Rome

Mep complains that 'jokes' about race no longer allowed

Northern League dismisses Kyenge for not resembling supermodel

Mep complains that 'jokes' about race no longer allowed

Rome, July 16 - Italians are victims of political correctness that won't allow them to "joke" about race, complained a Northern League politician Tuesday. In defending a colleague under fire for comparing Italy’s first black cabinet minister Cecile Kyenge to an orangutan, Francesco Speroni also managed to insult the minister a second time during a radio interview. Speroni, an Italian member of the European Parliament, told a radio station that the minister for integration did not resemble African American supermodel Naomi Campbell. "Kyenge? Seems a bit different from Naomi Campbell...shorter," said Speroni. And he complained that white men are often teased, yet no one can take a "joke" any more about other races. "Take note that in Italy, you can not joke about blacks," he said. Speroni spoke in defence of Northern League Senator Roberto Calderoli, who was facing calls Tuesday for his resignation after he likened Kyenge to an orangutan. Several Northern League members have made offensive comments about Kyenge since she was sworn in as part of Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government in April. Kyenge, a 48-year-old doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to Italy three decades ago to study medicine. Her appointment prompted a series of ethnic slurs from Mario Borghezio, a member of the Northern League in the European Parliament, who claimed Kyenge would "impose her tribal traditions from the Congo" on Italy. He later apologized, but the EFD Eurosceptics group in the European Parliament kicked him out for his comments nevertheless.

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