Cécile Kyenge: Italy’s First Black Minister Compared to an Orangutan

Italy’s first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, has said the country is not particularly racist despite receiving a barrage of racist and sexist insults since becoming one of seven women in the new government.

Despite her denial of the obvious, the racial insults continue to pile on.  Now an Italian senator, Roberto Calderoli, has compared minister Kyenge to an orangutan.

According to the BBC:

“Roberto Calderoli, from the anti-immigration Northern League, told a rally that the success of Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge encouraged ‘illegal immigrants’ to come to Italy.

“Ms. Kyenge is an Italian citizen born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the latest in a series of rows over racism in Italy.

‘”I love animals – bears and wolves, as everyone knows – but when I see the pictures of Kyenge I cannot but think of, even if I’m not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan,’ Calderoli said in a speech to a rally in the northern city of Treviso on Saturday.

“He also said Ms. Kyenge should be a minister ‘in her own country.’

“Calderoli who is also a senate vice-president of the Northern League political party is not the only member of his party to make very personal and vitriolic statements about Kyenge.

According to the Guardian:

“Mario Borghezio, a member of the European parliament for the league, said in April that Kyenge wanted to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” and branded Letta’s coalition a “bongo bongo” government. “She seems like a great housekeeper but not a government minister.”

In June a local councillor for the League was ejected from the party after she posted a message on Facebook suggesting Kyenge should be raped. Referring to an alleged attempted rape in Genoa, Dolores Valandro wrote: “Why does no one rape her, so she can understand what the victim of this atrocious crime felt?”

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