American Italian or Italian American?

I was walking to a conference last week in New Orleans when I happened upon the Italian American Cultural Centre.  It made me smile for a lot of reasons.


I’m a self-described second-generation Italian Canadian – my father is an immigrant from Italy, and my mother is Canadian.

My pa definitely considers himself a Canadian Italian – which is very different than an Italian Canadian.  His primary identity is as an Italian, who happens to have chosen to live in Canada.

It really made me smile that an entire cultural centre identified themselves this way too – as American Italians, or Italians living in America.

Language is so important – in how we identify ourselves, and frame situations.  It can tell us a lot about how we see ourselves, as well as give us clues as how others see themselves.