A Letter to the Editor of the New York Post Re: Mario Cuomo

Aug 23, 2019 2090

BY: Angelo Vivolo, President, Columbus Heritage Coalition

Dear Mr. Lynch, I am writing to express my extreme displeasure with your unnecessary – and wildly offensive – August 14th cover story headline and illustration. I am a native New Yorker, a longtime reader of the Post, and a proud Italian American. While I am no stranger to the Post’s attention grabbing headlines and graphics, I urge you to seriously reconsider the harm your August 14 cover has caused to the millions of Italian Americans who make up your paper’s demographic.

The decision to depict the late Mario Cuomo and two of his sons as mafia characters called upon cheap and harmful stereotypes about Italian Americans – and it is my personal belief that had you tried to stereotype any other ethnic group in word and image on your cover, you would be facing massive protests.  There is no other way to describe your choice here as inflamatory and racist.

I understand there is a public desire to read more about the unfortunate poor judgement by Chris Cuomo in his response to the unwarranted insulting comments of a heckler. But to refer to the Cuomo family as mob characters is extremely offensive to them and the Italian American community.  The connotation is that Italian Americans are fair game for depiction as mafia figures.  Would you have signed off on a headline and image that stereotyped any other race or ethnicity?  It is hard to image – but for some reason, you think Italian Americans are fair game.

Your negative stereotyping of Italian Americans comes at a time when bigotry and harassment of many ethnicities is rampant, and you seem to gleefully fan the flames of this behavior with your editorial choices. It seems that Italian Americans are easy targets for stereotyping, but your actions present an even bigger problem to the immigrant population in general by promoting bigotry.

My young son who attended PS 6 in Manhattan many, many years ago came home one day and wanted to know if I was in the mafia because his friends told him that since his dad was Italian it must be. I do not want my grandson to have the same experience.  What your paper did on August 14th only gives license for those types of comments.

I sincerely hope that, as Chris Cuomo did, you have the good sense to publicly apologize for your poor judgement.

Respectfully,

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