jure Sanguinis (Italian Citizenship) because from my perspective while we may
all on some level be Italian we’re just different flavors of Italian after last
week’s videos across social media there were tons and tons of messages of people
expressing their love for their Italian identity or people saying that they
don’t understand how people can feel Italian if they’re not from here there
were a lot of really constructive conversations that happened and when you
broke all of these conversations down it seemed to come in to three themes
firstly the group of Italian Americans who are extremely proud of who they are
and where they come from and then there’s a group of people not just from
Italy who feel as though maybe they don’t quite understand why that these
people from abroad should be given the same rights as them and then you have
another small group of people who say who cares you do you and I kind of fall
into that myself and there were a few questions that got into the discussion
of what does it mean to be Italian and I’m going to be doing a little bit of
paraphrasing here one person’s comments stood out in particular they almost
sometimes become slightly offended when people say oh I’m Italian when they are
unable to point out where Rome is on a map they don’t speak Italian and they’ve
never been to Italy in the Italian American community there’s a discussion
that seems to come up from time time especially in the Facebook groups
out there about who’s a hundred percent Italian and all I’m only fifty percent to
ten and a quarter what are the percentages who’s more Italian and when
I see those conversations I kind of start laughing to myself because the way
that Italians in Italy feel is that no you’re nobody you’re just those
foreigners on the other side of the ocean you’re not one of us but then you
have these people who are extremely proud of their roots proud of where they
come from their culture identity their ethnicity but from an American
perspective identity is very important and within the different ethnic groups
that exist in the u.s. …. So if you grew up anywhere in America somebody asks you
where you from for many Americans this doesn’t mean where were you born but
where is your family from what is your origin what is your ethnicity what is
your nationality so many Italian Americans grew up being told oh you’re
Italian no you’re Italian oh where are we from
we’re from Italy this is what we are and who we are and my grandfather was
extremely proud of his identity he would sit me down from before I could walk
talk anything and he would say to me there’s two types of people people who
are Italian and people who wish they could be Italian and you and me were
Italian and don’t you ever forget that and this wasn’t out of any kind of
supremacist feeling that was just the way that he expressed his love for his
homeland Italy and for his culture and ethnicity this is just the pride that he
had and while Italians from abroad and Italians in Italy may have some cultural
similarities there are also a lot of differences and this is just a fact yes
many Italian Americans have held on to our culture in some ways but as the
generations go on things become lost and even in the span of one generation you
can lose a lot but when we’re talking about culture it depends on what kind of
culture we’re talking about Americans are not going to know Italian pop
culture from the 1980s because most of our families left way before that
because the Italians who stayed in Italy would have progressed in one direction
and the Italians who left would progress in a different direction
not bad or worse or good or bad or better just different but there’s part
of the culture for example speaking with your hands gesticulating “Gesticolare”
was speaking with an Italian friend of mine and we were speaking in English but
I’m very accustomed to speaking with my hands we were having a conversation in
English and my friend said to me “what’s going on here we’re speaking in English
how come we’re talking like we’re speaking in Italian” sorry this is just
the way that I speak this is just who I am it’s second nature it’s not something
that I think about … “but you’re American” and I was like “Italian American there’s a little
bit of a difference” what I have noticed is it seems as though a lot of Italian
Americans maybe have lost some of the meaning of the hand gestures that you
would find in Italy from what I’ve seen the Italian system of hand gestures is
far more complicated than probably what most of us have experienced in the u.s.
even Italian Americans it’s an art form not all Italians are extremely
expressive with their hands I’ve even heard of Italians who really don’t like
to speak in this way personally I think it adds to a conversation but when
you’re doing it in a specific way but the way that Italians do it I think
really adds to the conversation you could be having a conversation with
somebody talking about a long time ago you had some really delicious spaghetti
and was cooked perfectly and here in Italy I’ve heard a sentiment about
Italian Americans or people of Italian descent from abroad these “fake Italians”
“people who think they are Italian but they don’t know”…. and hey I’ll give it to most
people that there’s a level of not knowing about the places and some
aspects of the culture and some aspects of the food hell, there are even Italian
Americans who think fettuccine alfredo is a real thing yeah no no no not so
much but to call it Italian we’ll call it Italian inspired because as time goes
on there has been a divergence where you have Italian culture and then Italian
influenced culture and even so much so that the Italian American identity is
somewhat different than the Italian identity I would say and I know that’s
going to offend a lot of people and culturally even the descendants of
Italians who live in America may not fit the italian-american stereotype I know I
don’t grow up in Brooklyn, I grew up on the
west coast… but the thing is being italian-american it’s not anything less
it’s just a way of being and yes there are a lot of Italian Americans when they
come to Italy they are not accepted as Italians and this is just it and I think
it depends on the person’s character and who they are because there will be
people who will be more accepted and less accepted I’ve been pretty lucky
even though people will say oh yeah the American guy but I’ve also been in
conversations with Italians here from Italy who’ve said yeah but
you’re Italian you’re supposed to like this are you supposed to do XYZ and
telling me you are Italian to me I realize while there is an Italian
influence on the way that I was raised and who I am I’m never going to be fully
“Italian Italian” I’m always going to have that little bit of “Americaness” in me
because that’s where I’m from that’s where I grew up and I’m very grateful
for the opportunities that gave me but my own personal feeling was that it was
time to come home it was time to be here in the motherland and somebody who
commented on last week’s videos he’s a regular viewer Dax Presuto mentioned
something very interesting people of Italian descent
who go through this whole Jure Sanguinis thing really earn their stripes they
have to do a lot of work and those of you who are going through this I’m sure
you know how much of a nightmare it can be and how stressful it can be and I’ve
seen so many people talking about the anxiety that they get through this whole
process it really is a big deal because for so many of us this is a huge part of
who we are and this is pride and for the people that actually want to come here
it’s even more important to them because this really has an effect on their lives
like Dax said going through this process you earn your stripes you have to put so
much work into a blood sweat and tears and yes of course I still want to see
this process become easier and I still want to try and help influence that if I
ever can and even though the process is far from perfect I’m so grateful that it
exists because if it didn’t I probably more than likely wouldn’t be sitting
here in Italy right now and I wouldn’t be making these videos either and I’ve
really been enjoying making these because you guys have really made it
worthwhile so I wanted to also say thank you for that just as a little side note
because this is it’s really been a great experience getting
know some of you and even meeting up with you guys too I think really when it
comes down to it legally, if you can prove you’re Italian you’re Italian but
let’s get back to the question of what really is Italian because even in Italy
you have ethnic minorities born and raised here many generations that the
first language is German French Slovenian and may not ethnic ly be
“Italian” but their families have been here since forever they’ve got the
Italian citizenship but does that mean they’re Italian or that they’re not Italian because from a legal sense they’re absolutely Italian and then when you get
into it this might anger some people but among Italians in Italy who are “Italian”
or Italian Americans Argentinians whatever many of our ancestors would
have probably mixed with other different groups of people because you’ve had
invaders of Italy from all over the place
Greek North African French austro-hungarian German there have been
so many groups of people that have come into this nation and have influenced it
not only socially but even genetically so even to say among Italians… who’s
Italian? what does that mean? and then you’ll find people who are here in Italy
and they say it’s the culture the language being in the place living in
the place having been born in the place having your family from this place there
was one person I’m so sorry I forget your name but they mentioned that they
were born in Italy but they were raised abroad and when they come back to Italy
they’re not considered to be Italian but if you tell somebody from outside of
Italy of Italian descent that they’re not Italian you’re gonna get little more
than a “Vanfanc…” and have a nice day so really when it comes down to it there’s
a lot of definitions of what Italian is what it means we can be talking about
ethnicity we can be talking about citizenship we can be talking about
culture and all of the shades of grey in between and there are so many different
factors that none of this is really black and white but maybe what might be
right to say is “Italian” thinking of somebody from Italy or Italian descent
somebody who’s from abroad they are Italian it’s just a different kind of
Italian anyway I’m curious to what you guys think down in the comments section
below here on YouTube for those of you from Italy what do you think about this
situation you really think that people who are not
from Italy aren’t Italian and can’t be Italian no way no how
these people are complete foreigners or okay yeah maybe they’re of Italian
descent maybe they’ve held on to some things or do you maybe think there’s
some sort of middle ground and for the people who are not from Italy but of
Italian descent how would you react if somebody told you that you’re not
Italian or have you ever been in the situation here in Italy
having somebody tell you you’re not Italian or even asking you how could you
be Italian you’re from America I think the subject is quite interesting and I
really hope that the conversation that might come from this will be just as
constructive as it has ben over the past few weeks because from my perspective while
we may all on some level be Italian we’re just different flavors of Italian
anyway that’s it until next Friday thank you so much for watching and subscribing
I really hope you enjoyed this video and to see more content be sure that you’re
subscribed with that notification bell turned on and if you could give this
video like I would really appreciate it because it does help the channel grow as
per usual this is an open conversation so feel free to leave any of your
thoughts down in the youtube comment section below
or feel free to get in contact over social media and as always I’m Rafael Di Furia AKA Rafi Di is me and I’ll see you all next time … later 🙂


  1. Post
    It's Elissa, not Alyssa

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this video. I have so many thoughts on this topic as well. I'm actually kind of sad that you already made this video because this would have been a great collab video for us to do together 😂 but yeah, I just think that North Americans and Italians have totally different opinions on what it means to be Italian. In Canada I say I'm Italian/Lebanese, and in Italy I say I'm Canadian. It's simpler that way 😋

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    OMG it's Whitney

    I just realized I wrote you a novel… >.> <.< Sorry. haha
    Thank you! I'm so happy that you addressed this. I know that being only like…15-20%, like I am, shouldn't really get in the way of how I was brought up, but some of those "I'm 100%!" make me cringe. lol. My mom's biological father (Norwegian/Swedish) wasn't around, and my Nana (who is 100% Norwegian) married someone else.. so the only "blood" family that I knew was my Sicilian family. My dad's mom is German/Sicilian and dad's dad was English/Welsh. So to me, I'm Sicilian, Norwegian & English but I have a stronger connection to my Sicilian side…does that make any sense??

    I get asked a lot "Do you speak Spanish?" and when I say, "No", they say "Oh… you look Hispanic,"..I have asked some of my Hispanic friends why people think I speak Spanish and they said they think it's my skin complexion (I'm not white white but I'm not tan either) and hair (naturally really dark) and my eye(s) (when they just see the brown one and not the green one…that turns into something totally different) shrugs I tell them those features come from my Sicilian father (who is only ¼ Sicilian but grew up with his Sicilian grandfather, his mom's dad.)

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    Nick Altieri

    I am like you. "You do you, and I will do me". I am of Italian heritage. I was influenced by my grandparents, but I am a result of all the influences around me.
    This is the smartest commentary I have seen. Thanks.

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    Nicola Delsud

    I would not look like the one who always comments, but because you have also asked the opinion of us natives ……
    For me, being Italian means: having a common language with other Italians and knowing how to appreciate its particularities; be aware of living, or coming from, an ancient country full of artistic and natural beauties, inherited from our ancestors for which we are responsible in the face of all present and future humanity
    Your second question is easy to answer: Can a foreigner, or better if I perfectly understand your question, a descendant of Italians being considered a "true" Italian? : yes and you are "the mathematical proof" (Of course I do not pretend to read in people's hearts but sometimes our actions reflect what our feelings are.)
    Seriously, feeling Italian is a matter of "feeling" (we use the English word here in Italy :-)) and I understand perfectly the "vaffanc .." of an italo-xxxxx (xxxx stands for American, Argentine etc etc) at the 10:26 minute of your video.
    PS: Sorry for my orrible english.

  5. Post
    Katherine Schroeder

    My mother's side of the family is Italian, my Dad's German, so I always considered myself a 50/50 of each. The actual DNA turns out to be quite different. Unable to do my parents' DNA because they passed away years ago, but reconstructing it via mine and my brother's, I see that my Italian mom had some other genetic influences. Her family comes from Benevento Province in Campania. Growing up, we had a few Italian cultural influences on our lives, but the family's main push was to blend in and be American instead of Italian. Until I took the DNA test, I considered myself 50% Italian. Now I'm 22% Italian. The cultural Italian I'm most familiar with is American Italian. So ultimately, I don't know if I consider myself Italian in a way that someone from Italy considers him/herself Italian. Speaking with my hands? Sometimes. My brother does more of that than I do. I do find, however, that I relate to Latin-Americans (those who are Hispanic or of either Spanish or Romanian or Portugese descent) because our families in America seem to have certain customs in common that we all grew up with. Speaking Italian was forbidden to our generation, so I did not learn to speak it except for a few words here and there (mostly of the sort that get beeped out in polite videos). I am pretty sure that I'd be labeled a foreigner if I were in Italy, and rightfully so, since, as you pointed out, their culture went their way and our culture went our way.

    Fascinating subject and well-done presentation in your video.

  6. Post

    I'm in the category of who cares what others think. I'm not going to focus my thoughts or energy on judging someone else (in any terms). I got better things to do.

    Although, to put a spin on the question, if I told a recent immigrant to American that they are not "a true American" because they don't speak perfect English and they were not born here…that would be racist and insulting.

  7. Post
    Hope .McManus

    This is a fascinating conversation for me, especially as one who has a deep sensitivity to culture, ritual and identity. I just began the process of requesting my citizenship a little over a year ago – It took me almost 8 years to actually get started – and I still struggle with how this will (and will not) define me. My story is pretty cliche: I grew up in NJ, 3 Italian grandparents, 1 Irish. Papi Joe (Guiseppe was my great-grandfather, the immigrant on my dad's side) didn't die until I was 11. My mom's last name is Botticelli. My grandparents were always in the kitchen cooking with Italian music, everyone yelling at each other instead of talking. And though I do not speak Italian, my childhood was incubated in the essence of passion and ritual of Italian culture. In my opinion this is not something that is explicitly taught, rather absorbed. I remember as a child feeling very different than other Anglo-looking Americans, and related more to those of Latin decent, be it Europe or the Americas. I do not expect Italians from Italy to recognize me as their definition of Italian (and I would never claim to be), however, i would hope that most Italians would recognize that we share bloodlines and ancestors who are buried in the same soils. Those of us (decedents) who ended up across the Atlantic have, for generations, held on tight to the threads of a culture we are proud to have come from. I also think it is important to understand that Italians immigrated to the US for many different reasons. Most did not want to leave but felt forced due to impoverished conditions, seeking to end the struggle for their families. They were largely considered second class citizens in the US because of their socio-economic class, and for many, their darker skin tone, and forced to Anglo-ize their names. Most became naturalized (renounced their Italian citizenship) because they felt they had no other choice. I can imagine how painful this must have been for many of these immigrants.

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    It honestly didn't occur to me that a majority of the world doesn't think of themselves as what their heritage is until a couple years ago. Since America is such a melting pot identifying ourselves by our background is a big part of who we are, and finding friends with similar backgrounds is kind of a big deal meaning that their family life is/was likely quite similar. Anyway, after I realized that other people don't think that way I've had to catch myself from saying things like, "I'm Italian!" to people I just met who were from Italy or Germany or wherever. I have to slow myself down and say, "My family is from Italy" or "I have Italian heritage" instead. On a weird note, I have a friend that was raised in Italy (possibly also born there) from babyhood through high school and she's not Italian, buuuuut I am, kinda, haha. It does make me wonder how long I'd have to live in Italy to be considered Italian, or maybe American Italian (as opposed to Italian American).

  10. Post
    Vicki Dvorak

    My GGP were from Liguria. They immigrated to New Orleans, LA. I never knew my GGF or GF who died before I was born, so , unfortunarely, we did not get to have the Italian experience. Instead we had the Cajun experience which is the dominant culture there. Also, which someone else brought up, when my father and mother were growing up there was a culture of being "all American". No French. No Italian. Just American. It actually wasn't until I started by Jure Sangunis journey that I "felt" Italian. I understand the Italian natives who scoff at us. There is a national pride of being "from there". I hope at some time after living in Italia that I can be accepted.

  11. Post
    Hector Serrano

    How to open an Italian Bank Account, best banks for jure sanguinis italians comming from Abroad ?… Unicredit vs Intensa San Paolo ?, etc….

  12. Post
    Rome Inside

    Hey Rafael!
    I was actually speaking about this with Elissa a few days ago!

    It's really unnatural for us Italians to think about someone who was born and raised somewhere else as an Italian. Even if he/she has Italian parents or grandparents!
    On the other hand, if someone from – let's say – American parents is born and raised in Italy we would easily call him/her an Italian.

    And you're right, some "actual italians" would even feel slightly offended by people claiming to be Italian and not knowing that fettuccine Alfredo is not a thing or where Rome is or not being able to speak italian!
    (I'll admit I sometimes feel this way too haha)

    But I think the most important thing is always the respect of the culture.
    For example, what we don't enjoy so much is when someone who's an Italian (but born and raised somewhere else) comes back to Italy and kinda feels like he/she knows it all about Italy and how Italian things of any sort work…

    But on the other hand, when we find people like you who seems to be very respectful of the culture, we won't feel offended at all if you consider or call yourself an Italian! 😀

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    A. D.

    When I am in Italy, I mention I am from New York. When I am in the U.S., I mention I am of Italian descent. I'm a full-fledged Italian citizen, but I of course recognize that I am American (even though I have lived, worked, and studied in Italy and speak Italian like a native). However, I'm Italian for sure–just a different flavor. 🙂

  15. Post
    Diana Pinto

    First off – salve from another west coast raised, not-stereotyipical Italian American!

    My conclusion over time is that there's no true definition. Everyone has a different opinion and you have to live with it. I agree with your notions of there being shades of "Italian-ness." Both my parents immigrated to the US from Italy in the 1980s, so I have way fewer claims to American roots than I do Italian. The Italian influence was undeniable and there were cultural differences between myself and the kids I grew up with. Yet, there are cultural differences between myself and my own parents. I could not be myself without both Italy and America. I do have my opinions (people should try to learn the language, geography, regional culture of their origins, etc), but if you ask 10 people this question you'll probably get 10 different responses, and I can testify to that since I wrote my baccalaureate ethnography partially on this subject and asked this very question to many different people. I'm mostly in that "you do you" category now, but that doesn't mean I agree with everyone…just that I'm not an authority to decide. And who is?

  16. Post
    Giovanni Serafino

    Well, if speaking flawless Italian without a trace of a foreign accent is one of the criteria of being a real Italian, that would certainly exclude Vittorio Emanuele II who had difficulty with standard Italian , and preferred French and his local dialect. Secondly, it really doesn't make too much difference whom "native" born Italians consider Italians. No matter where one is born, if you have an Italian passport, you are Italian. Basta!

    One would think, they would be proud that the descendants of immigrants who left Italy many generations ago still value a cultural and emotional connection to the motherland . Obviously, these "fake Italians" have more of a connection to Italy than the thousands of migrants from North Africa and the rest of the Middle East that are over running Italy at the present moment. Lastly by 2050, if things continue in this way, Italy will have zero population growth from "native Italians" Perhaps, a little help from "Fake Italians" would be appreciated to keep the country from disappearing .

  17. Post
    Sky Bird

    My four grandparents came here from Sicily. And many other people in my family, including some of my aunts and uncles, were born in Sicily. My parents were born here, as I was. When I went to Sicily to meet my relatives there, I thought of myself as "the American relative." I am Sicilian-American. Italian-American. My relatives in Sicily saw me the same way. I am not an Italian native, yet I am "bi-cultural." It is the blood. All of my blood is Sicilian blood. Culturally, I was brought up in the Sicilian manner, but of course, I was also brought up in American culture. I cannot be one or the other. I am both.

  18. Post
    Joe Manginelli

    I really appreciate that you have addressed this topic. I just returned from a beautiful trip to Italy. I went to "find my roots" but came back a little more confused. I employed a native speaking tutor in the months leading up to my trip who told me I was Italian, period. I can appreciate that. But my family, like many immigrant families who came here in the turn of the 20th century, couldn't wait to shed their heritage. They were proud Americans (most naturalized citizens are) to wave the American flag, pledge allegiance and be the most jingoistic patriots. I asked my grandfather if he ever wanted to go back and without missing a beat he said, "No." I was confused. Italy was the country of his birth, how could he not feel any desire to go back there? He told me being southern Italian was no picnic. Southerners were not treated very well in Italy in those days. When they heard there was a place that would allow them to work, support and grow a family, and just live a free life they took the first boat they could get on. And I appreciate that. But I wanted to see it for myself. It is beautiful. I loved my trip so much I am returning later this year. My confusion lies in what it means to be Italian. I struggle with this quite a bit actually. I too grew up on the west coast of America. I don't speak like the Italian American gangsters in the movies. I am an educated person who uses decent diction and grammar. I am also fair skinned with blue eyes. I don't fit the stereotype at all. I can see and hear that you don't fit that stereotype as well. I also noticed that Italians living in Italy don't fit the American stereotype of Italians. They looked more like me than anyone in the Sopranos. That did help me feel better about what it means to be Italian. On another note, I admire you. You are living my dream of packing it all in and just moving to Italy. Since I decided to take my sojourn I have been giving the idea of moving there serious consideration. But I haven't heard if you have a wife or kids. I have both and wouldn't ask them to follow in my dreams. That's a pretty big request. Thank you very much for addressing this topic. I have watched your other videos and yes, I did subscribe and rang the bell. Thanks.


  19. Post
    Martina V

    I think your nationality is your parents' nationality + the one you grew up in for the most part.
    It doesn't go farther than one generation imo: if your parents are a certain nationality, you are – at least partially, even if you grew up elsewhere – that. Grandparents? Nah. If my grandparents were, say, German, I'd say "my grandpa/ma is German" "my mom is half/part German" but I would NOT call myself German.

  20. Post
    K C

    I think everyone should be proud of where they're from. I have ancestors from Starro and Recreo Terme and I'm damn proud of that. I have so much pride for my ancestors and am knowledgeable about Italy. I think it's sad that others ruin the image of the ones who are proud, and try to engage in their ethnicity. I'm an Italian American and have pride in both countries. Sadly, I do not qualify for Jure Sanguinis as my ancestors came in 1903 before the 1912 deadline, but I do plan to move to Italy and stay until I can apply for citizenship.

  21. Post

    Dude, if you say at an Italian person that someone in your family was Italian, you take 50 free points in any conversation, at last, it works on me (but just keep this as a secret, or everyone will use this to trick… me) 😛

  22. Post
    willow whisper

    My father was Italian (he passed away when I was little), my mother is Mexican, I was born in Italy but raised in Mexico since age 5. Speak both languages, have both nationalities and family in both countries, what am I? 😂

  23. Post
    mimmi brontola

    In the rest of the world Italians are seen as a homogeneous people…. but we aren't. I used to live in Germany and the UK and in both places people used to tell me I am not the 'typical' Italian. I'm still not sure what a typical Italian should be like!

  24. Post

    I think the blood is not important at all. An Italian, for me, is someone who grew up with Italian culture. The italian culture of someone who has my age is grandma's food, playing soccer in the park, 883's songs, Gigi D'Agostino dance music, Sanremo with your family, Giochi senza frontiere, growing up with Corrado, Sandra e Raimondo and Mike Bongiorno, etc…
    I don't care about the blood. Your parents can be French, German, Russian… but you must be able to sing "La regola dell'amico" with me! XD

    [Sorry for my bad English. I'm still learning]

  25. Post

    I'm Italian, born and raised in Rome, but I'm currently living abroad. I'll chime in on this one as I've studied cultural mediation for quite a few years.
    A lot of Italian-Americans become extremely disappointed when they come to Italy and realise they are not recognised as real Italians. And this is an experience shared by many other Americans of different descent (like the Irish-Americans visiting Ireland for the first time).
    Here's the thing: ethnicity is cultural, not biological.
    You're not Italian because of your blood. You're Italian because of your language, your habits, your history, your environment. Basically: your culture.
    If a guy from Jersey walked up to me and told me "I'm a real Italian"…he would just make me roll my eyes. The dude doesn't speak my language (let alone my dialect), he doesn't know the gestures, the habits, the history or the infinite amount of behavioural nuances in between the regions and towns…yet somehow he claims to be like me: you can see the problem, right?
    Mind you: I'm not saying I hate the guy. I actually like Italian-American culture. But that's the point: it's a different culture.
    I think most Americans have a hard time grasping the concept because…well…American culture is not very well defined. The U.S are an extremely young nation, with a short history and with little to no roots to their land (colonialism, immigration, eradicating the natives etc). Because of all this, it seems many Americans feel a need to trace their cultural identity back to somewhere else. But you can't claim a culture through your grandparents: a foreigner (any foreigner, from any other country) will speak differently, move differently, live differently, THINK differently. It's the deepest, most existential kind of difference: one that cannot be bridged just by "calling it". Like you said: "it's a way of being".

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    mario siaven

    Very proud to be a Jure sanguinis Italian, I went to the process and got my citizenship over 30 years ago from my 2 Italian parents, having lived or stayed in Italy less than 3 months in my whole life I can tell you  I feel so proud to be Italian, the customs, traditions, food and so on so forth.

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    A very interesting video…for a very controversial topic!
    According to me, being Italian is a matter of culture and being Italo-American is just an "alternative" form of being Italian, that combines Italian traits with American traits (the American ones being predominant, though, since it's the country where this person has spent most of his/her life).
    The diachronic perspective is much more important to me, though. That's why I consider a person who was born in Italy to foreign parents in the last 3 decades more Italian than the descendants of Italo-Americans/Germans.
    This doesn't mean that an Italo-American will never be "fully Italian". Since culture can be acquired, spending a couple of years in Italy or some time with people born in Italy should be enough to "catch up" with the Italian reality of today (speaking Italian should be a huge advantage :P).

    In my opinion, the reasons why most Italians are so sceptical about Italian descendants declaring to "feel Italian" are as follows:
    1) The first generations of Italian migrants represent – from today's perspective – a sort of "old-fashioned" and "backward" version of Italy and most Italians don't like to remember that Italy used to be a poor country. Nowadays, it looks like that the stereotypical "Italo-American" has preserved these "old-fashioned" traits of being Italian (I think of Buzzfeed video's "Signs you were born Italian-American") while his modernity comes from the contact with the culture of the other country.
    2) Most Italian migrants moved from Southern Italy, a part of Italy that we keep on stigmatizing even nowadays. This means that these "old-fashioned" traits I mentioned are still to be found in Italy, but they are not considered to be a "good example" of Italian lifestyle (think of "Uomini e donne" or the TV shows of Barbara d'Urso: their participants look similar to the ones of Jersey Shore and we make fun of them in the same way we do with their Italian counterpart).
    3) Some descendants, especially from South American countries, want to move to Italy because they are looking for a better life in Italy (in comparison to their country of origin), not because of their bond to the country itself. This makes people really upset.

    P.S. I definitely need to brush up on my English, I'm sorry 😉

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    Romano Benini

    Sorry but of you don't speak Italian , don't know Italy , don't live in Italy , don't understand Italian culture you are NOT Italian . Don't forget that for many reasons Italian and American cultures are opposite. Italian and Latin culture: is good and right what is beautiful, American culture; is good and right what is exact . The basic and original American culture is Anglo German and NOT Italian , especially in Mid West . So I think it's hard to be American Italian beacause these two cultures are really different. I have relatives in different nations but if your grandfather was born in Italy you're not Italian now : the ambient you are grown up is more important than the roots of your ancestors. Culture is that you know, you live and feel . Not the DNA of your ancestors

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    Giada Grovesnor

    A voler essere precisi nemmeno il Trentino Alto Adige é considerata Italia dagli italiani hahahah Sono' più simili agli austriaci! Volete conoscere i veri italiani? Venite in Umbria, nel Lazio, in Toscana o nelle Marche. Il centro Italia é l'ideale per farsi un'idea dello spirito italiano. Al sud, si sa, sono delle simpatiche canaglie, a nord hanno tutti una scopa nel culo HAHAHAH (generally speaking you know) e la Sardegna ha una sua propria identità, un popolo a parte che vale la pena di scoprire, specialmente d'estate se volete tuffarvi in un mare caraibico nel bel mezzo del Mediterraneo. (medi-terra (neo) o anche terra di mezzo. No, non ci sono gli Hobbit ma i sardi sono altrettanto bassi. Ma non glie lo dite sennò si offendono!). Comunque meglio l'Umbria, più economica della Toscana ma altrettanto bella. Buona permanenza 😉

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    Khalid Aziz

    my momis italian and my dad is from Pakistan, born and raised in Italy. and because I already live for 30 years in Germany my italian isn't fluent anymore. So everytime im in Italy I'm facing that everyday racism. or in the social media comment section I got a lot that i should shut up because i'm not a "real" Italian.

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    Eu sou brasileiro descendente de italianos vênetos. Aqui no Sul do Brasil nossa cultura é muito ativa e falamos o dialeto vêneto até hoje!

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    I love Italy but the Anglo-Protestant countries are better!!!!!!! Italy is corrupt and no different from the countries from South America. Saying that I wouldn't mind living in Rome. LOL

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    Don Amigo

    I’m second gen USA born Italian from Naples. I’ve always had great pride about my ethnicity and think of myself as American-Italian. I completely agree if one is of Italian blood, speaks Italian, has Italian passport, and lives in Italy, I would say that are definitely Italian italian💛 if they can’t then stick a hyphen on it or earn your stripes and learn.

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    As an American of Italian descent, only on my dad's side, I would never call myself Italian, especially if I was living in Italy. That seems incredibly disrespectful to me. I feel a special connection to Italy from having a childhood of eating Italian American dishes at my grandparents, but I realize my experience is its own unique, Americanized thing, that's wonderful in its own right, but its remote to Italian culture.

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    Samantha Eaton

    This is one I've battled with for a while. I was adopted to the UK from romania. I'm directly Romanian by birth and have dual nationality. Also I can speak conversational Romanian as a matter of self pride.

    But the waters get very murky when it comes to being accepted by them as one of thier own. Some do, some don't and others -kinda do-.

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    Luca Pills

    ''Noi siamo la tua famiglia'' I only want to say you that I love your voice, clothes, red hairs pop news bout the our country just you're an our stuff…

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    Luca Pills

    A humbly think that you're italian if u have a regular documents and rule listened some italian music and come from the west……. but you can be black, or white, or oink (like us) or asian or alien too ahahahahah we're latin europeans so…… like if ya'll thought this one…

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    David DeMar

    I was recently recognized as an Italian citizen but I don't think I could ever identify as Italian or even Italian-American. I grew up in Atlanta so I had virtually no Italian-American influences in my life outside my paternal grandparents, who I saw once every few years at the most. Even if I moved to Italy I would still feel 100% American.

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    Daniel Chesery

    Hello everyone who might read this. I am a 48 year-old high school math teacher living in Tennessee with my wife and our three sons, all of whom are living on their own now. When I was very young, I have always known that I was from Italian descent. My father told me how his grandfather would bounce him on his knee as a child and scare him to death because he didn't speak much English and he was loud. My parents divorced when I was 8 and my brother, sister and I lived with my mom, who was not from Italian roots. My brother was always proud of being an Italian-American, probably more so than my sister and I, but that never meant that I wasn't proud to be Italian-American. Sure, I've always been proud to be who I am.

    Surprisingly, I only learned about being an Italian citizen recently. My sister became interested in genealogy recently and she discovered this fact somehow. As soon as she told me, I immediately knew that I MUST go through the process of being recognized as an Italian citizen. I called my brother, as he did not know yet. He also was very interested, but oddly, he has opted out of this process. I always figured he would have done something like this if for nothing else than to declare to the world where his heritage originates. Sadly, only my sister and I will be doing this process. All three of us live in different parts of the country, so we all would have to gather the same documents for three different Italian consulates. At least after my sister and I are done, we can be of great help to him to gather whatever he may need if he ever decides to do this in the future.

    I've been asking myself why this is so important to me, and I just know that it is. I may not be Italian by the definition of so many people, but I actually can see myself moving there one day. I have gone so far as to subscribe to the Rosetta Stone software to learn the language, and I feel like I'm making progress (it's only been like two weeks, but hey, whatever). My middle son is so excited that he is also trying to learn the language. My other two sons are like, whatever. All three will have to do this on their own since they are over 18, but my middle son is so excited that he may piggy-back on my JS appointment. The good thing about the other two is that they will be able to do it after I get it done with not nearly the number of documents.

    I am explaining all this because it is relevant to how we feel about our Italian heritage. Of course we are not living nor have we ever been immersed in the Italian culture, but as an American who is an Italian citizen, I still have pride about it.

    I have been looking at different possible ways to teach abroad for a long time now. My wife (of 28 years) and I have always thought that once we become empty-nesters, maybe we could find a way to explore the world and possibly teach overseas. Well, the empty-nester thing isn't going to happen as we have custody of our grandson (our middle son's son), but there may be a time soon where we could. Of course, teaching abroad for more than a year or two for an American is almost impossible considering the visa that would be necessary, regardless of where we go. When I found out about being an Italian citizen, I realized I must do this! It may seem crazy, but I think we are going to finish our careers teaching in Italy. I don't know how long it's going to take until we are ready to pack and move, but the excitement for what is ahead of us is overwhelming.

    Rafael, if you've made it to the end of my long posting, I would love to see a video about what it may be like for a family to move there. You surely would admit that this is a huge thing compared to a twenty-something person who would bring no family. I don't know your family situation, but if you know of expats who have done this with their family, it would be great to watch. Thank you for all you do on YouTube. It is encouraging and empowering.

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    Anna Lisa Megan

    Hi Rafael,
    first of all I had to subscribe 'cause you deliver really interesting content and I can see myself in some things you mention.
    I'm italian and live in Germany (2nd generation). Actually I was born in Germany but since then I have only the italian passport. Even though I'm legally italian and also feel myself as italian, people I know from Italy (still have family and friends there) never considered me this way. I grew up with the italian culture, learned to speak first italian and then german, even attended for 13 years a german-italian school/high school, always kept a connection to my roots, but I'm still not fully 'accepted' as a 'real' italian. Maybe from some points of view I'm not, but who decides the standarts? Everything in life evolves and I like to think I'm a differend kind of italian, with the one or the other advantage even tough in the past I often felt like a stranger everywhere: In Germany I was the italian girl, in Italy I was the german girl. It was a little frustrating…. non sei ne carne e ne pesce, how they said. I know I will never be like an in Italy born and living italian but as you mentioned there is not only black and white.

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    Glitch Modulator

    Do you find that the acceptiveness is more localized in certain regions of Italy, to give an analogy, like southern hospitality in the US, but about the idea of what is Italian in Italy.

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    I'm Italian American and got my Italian passport for me this is a simple explanation. Imagine how we treat dogs and cats. If a dog goes and stays with a bunch of cats is it now a cat? Is that dogs offspring now a cat because they had their pups around a bunch of cats? No of course not. No matter where you put that dog it will always be a dog and it's pups will always be dogs. Same with italians. If an Italian moves and has kids are they suddenly American? No they're Italian

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    A Alb

    It is possible the ethnic roots in the USA are more important for many people because they live in a multicultural country.
    This is good from a certain point of view but also a prison.
    People from other countries could be Italians easily if not Italian American in my opinion because an Italian American have a personal background of memories from family that is disconnected to real Italy.
    Obviously the success to embrace the Italian way of living heavily depends from person to person by the level of knowledge and intelligence in general.

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    geenah caragliu

    As always I enjoy your videos, and this one stirs up many emotions. It sort of saddens me. I too fall into that category of being proud of my heritage, as that is how I was raised.
    I had no idea that “Italian Americans” are not considered Italian in Italy. I do understand why a person born within the culture, whom speaks the language, and lives in Italy would feel this way.
    However, growing up completely infused with Italian roots I feel connected to many of the cultural aspects which I’m finding may or may not be “real Italian “ and that’s okay. (This is good information to know:)
    I know I am an American, with Italian roots but DNA has been shown to have memory, hence the way we talk with our hands without knowing the proper gestures. So we are left with being confused!
    These conversations are great, I especially like the way you said “we are just different flavors”! That’s perfect! I love learning about the differences between the flavors, and I respect all opinions.

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    Haha I can tell you where all the Italian regions are and what's special about each one – I have been to most of them. I can read modern Italian, but I can't speak it – just a few dialect words.
    I have met my relatives there and they were fantastic people. Treated me more like family than my local cousins.

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    as an italian, i like to consider italian someone who has italian as mother language, included who has two (with the other one foreinger or – of course- italian dialect heheheh)

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    Pete Juliano

    With the advent of DNA tests like 23andme … one can discover, how much of an ethnicity one has … and oddly enough it can vary between siblings …. and you don’t get equal amounts from your parents. Nonetheless, I had markers in Italy, Sicily … and interestingly enough Northern Africa … I assume it was the Moors.

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    Sabina Fiorentini

    Anche io considero i discendenti di origine italiana all'estero 'finti italiani'.
    Al contrario i figli di stranieri che siano nati, cresciuti e abbiamo le loro origini culturali quì sono italiani al 100%.
    Se però qualche italo-something sente un orgoglio particolare, tanto da spingerlo a cambiare totalmente la sua vita per costruire un futuro in Italia MERITA di essere considerato italiano (dopo un congruo periodo di immersione e acquisizione della cultura e della lingua).

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    It really bugs me why you north Americans who share such a strong coherent culture, national identity and set of customs and habits, like to put up boundaries between one another and claim that you're from anywhere else in the world, when all that is left from the Country of origin is basically just a surname. You should celebrate your identity, your common ground. It all comes down to the social-psychology theory of groups and how groups serve the human need of feeling in the right place within a clique, which is deemed to be the best one by its members. It's time that you guys move on from that and start seeing things as they are. And the truth of the matter is that you are very much alike, and an American of Italian descend has much more in common with any black American, than they have with a native Italian. And don't even get me started with racism in the US, which is the dumbest of the dumbest things that has ever been invented. You're just making things harder for yourselves.

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    marco michelini

    You didn't mention the division within Italy at regional and local level. Everywhere in Italy there are some italians who is more italian than others. But at the end of the day, if you blame it on the government, you are truly italian.

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    I consider myself both American and Italian because that's what I am. But I'm also of German descent, and my mother is African-American. These labels are advantages, not disadvantages, so I label myself as all or as none depending on the situation I'm in.

    But I do think that there should be something said for respect of the culture. When I realized I was eligible for JS (and also after I was recognized), learning Italian civics became extremely inappropriate. I started re-learning the language on turbo-speed, jumping from simple greetings to the imperative subjunctive over the course of a year, making multiple trips to Italy as often as I could, learning how to cook Italian recipes and desserts, learning the holiday system, etc. I didn't want to get a passport and then exploit it just because I could. Hell, I even started re-learning a little Latin as well and getting knee-deep into Roman history. There just had to be some level of respect and reverence for the nation of Italy, a nation with flexible enough laws that I could bring my family's story full circle.

    When I'm in Italy, it really depends on the situation what my answer to this question of identity is. Often times, I tell others I'm Italian, but I was born in the US, have both citizenships and want to improve my spoken Italian. Sometimes I feel like a foreigner in Italy, and sometimes I feel like I'm exactly where I need to be. In my experience, every Italian-born native I meet reassures me, "Non sei straniero. Sei italiano." To them, being raised with Italian culture (and perhaps also making an effort to learn native culture and language) meant that I was Italian too. E basta, non vale piu' discuterne.

    I'll never learn enough as to become a native of Italy, but that's also not my goal. I'm proud to be an Italian, and I'm proud to be an American, the same way I'm proud of my German and African roots, am proud to be gay, am proud to be a crazed Stevie Nicks fan, etc, etc etc. Again, that's just my experience. I respect native Italians, and the Italians I've come into contact with respect me as a JS Italian, and I don't think there's any shame in also respecting that difference. I don't see it as a problem or a hindrance.

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    Italian Americans are like African Americans, Mexican Americans, Korean Americans, and all the other Americans who came to the U.S. in that, while our ancestry and culture has evolved over the years, there is still a connection to our pre-american origin. Some of us retain more of that culture than others, either way, we can't live in the U.S. (or anywhere in the world for that matter) without being influenced by the culture in which we live. On the one hand we should be proud of where we come from, and share the culture our ancestors brought with them. On the other hand we should be experiencing the cultures we are unfamiliar with, melting pot such that we are.

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    sabra black

    And this is why I enjoy watching your videos! I'm american… East coast…..but my great grandparents and granddad came here back in the early 1900's. My dad is both Irish and Italian and has told me that I am Italian by blood, and I discovered recently that I'm Irish by blood as well! And there's french in there…but I was raised american but to value my ancestry. Soooooo Im all of the above.😉🇮🇹🇮🇹

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    NiChole Gallo

    My grandfather use to tell me the same exact thing !! “There are people who are Italian and people who use they were Italian” he said it all the time. God rest his soul.

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    Chiara D. Brown

    I remember being in an Italian class and telling the people there that they aren't Italian, they are American. I explained that they are Italian-American, but that that is a flavor of American, that being Italian is a completely different culture that we aren't familiar with. They looked so shocked and dumbfounded, they had never thought of it that way before. Now that I have spent so much of my life focused on Italian culture (I'm an Italian to English translator), it sounds so weird to me when some of my family members say "We're Italian!"…in my mind I'm like, uh, there's nothing Italian about you, haha…

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    Alvise Postinghel

    I’m a born and raised italian, yet because of whatever reason, people often perceive me as a foreigner… been approached most of my life as NOT italian. I know the feeling. My opinion of what makes someone “italian”? Genetics, culture, history. You are genetically italian, culturally an american, historically you’re a perfect example of the result of human migration. I personally see you as an italian with just a twist of foreign flavour. As an italian myself I know that probably most of us have a foreign touch inside of us, there is hardly something as a pure blood, no matter what one can think of himself.

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    Italian is an ethnicity of people who identify with each other on the basis of genealogy, ancestry, history. All Italians share this and it's in their DNA. Being Italian is not about just culture it is most importantly the ethnic identity. This is why many Italians look similar and can recognize their countrymen.

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