Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Assembly Minority Criticizes "Anti-Italian" Remark

Assembly Minority members today took to task a Long Island University professor for remarks they say represent anti-Italian-American bias.

Stanley Klein, a political science professor at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University was quoted in Newsday yesterday saying that Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's (R-Brunswick) nice words for gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi were Bruno's way of "trying to help out a fellow Italian" at the expense of frontrunner Eliot Spitzer.

Assembly Minority members scoffed at the allegation that there was some kind of Italian "conspiracy" and said it was unfortunate that the stereotyping of certain groups such as Italian-Americans is still a widely accepted practice in certain academic and media circles.

"This professor should know better. To imply there is some political conspiracy based on a shared nationality is wrong and quite frankly such a practice was widely repudiated in this country throughout much of the last century," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga.) "The infusion of one's nationality into politics as a wedge issue is as unwelcome as using race, religion and ethnicity as wedge issues.

"Also unfortunate is the double standard that still exists for certain 'unprotected' groups. Imagine if the group had been someone else. Imagine the outcry over a similar insinuation."

"Mr. Klein should think before he speaks," said Assemblyman Tom Alfano (R,C,I,WF - Nassau County) adding, "I'm shocked that an academic would make such an insensitive and intemperate remark. He should apologize now."

Assembly Minority members said they would like both Gubernatorial Candidate Eliot Spitzer and C.W. Post President Dr. David Steinberg to condemn the remark and for Professor Klein to publicly apologize.

"One would think that a professor steeped in academia would be more sensitive to biased comments espoused," said Assemblyman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore.) "Italian-American roots run deep in our country's history and to perceive that the Senator would judge a gubernatorial candidate based solely on a shared Italian heritage is at best insensitive and at worst bigoted."

"I can't believe that this man can think this way and has been hired to teach our college students," said Assemblyman Robert Barra (R,C-Nassau County.) "He is ignorance personified."

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