Is Guido as offensive as the N-word?

Italian Americans, I need your guidance on this.  Is the G-word as offensive as the N-word?  I’m just wondering…I have no insight on this particular term, being from the midwest originally.  I’ve heard all the buzz coming from MTV’s Jersey Shore reality show, and it made me wonder about this.

Is it truly a racial slur?  Was it imposed upon Italian immigrants by Americans who were mad about immigration?  I’m wondering if young Italians are using the term as one of endearment as many African-American youth do (Hey, my n—a!).

Wikipedia: Guido is a slang, derogatory term for a working class urban Italian American. The Guido stereotype is multi-faceted. Primarily, it is used as a demeaning term towards Italian Americans, as the word Guido is derived from either the Italian proper name Guido or a conjugation of the Italian verb Guidare.[1] More recently, it has come to also encompass Italians who conduct themselves as thugs with an overtly macho attitude.


Filed under culture, opinion, race, racism, society, television, white folks

13 responses to “Is Guido as offensive as the N-word?

  1. When I first saw that I thought you were referring to the other “G” word, which is generally a lot more offensive (and has its origins in reference to suspected African ancestry among Italians, interestingly). As for “Guido” I (speaking for myself at least) never found it offensive like say the “N” word would be–growing up among a lot of Italians the word would just as easily be used to describe non-Italians who fit the stereotype (overpermed hair, tight gaudy clothes–this was the late ’80s of course) so we never really paused to think about the ethnic meaning. Because of this use, the word never had the sting that the other “G” word (or the “N” word) still has.

    Italians do often call each other “goombah” though, in playful jest!

  2. Brando, Thanks for the info.

  3. Hey Brando, why did you not mention that in the early days of Italian Immigration that the Italians because of their African Ancestry were called the N-word regularly.
    Babe Ruth because of his dark complexion was called the N-Word by his team mates on the Yankees and would not room mate with him.

  4. Actually I do find the term offensive. I’m Black but I grew up in NYC and went to school with a lot of Italians (or “I” talians as my grandfather would say). Using that word, could start a riot or at the very least get you jumped.

  5. killahsoftly

    I was just asking myself the same question! I came across your blog by searching “guido racist.” I posed this query to my search engine after hearing my coworkers throw the word “guido” around, while mocking the jersey shore cast i could hear derision in their voices and thought to myself “This is how white people openly discussed their skewed perspective on black people, in the open, loud and clear.”
    While my coworkers were aping the casts behavior and saying guido guido guido over and over again, i felt like i had transported, in time and place, to Georgia 1923. Scary!!

  6. Joseph

    I, an Italian American, find it very offensive. Most fake IA’s dont truely know the struggle our grandfathers and grandmothers endured. The Jersey folks I know frown on the use of both “G” words and the “W’ word.

  7. mama

    mayby they use it the way blacks use the n word like how we(not me but) say “nigga” instead of er

  8. Zack Smith

    It really isn’t offensive, hell italians themselves call each other guidos, its just a small harmless slang, like when you call a blond girl “blondie”. The word doesn’t even have any degrading history to it like the N-word does. Thats why the N-word is the strongest, and worst of all racial slurs because it has a degrading, non-humanily history to it.

    So, yeah hope that answers your question.

  9. Kiki

    i had heard that guido was a term that was frowned upon, but not something as severe as the n-word. i heard that the word that was the italian equivalent was guinea…

    and ‘mama’, black people do say the n-word without the ‘er’, but they also say it the way its spelled. taking off the ‘er’ does not lessen the hatred attached to the word.

  10. DP

    Clearly, no one here has a clue, with exception to ‘Joseph.’ Just because one is ignorant of the historical usage of a pejorative term, such as the term in question on this board, doesn’t reduce the derogatory nature of the word in anyway whatsoever. The word is offensive.

  11. Guiseppina

    I’m Italian and African-American, so I’ve been called everything from zebra baby, dago-nigga, to muliano. To me it has the same harshness and racial history as the n-word. Growing up in Brooklyn, I have had a lot of friends who if yu called them a guido, you’d get ya ass kicked. The Jersey shore cast has proved to be what a guido represents, ” a dumb, tanning, loser”. They’re parents and grandparents should be ashamed.

  12. Kim

    My parents taught me that “guido” was pretty much the Italian n-word. You don’t say it. It kills me when my friends throw around the word as if it has no significance at all, and even some of my other Italian-American friends use it. Just don’t say it, and for god’s sake never use the other g-word.

  13. susan

    Hell yes it is racist. An offensive racial slur. It is meant to make you (if you are Italian, or Italian-American) feel “less than”.

    I expose my feelings to anyone to refers to this slur. “Are you a racist?” is what I say.

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