On July 29, a white Italian man killed handicapped Nigerian street seller Alika Ogorchukwu in Civitanova Marche, Italy, put racism in spotlight as onlookers watched and only took pictures of the crime.
According to Italian authorities, Ogorchukwu repeatedly tried to sell goods to Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo and his girlfriend before the furious attack took place.
The recent murder of Ogorchukwu shows that the same dehumanization and criminalization of Black people that resulted in Emmett Till’s horrific death in the US more than fifty years ago, as well as the murder of countless other African Americans in contemporary America, is also taking lives thousands of miles away in Italy.
Ogorchukwu is, regrettably, only one of numerous African men and women who have been shot, injured, or murdered in racially motivated attacks in Italy. He is also undoubtedly not the last.
However, the violence is not only physical; it is frequently verbal as well and is deftly ingrained in nationalist ideologies and anti-immigration laws.
For example, a right-wing senator compared Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first Black minister, to an ape, while professional player Mario Balotelli has frequently been the object of monkey chants at football stadiums.
America’s bigotry is so readily criticized and denounced in Europe. But when it comes to combating white supremacist ideology, attitudes, and conspiracies, it is difficult to conclude that it is doing much better than its younger twin over the Atlantic.
Ogorchukwu and several other refugees did not need to perish violently in Italy. None of the races—Black, White, or Brown—must. However, Black, Brown, and immigrant bodies will be in just as much risk in Europe until it confronts and addresses its racism issue.