by Morley Evans
I agree: "The process of labeling minority groups interferes with the responsibility we have of relating to all fellow human beings." We have to be careful when walking through mine fields and picking up booby traps too. We have to be accurate in what we say.
The Italian-American Civil Right League was created by Joseph Colombo with the intention of fighting defamation and persecution of Italians. Colombo was the head of the Colombo Crime Family, one of the Five Families in New York City. If one reads why the League picketed the Manhattan Office of the FBI, their organization seems less hilarious than it does at first glance. If we look deeper we see more:
Since the exposure of the Cosa Nostra, in the 1950s, Italians have been portrayed as the leading American gangsters. Everyone has heard of Al Capone in Chicago and Lucky Luciano in New York City. Italians were featured in the TV series The Untouchables (by Desilu) and the blockbuster movie The Godfather (by Mario Puzo). Italians have been the subject of innumerable books TV shows and movies. Luciano is credited with having organized organized crime. Capone started his career in NYC and was an associate of Luciano.
Luciano had two boyhood friends who became his partners in big time crime: Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel "the man who invented Las Vegas" and Meyer Suchowijansky better known as Meyer "the accountant" Lansky. The three young up-and-coming hoods were tutored by Arnold "the brain" Rothstein who invented the way to earn billions during Prohibition, back when a billion dollars was a lot of money. Rothstein counseled co-operation and organization.
Of the members of ethnic groups prominent in big time crime, Italians are singled out. Some other well-known names from the past are "Dutch" Schultz, The Purple Gang (Detroit), Murder Incorporated, Louis "Lepke" Butchalter and so on. The list of big time criminals is long and fascinating. Below is some of it. Some are Italians, some are not. Interestingly, the FBI, under J. Edgar Hoover, focussed on bank robbers while it denied the existence of organized crime. After bank robbers, the FBI focussed on Communists. The people in the list below are all historical figures today. Who are today's gangsters and what are they doing?
The true home of Big Time Crime is and has always been politics. But that is an entire universe we don't have time to look into today. If you have time click these links. Have fun!