Victor Lowe is a Wonderful WikiTreer

+6 votes
Thank you, Victor, for your post on Edward Burton Ceruti's (Ceruti-2) profile regarding prejudice against Italians. Among the many interesting points that you brought up was the erroneous belief that "Italians are not white people." Actually, in northern Italy, where the preponderance of the Ceruti family is found, especially  the Alpine provinces, you will find blond hair and blue eyes, and more commonly, light skin. Another twist on this is that Edward was a Freemason, which Roman Catholics don't join at the behest of the Pope. Y-DNA and auDNA genetics indicate no Italian ancestry whatsoever, but a high likelihood of English lineage. Of course, we find such prejudice nowadays to be absurd, but we need to understand the motives of our ancestors in the context of the times in which they lived.

Thanks again for your interesting post on Ceruti-2.
WikiTree profile: Victor Lowe
in Appreciation by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Mach 3 (32.4k points)

5 Answers

+5 votes

Victor, thank you for your post on Edward's profile. I would like to add my appreciation to you for posting points that discards years of misinformation. 

Thank you Marion for honoring Victor in this way.

Image result for thank you images

by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+4 votes
Dr. Ceruti,

Thanks for your reply. I agree that these old prejudices seem absurd in modern times, especially to you and me in the West, but they were no less real. It might not have been modern times in the Bahamas and Southern U.S. a hundred years ago. Miscegenation, loosely defined, was illegal and indeed is still on the books in many southern states, although not enforceable. An Italian surname in itself was enough to stir prejudices, although as you say Northern Italians and Sardinians were genetically different than Southern Italians and Sicilians. Descendants of Christopher Columbus and his crew in the Bahamas would show up as partly Italian on DNA tests, because they were Genoese, not Spanish. Incidentally, my Scottish ancestors used to call the English "white people". My Scots great-grandfather would call the local Southern  folks "white people" embarrassing  my grandmother who would say "Wheesht, Papa, we are the white people here."

I did not mean to imply that your grandfather was non-white. Your family tree is obviously whiter than mine, although that's not really important, is It? I'm pleased to hear that your grandfather was a brother Mason of both my grandfathers. This obligates me to treat you with extra respect, over and above my usual deference for people who have earned PhD.'s and had distinguished careers. In my ancestry research, I try to get into the mind and opinions of my ancestors, especially my grandfather Victor Lowe, an elected official in Key West. I do not let political correctness stop me from understanding how my pirate and slaveholder ancestors must have felt. I like to channel my Inner Pirate.

I was born in the 50's like you, but I had to go to segregated schools. I was told never to reveal any details of my exotic Florida ancestry. On the grammar school playground, we threw rocks at the Catholic Church next door breaking windows. Barbers would see my unusually curly blond hair and joke about possible African ancestry.

As a gay man, I"ve had to be particularly attuned to social class differences, which if anything have gotten more pronounced since I was little. I was raised to believe that wherever we sit is the head of the table. I may not have lots of money and a fancy house, but I have a masters degree in C.S., so I believe that I"m a member of the middle class.
by Victor Lowe G2G4 (4.2k points)
edited by Victor Lowe
Hello Vic, Thank you for your reply. I am not offended by any factual or historical statement, regardless of what it is. One of the many things I like about WikiTree is that it is a place where we can come together and have a factual discussion about things like race, prejudice in its historical context, pirates, etc. without calling each other names and without fear that someone will be offended. No one means to offend anyone here because we all believe in respect, especially when we see how so many of us are related. I appreciate the mutual respect we show each other here as part of our honor code. I know that you did not mean to imply that my grandfather was non-white. I would say he was mostly white, but then, I have not identified all my ancestors to be able to explain the percentage of my African ancestry.

Hatred and prejudice, both past and present have been shown to be useless and counterproductive. My view is that we are all brothers and sisters under our father, God.
Dr. Ceruti,

Truer words were never spoken. I'm not particularly religious,  but I have a lingering fear that if I fail to treat anybody with respect, the Almighty will know and I will pay for that in the Afterlife. My flippant manner may be understood by close friends and relatives, but not appreciated by people who do not know me well. I hope they understand that this is just my social awkwardness. I have usually exaggerated my traces of non-British ancestry to relate better to friends in those groups, but I appear as, and act like a white guy. I must confess that I do not understand racial and identity politics. I have no idea who will read my online posts. Sometimes my own distant relatives are more snobbish to me than the general public is, so I particularly appreciate your friendly feedback. I like to "collect" people with PhD.'s and published authors, among my cousins and possible cousins. It gives me vicarious satisfaction, and I learn a lot, besides.
+4 votes

Thank You Victor Lowe for adding "Modern" Wonderful !!!!

by Gerald Baraboo G2G6 Pilot (715k points)
+5 votes

Hello Victor. Another fellow Mason here. I was also born in the 50's. In my town there was a prejudice against Italian Catholics. They were given such a hard time while they were growing up.

I wasn't involved in the name-calling, but I certainly didn't try to stop it. Shame on me now. As my older religious eyes look back, I see what was wrong, and wish I would have done something.

Thanks, Victor, for the interesting points you brought up.

by Mike Hess G2G3 (3.9k points)
+2 votes
I thought that I was AGREEING with Dr. Ceruti when I added my comment on Ceruti-2 about prejudice against Italians in our family. You seldom see that in print. So I was surprised when it got reframed somehow as MY original idea. Please read the Forward in my WikiTree public profile for a further explanation. I must emphasize that my Wonderful WikiTree-er badge was totally undeserved IMHO, offered by a good friend. But I never quarrel with compliments about me.
by Victor Lowe G2G4 (4.2k points)
Hello Vic and Mike, Thank you for sharing your thoughts about prejudice against Italians, who many assume are all Catholic. The topic arose because of my inquiry to discover why my great grandmother considered my grandfather persona non grata. I understand that some people were prejudiced against Italians in the Bahamas, but this does not fully explain what was going on in my family. My father, grandfather and at least one of his uncles were all Masons and Episcopalians. Given that this is the case, it's hard to see why anyone would have been prejudiced against Protestant Italians. Anyway, I think my "Italian" great grandfather was really English, which is why his sons fit in so well with the Episcopal church in the Bahamas. Y-DNA and auDNA results support this.

When we look back at things we did when we were younger, many of us wish we could have done better. There is no need to feel guilty. Just resolve to do better in the future.

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