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First black Italian minister racially attacked

Press TV

Italy’s first black minister has been the subject of racist taunts after being sworn in under the coalition government of newly elected Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Press TV reports.

After being sworn in as Italy’s minister of integration last week, Cecile Kyenge, one of seven women in the new government, has been racially attacked by politicians and far-right websites.

Kyenge, an eye doctor born in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has proposed a change in the country’s current citizenship law which dictates that children born on Italian soil to non-Italian parents become eligible to obtain citizenship on their 18th birthday.

Mario Borghezio, a member of the Northern League Party, which is known for its anti-immigration rhetoric in much of Europe, also recently attacked the minister by saying she would seek to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” in Italy.

The integration minister has dismissed the remarks by saying that she did not think Italy was particularly a racist country, but that hostile attitudes were a direct result of ignorance.

“I’ve seen that there have been some difficulties in describing me, so [I tell you that] I am Italo-Congolese and black,” Kyenge said, emphasizing that she was not “colored” but “black.”

“We need to break down these walls. If you don’t know someone, skepticism increases, discrimination increases. Immigration is a richness. Differences are a resource,” Kyenge said.

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