Journal of Undergraduate Research


Italian politicians, racialized language, social media, immigrants




French and Italian


Between 2002 and 2011, over 3.5 million non-citizens immigrated to Italy (International and internal migration, 2013). While there has been a decreasing trend in the number of incoming immigrants since the peak in 2007 (over 500,000), there were still over 119,000 migrants who came to Italy in 2017 (International and internal migration, 2013; International and internal migration, 2017; Operational Portal Refugee Situations, 2017). So far in 2018, over 18,000 immigrants have landed in Italy (Operational Portal Refugee Situations, 2018). Due to Italy’s geographic location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it is the first location to feel the waves of migration and has become the unofficial gateway for refugees and economic immigrants fleeing to Europe. As expected, these continuous waves of incoming immigrants have sparked conflicts and resentment, and those attitudes are reflected in Italians’ conversations (Pagliai, 2009) with one another on social media. While immigrants and refugees do not necessarily leave their homelands in synonymous situations, those who display a visible racial difference from the native Italian population, they are frequently treated similarly in cultural practice and the situation of refugee is conflated with that of the migrant into a generic “other.”