North Central College in Naperville, Illinois plans to have filmmaker Spike Lee speak at the college’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day. A local Italian-American group is offended.

According to a piece by Mick Swasko in the Chicago Tribune:

Bill Dal Cerro, president of the Italic Institute of America, said the filmmaker’s portrayal of Italian-Americans is distorted and conflicts with the civil rights leader’s message of unity.

“He wants to be provocative, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Dal Cerro said. “Where we take issue is that he is provocative at our expense, to the point where he distorts our culture and goes out of his way almost to make us the bad guys.” Dal Cerro, a Chicago resident, assailed movies such as “Do the Right Thing,” “Jungle Fever,” “Summer of Sam” and “Miracle at St. Anna” as unfairly stereotyping Italians.

Um, did Dal Cerro see any of these movies? The only thing these films seem to have in common is that they have Italian-Americans in them. Also, has Dal Cerro seen any of Lee’s other movies?

Lee has also said controversial things about American Jews, Reggie Miller, the NRA, the U.S. Government and Larry Bird. He’s not singling you out, Dal Cerro. [Image via]

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer