Before I post Part 5, I’d like to introduce you to a “controversial figure”.
His name is Toni Iwobi and he inspired me to write “Civil Duties” which I’ll submit in a few days.
Iwobi was born in Nigeria, one of 11 siblings. He went to study in the US where he graduated in Computer Science. In 1976, he moved to Italy, where he got an accounting degree and decided to stay.
Despite being highly qualified, his first jobs were modest: stableman, bricklayer, garbage collector, just to name a few. In 1980, he founded an IT company: it was a solo project until the early 2000s, when his business grew enough he could afford to hire personnel.
In 1993, he joined the League, a right-wing party. Back then, it was known as the Northern League. It was the only party that embraced federalism at the time.
He was elected to a municipal council in 2010 and was asked to lead the party’s immigration and safety department in 2014. (The party strongly opposes unrestrained immigration.)
In 2018, he was elected to the Senate, where he became the first Senator of color in Italian history.
Some say the League is a far-right party but I disagree because the Italian political arena has true fascist parties, although very small, that are way more extreme. However, some politicians are known for racist remarks and the leader Salvini doesn’t help by spreading propaganda.
Borghezio was condemned to pay a € 50k fine to the former Minister Kyenge (Democratic Party), due to slander with the aggravating circumstance of racism.
Calderoli, who said she (Kyenge) looked like an orangutan, was instead sentenced to 18 months in prison but I doubt he served any as a first-time offender.
Because of these individuals, Iwobi is often labeled as “traitor of the black people” and worse epithets such as the O word. It stands for Oreo, by the way. Yum!
Mario Balotelli, a soccer star who experienced racist abuse, criticized him by saying “Maybe I’m blind or maybe they haven’t told him that he’s black yet.”
Iwobi mockingly replied Balotelli should stick to what he’s great at, soccer, and avoid talking of politics. He must be annoyed by all those who ask him how it feels to be a person of color in that party. After all, the League is thought to be exploiting him to cleanse their reputation, and that’s what Balotelli probably meant by that. I agree it’s a gimmick but can’t really blame them. Iwobi says he doesn’t think of himself as black but as a global citizen, a human being with the right to think on his own, without being judged for having certain views and a certain skin color altogether.
Iwobi said he isn’t too concerned about the “Kyenge cases” because they were allegedly part of a political confrontation and should not be taken seriously. What did he mean?
I think he meant the racist remarks were not caused by innate racism but a consequence of arguments, opposed views and general disdain towards the Minister’s work.
I believe he’s right about the intentions but I disagree the matter is to be taken lightly because the intention doesn’t justify the action: those words were very offensive and unrespectful.
Many long-term immigrants are hostile towards this new immigration trend that’s out of control as it ruins their image. Same for the African-Italians who are targeted by the new wave of racism or confused with refugees or illegal immigrants. Some of these people support the right-wing, others support the left-wing, and I believe they should be allowed to support whatever pleases them, without further judgement, because calling them traitors would in fact be racist.
What’s your opinion about Toni Iwobi?
Do you think the minorities that support right-wing parties are traitors of their people?