The Italian American One Voice Coalition (IAOVC), introduced to the readers of The Italian Tribune in past few editions, is praising New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo for supporting the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) decision to ban a food truck with the outrageously offensive name: “The Wandering Dago,” and supporting the NYRA decision to re-enforce the ban in court.
IAOVC formally lodged complaints against the food truck, which now has also been banned from the New York state plaza in Albany due to its offensive name and menu.
According to IAOVC President and Executive Board Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Alfano, “’The Wandering Dago’ offends Americans of all ethnicities, not only by their outrageous name and truck graphics, but their highly insensitive menu names, such as ‘The Polack,’ ‘The Mick and Cheese’ and ‘The Dago.’”
It is the position of the owners of the business that these are “endearing names” remembered from their childhood! But Alfano questions such statements, since the word “dago” has had a negative connotation since the mass immigration in the late 19th century.
In point of fact, the word “DAGO” has been historically used as a denigrating term against Italian immigrants and Italian Americans dating back to the times that many immigrants were day workers. At the end of the day, a Foreman would often yell “Days Go!” to inform the immigrant workers their long and backbreaking work day was over, but the underlying theme was clear.
Governor Cuomo openly and vocally supported the decision of NYRA Deputy Secretary for Gaming and Racing.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a vocal defender of the Italian American image, as has been his father, Former Governor Mario Cuomo.
Unfortunately, many Americans of Italian American descent have forgotten the struggles of our grandfathers and grandmothers and do not see the significant damage the negative stereotypes enforce. Governor Cuomo remarked, “One would question anyone who did not consider the name to be offensive!” when referring to the food truck.