|HUC101 Oral Communication
Student: Oscar Carvalho-Neto
Professor: Dr. Pei-Wen Lee
Title: Comparative Study of Italian Immigration to Brazil and the United States.
General Purpose: To inform.
Specific Purpose: To inform audience about Italian immigration to Brazil and the United States. Compare and analyse the similarities and differences in the development of the Italian experience in the two countries.
The United States and Brazil are countries that received large numbers of Italian immigrants. There are about 23 million people of Italian origin in Brazil (making Brazil the country with the largest Italian population in the world outside of Italy) and about 15 million Italian-Americans. Italian immigration to the two countries became more common after 1870; at that time, many Italians wanted to escape poverty, poor living conditions (in the 18th century, Italy was one of the most overcrowded nations in Europe) and high taxes. Brazil and the United States were "young countries" with opportunities for employment and growth, which was why the great majority of them settled in these countries, along with Argentina.
Many of the immigrants that left Italy were poorly educated men from rural areas, especially from the Southern part of Italy (Sicily) as well as the Veneto region. Their main goal was to stay in their new countries only temporarily in order to make money and then return to Italy. Even though many stayed, a large portion of them eventually went back. Fifty percent of the immigrants in Brazil and forty-one percent of the ones in the United States returned.
Both the American and Brazilian governments were encouraging Italians to come, but for different reasons. In the 19th century the United States was already an industrialized nation, which means that many of the Italians that came to America ended up working in factories and as unskilled labor, joining millions of other immigrants from countries like Ireland and Germany. Most settled in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston. In Brazil, on the other hand, Italians were encouraged to settle in rural areas and many were hired to work in coffee plantations, replacing African slaves after the abolishment of slavery in Brazil in 1888. Only later did Italians started immigrating to urban centers in order to work in Brazilian factories. The Brazilian government also had plans to make Brazil a "whiter country", thus encouraging the immigration of not only Italians, but of Germans and Eastern Europeans as well.
Today, people of Italian descent in both countries take pride in their roots. New York (USA) and Sao Paulo (Brazil) celebrate the "San Gennaro Festival" every year, where thousands of people gather to cherish the Italian culture, its tradition and cuisine. These two cosmopolitan cities are said to have the best and most authentic Italian restaurants in the world outside of Italy. Both in Brazil and the United States, many high profile people such as actors, singers and politicians are of Italian origin. To name a few, Liza Minelli (singer), Robert de Niro and Danny De Vito (actors) and Rudolph Giuliani (politician) in the USA. Antonio Palocci (Brazil's Prime-Minister), Candido Portinari (painter), and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri (actor) in Brazil.
In conclusion, Italians left their country in search of opportunities and a better life. Like other immigrant groups, they faced many difficulties such as language barriers (having to learn English in the United States and Portuguese in Brazil) and the harshness of assimilating in a new country and culture. However, they were one of the many ethnic and immigrant groups that helped shape Brazilian and American culture, making them two of the greatest countries in the world.
Cenni, Franco. Italianos no Brasil: Andiamo in America. (Italians in Brazil: Let's Walk in America). Sao Paulo: Martins, Ed. da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1975.
Moreno, Barry. Italian Americans: Coming to America. New York City: Barron's Educational Series, 2003.
Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. 18 October 2005
Italia America. Italian American Cultural Organization. 18 October 2005
Martinelli Massaro, Carolina."Comeca a imigracao de mao-de-obra italiana." O Estado de Sao Paulo. 2003, Sao Paulo, SP. 19 October 2005.