All I ever learned about Italians in school were the two Cs: Columbus and Capone. I was never taught that Columbus had been a symbol of my Italian American identity. I was never taught that my family’s immigration history mattered enough to be studied.
Columbus was never part of Italian history. The problem is that most don't know how or why he became a part of what some see as Italian American history.
Let these events be the Italian American wake up call. If our culture really matters to us, then we need to invest our time and resources into that which transcends the symbolic and reaches the minds of those who are unaware of what it is we have done as we have become U.S. Americans.
Don’t worry about Columbus, he, for better or for worse, has earned his place in history and will remain a figure full of interpretive possibilities. Today, Italian Americans need no longer depend on an identity that comes from marching in parades that celebrate the historical acts of one man.