Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 188–199 | Cite as

Black dagoes? Italian immigrants’ racial status in the United States: an ecological view

  • Stefano LuconiEmail author


This article examines the racial perception of the Italian immigrants who arrived in the United States in the decades of mass influxes from Europe, focusing on regional differences and the transformations of the newcomers’ identity over the years. Italians usually held a middle ground between whites and blacks in the East until the Second World War witnessed the full recognition of their Caucasian status. Conversely, even at the very beginning of their stay, the immigrants’ whiteness was hardly challenged in the West. Such dynamics demonstrate that place should be added to time as a key variable to understand Italian Americans’ racialisation.


Italian Americans dago immigration ethnic identity whiteness 


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© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche, Geografiche e dell’AntichitàUniversity of PaduaItaly

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