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How a hand gesture by NFL's DeVito sparked conversation on American Italian experience

Tommy DeVito of the New York Giants looks to throw a pass during the second half in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 07, 2024 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
Tommy DeVito of the New York Giants looks to throw a pass during the second half in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 07, 2024 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

It was a hand motion that some people called “the hand gesture heard ’round the world“: New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito, after throwing one of his first touchdowns, pinched his finger and thumb together and thrust his hand upward.

The Italian gesture went viral. Fans imitated it. Social media created memes. It was printed on T-shirts. It was a moment of Italian pride, but for some, it also brought back memories of stereotypes, past discrimination and even lynchings.

To discuss some of that chapter in American history, Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks to Mark Rotella, director of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

 

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.