Created By: Laevatein on May 7, 2013 Last Edited By: Morgenthaler on August 4, 2016

All Italians Are Mafiosi

Italian? He's part of The Mafia!

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Needs a Better Description

If a character is of Italian descent, he's part of The Mafia.

As you might expect, there are certain Unfortunate Implications in play with this.

Subtrope of National Stereotypes. Compare All Germans Are Nazis.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Film 
  • One scene of Speed Zone has a racist man (it's not clear if he's a car salesman, a driving instructor, or what) tell the young woman driving his pickup to pass Lea and Margaret for being Italian, even suggesting they could be Mafia. Why does he think they're Italian? They're driving a Ferrari. Ironically, the woman driving the pickup is played by Alyssa Milano, who has a very Italian name.

    Jokes 
  • The old "Heaven and Hell are run by" joke, where in heaven the banks are Swiss, in Hell they're Italian.

    Literature 
  • The Black Hand, which features in The Woman in White and other works of Victorian melodrama, was basically the exaggerated forerunner to The Mafia in fiction, and was said to employ most of the Italians in Britain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Just Shoot Me!, Maya is researching an article on gambling and asks Elliot if he knows any bookies. Elliot is insulted by the insinuation that just because he's Italian he must know someone from the mob, but then he finds out that he does have a cousin in the Mafia, and starts bragging about being "connected".
  • Played with on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, where an Italian-American family were on the receiving end of this trope from the son's Asian girlfriend's family, while they themselves had similar prejudices against the girlfriend and her family.
  • Subverted in an episode of the Dutch crime drama "Baantjer" where the Victim of the Week was an Italian man. Vledder immediately assumes that it must be related to the mafia, which De Cock disapproves of and disagrees with. The main duo speaks with other Italians over the course of the episode, and none of them have any connections to the mafia. Nor did the murder, and it's ultimately revealed that the victim was only posing as an Italian man.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: in an episode (Mia Famiglia) where a relative from Italy visits New York, the extended Barone family are speaking Italian around the dinner table. Debra Barone is excluded as she speaks no Italian at all. But she understands the word Mafia when it is spokennote  and jumps to exactly the wrong conclusion.
    Why am I not surprised?
  • In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun Sally starts dating an Italian named Sammy The Butcher Marchetti; she starts acting like a stereotypical mafia moll and Tommy, Dick & Harry start acting like they're in the mob. But then they discover that Sammy is an actual butcher and not involved in the mob at all.
  • In a "Rashomon"-Style episode of All in the Family Archie remembers an Italian refrigerator repairman who came to the house as looking like he came straight out of The Godfather.
  • The tv show Ready or Not has an Italian-Canadian family discussing stereotypes. One says "All Italians are part of the Mafia?" Another responds "Just Southern Italians."
  • One episode of Head of the Class had Aristotle film at an Italian-American wedding. He's later approached by an FBI agent because he might have evidence of Mafia goings-on. Unfortunately, he's accidentally erased the tape leading to concern he's going to be arrested or "whacked". Fortunately, it turns out the family isn't Mafia and is very understanding (if somewhat disappointed). Also, the FBI agent trying to obtain a copy of the video was trying to set up a fellow agent while believing this trope.
  • Caroline from Caroline in the City offends her best friend Annie Spadaro briefly while following this trope. Annie tells of a guy who rubbed her mother the wrong way. Caroline asks if her mother set up a hit on the guy and Annie insists that she didn't, complaining about the stereotype. She explains that her mother put a hex on the guy instead.
  • A British sketch comedy show (KYTV) ran a parody of the cross-European general knowledge quiz Going for Gold, where the premis was that English-speaking Europeans competed against each other, nominally for national pride, but mainly for points and prizes. The chauvinistic British compere (Angus Deayton) subjects contestants of various nationalities to patronising abuse and jokes based on ethnic stereotyping. Until he asks the Italian contestant questions about the Mafia. She obligingly reveals she knows a lot about the Mafia, largely gleaned from her uncle, who loves her very much and is sitting in the audience remembering what your face looks like. Unsurprisingly, she ends up winning the show.
  • Non-mobbed up Italian American characters in The Sopranos discuss how people like Tony Soprano and his ilk are perpetuating this stereotype and making law-abiding Italians look bad.


Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • May 8, 2013
    AmyGdala
    So put examples on The Mafia.
  • May 8, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Now, what might be a separate trope would be that a great deal of Italian-Americans claim to totally have connections to the mob, to much eye-rolling from the rest of the cast.
  • May 8, 2013
    TonyG
    Maybe this is what you had in mind:
    • In Just Shoot Me, Maya is researching an article on gambling and asks Elliot if he knows any bookies. Elliot is insulted by the insinuation that just because he's Italian he must know someone from the mob, but then he finds out that he does have a cousin in the Mafia, and starts bragging about being "connected".
  • May 8, 2013
    AgProv
    Real Life Ironically, Mafia godfather Joe Columbo forged a second career organising the Italian-American Anti-Defamation and Equal Rights campaign, to highlight and argue against this very point - while all the time creaming off charitable donations as part of his ongoing Mafia activities. Incredibly, many American politicians and TV opinion-formers supported Columbo to the hilt, while not stopping to reflect on the coincidence that the Italian-American anti-defamation league was headed by a man known to be a high-level mafioso godfather.... Columbo was eventually assassinated in 1971 on the orders of other Mafia bosses who were concerned about his high profile activities and lack of omerta.
  • May 8, 2013
    Alvin
    Maybe this belongs here: in The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins, the action is kicked off by the hero saving the funny old Italian professor. Later in the novel, the hero takes the professor to the opera, horrifying the villain Count Fosco. The hero figures out it's the professor, not himself, that scares Fosco, so asks the professor if he's in the Mafia or Camorra or whatever. He is.
  • May 9, 2013
    Chabal2
    • According to the page, Al Capone was not part of it, as he was Napolitan (and not Sicilian).
    • The old "Heaven and Hell are run by" joke, where in heaven the banks are Swiss, in Hell they're Italian.

  • May 9, 2013
    AmyGdala
  • May 9, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    The Black Hand, which features in The Woman In White and other works of Victorian melodrama, was basically the exaggerated forerunner to The Mafia in fiction, and was said to employ most of the Italians in Britain. As you might expect, there are certain Unfortunate Implications in play with this.
  • May 9, 2013
    Bisected8
    • Played with on an episode of Law And Order Criminal Intent, where an Italian-American family were on the receiving end of this trope from the son's Asian girlfriend's family, while they themselves had similar prejudices against the girlfriend and her family.
  • May 9, 2013
    merovingienne
    Subverted on Desperate Housewives with the Drea De Metteo character (the other characters thought that she was mobbed up, but (I don't know how to invoke spoiler font to explain the rest...)
  • May 10, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ merovingienne: Text Formatting Rules explains how to use text formatting, such as spoilers.

    Like so:

    [[spoiler:This text will be spoilered]] --> This text will be spoilered
  • September 26, 2013
    Uriel1988
    Subverted in an episode of the Dutch crime drama "Baantjer" where the Victim Of The Week was an Italian man. Vledder immediately assumes that it must be related to the mafia, which De Cock disapproves of and disagrees with. The main duo speaks with other Italians over the course of the episode, and none of them have any connections to the mafia. Nor did the murder, and it's ultimately revealed that the victim was only posing as an Italian man.
  • September 27, 2013
    DAN004
  • March 29, 2015
    AgProv
    Everybody Loves Raymond;
    • in an episode (Mia Famiglia) where a relative from Italy visits New York, the extended Barone family are speaking Italian around the dinner table. Debra Barone is excluded as she speaks no Italian at all. But she understands the word Mafia when it is spokennote  and jumps to exactly the wrong conclusion.
      Why am I not surprised?
  • March 30, 2015
    randomsurfer
    • In an episode of Third Rock From The Sun Sally starts dating an Italian named Sammy The Butcher Marchetti; she starts acting like a stereotypical mafia moll and Tommy, Dick & Harry start acting like they're in the mob. But then they discover that Sammy is an actual butcher and not involved in the mob at all.
    • In a Rashomon Style episode of All In The Family Archie remembers an Italian refrigerator repairman who came to the house as looking like he came straight out of The Godfather.
  • March 30, 2015
    Waterlily
    The tv show Ready or Not has an Italian-Canadian family discussing stereotypes. One says "All Italians are part of the Mafia?" Another responds "Just Southern Italians."

  • March 30, 2015
    BKelly95
    Film
    • One scene of Speed Zone has a racist man (it's not clear if he's a car salesman, a driving instructor, or what) tell the young woman driving his pickup to pass Lea and Margaret for being Italian, even suggesting they could be Mafia. Why does he think they're Italian? They're driving a Ferrari. Ironically, the woman driving the pickup is played by Alyssa Milano, who has a very Italian name.

    Live Action Television
    • One episode of Head Of The Class had Aristotle film at an Italian-American wedding. He's later approached by an FBI agent because he might have evidence of Mafia goings-on. Unfortunately, he's accidentally erased the tape leading to concern he's going to be arrested or "whacked". Fortunately, it turns out the family isn't Mafia and is very understanding (if somewhat disappointed). Also, the FBI agent trying to obtain a copy of the video was trying to set up a fellow agent while believing this trope.
    • Caroline from Caroline In The City offends her best friend Annie Spadaro briefly while following this trope. Annie tells of a guy who rubbed her mother the wrong way. Caroline asks if her mother set up a hit on the guy and Annie insists that she didn't, complaining about the stereotype. She explains that her mother put a hex on the guy instead.
  • July 28, 2015
    AgProv
    Live Action Television
    • A British sketch comedy show (KYTV) ran a parody of the cross-European general knowledge quiz Going for Gold, where the premis was that English-speaking Europeans competed against each other, nominally for national pride, but mainly for points and prizes. The chauvinistic British compere (Angus Deayton) subjects contestants of various nationalities to patronising abuse and jokes based on ethnic stereotyping. Until he asks the Italian contestant questions about the Mafia. She obligingly reveals she knows a lot about the Mafia, largely gleaned from her uncle, who loves her very much and is sitting in the audience remembering what your face looks like. Unsurprisingly, she ends up winning the show.
  • July 29, 2015
    Snicka
    Major source of Unfortunate Implications.
  • May 22, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    Since it seems the OP has forgotten about this one, I'll take up sponsorship.

    Updated to here. The description will need some work/expansion.
  • May 22, 2016
    LordGro
    As I usually say: If All X Are Y, every instance of an X not being Y becomes an "aversion". Needs A Better Name.
  • August 4, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    ^ Does All Germans Are Nazis have a similar problem? Looking through that page I don't see much misuse along those lines (beyond a few subversions being mislabelled as aversions).
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