La Cacciatrice

Chiesa di Helena Bertinelli


10 American actors who are of mixed black and Italian ancestry

Because Helena Bertinelli is American by nationality and Italian by descent.

Smugly posting a picture of Denny Mendez or Mario Balotelli as examples of black Italians completely misses the point and erases her Italian-American identity and isn’t going to help you make your point to people worried about this happening.

Helena is mixed race now but she’s still an Italian-American, not an Italian citizen of African descent. Familiarise yourself with some appropriate examples please.

I really don’t see how people are somehow being ‘smug’ when they point out how Mario and Denny are examples of black Italians.

You’re also, respectfully, missing the point of why people bring them up as examples of these individuals in relation to Helena: we do it to disprove the belief that you somehow can’t be black and Italian at the same time, and to dismantle stereotypes about people’s perceptions about the peninsula, and what the inhabitants look like.

Italy’s demographics are changing, and not everyone on the peninsula is lily white with brown eyes. Italians — like most other nations with a sizable immigrant population — come in all shapes and sizes.

Honestly, there’s no need to say that people are being ‘smug’ when there’s no reason for you to do so, and unintentionally, you end up exhibiting the same type of traits you’re currently decrying here.

No one is erasing the fact that she could quite possibly be half-American. In fact, I myself have stated a few times that she could be biracial, and spoke of how it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for her to be just that.

Moreover, you also seem to forget that prior to the reboot, Helena spent a lot of time in Italy, and lived there from the age of eight, till she graduated from college.

So she’s not just an American of Italian descent. She is actually an Italian citizen herself.

Therefore, the invocation of real life black Italians like Mario or Angelo Ogbonna, Fiona May, or Cécile Kyenge is not entirely inappropriate, given the context of the conversation they’re being invoked in.

(And fyi, as far as I know, none of these singers/actors/actresses have any direct cultural connection to Italy, as you can be of Italian descent but still very much be Americanized. Which brings me to another point …)

The fact that Helena is Italian makes up the crux of who she is, so therefore, it’s not that much of a stretch to invoke real life examples that share a similar cultural background, not only to give people analogies to grasp onto in order to gain a deeper understanding of the subject at hand, but also, to dispel some of the rather thinly veiled criticisms that have been brought up in relation to this change in Helena’s origins.

It’s also worth noting that we don’t know if Helena was raised entirely in America or spent most of her life in the province of Sicily while having an Italian-American father. We don’t know much about her background yet, so we’re just speculating here.

So relax. There’s no need to get so upset over this when people are just speculating, and considering the context of the conversation, in regards to Helena and the wider context or immigration, assimilation and identity as a whole, bringing up these examples isn’t ‘smug’. 

Rather, it seems pretty par for the course given the subject matter we’re discussing here.