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Traditionally Italians are considered as people of white race. Italian Americans were never treated as severely as African Americans were. However, the history of Italia proves that the «whiteness» of Italians is a questionable issue. Historically many Italians have African roots from the ancient times when Hannibal conquered the Roma. Most Italians arrived to America from southern regions of Italia. The inhabitants of these places had mixed Romanian, Arabian, African, Greek and Spanish roots. Their racial purism was questionable from the very beginning. Italian emigrants in America chose the «white» race because it was the way to avoid racism and humiliation.
Later on Italian Americans lived amid people of color. Their cultural and economical level was the same as the level of African Americans, Puerto Ricans and other people of color. Italians were involved in the agriculture and domestic services – traditionally «colored» branches of economy. However, high crime rate, unemployment, drug use and other social disasters were usually considered as the problems of people of color rather than poor people.
The positioning of Italians in racial hierarchy of the USA was rather complex. Analyzing the involvement of Italian Americans in criminality, some researchers notice that these people did not act like «whites». This statement is also questionable: nobody can describe the behavior of «true» white. Nevertheless, in 20s years of 20th century the actions of Italian Americans were similar to stereotypic behavior of people of color. Generally, the identification and mobilization of Italians as «whites» began in1940s only.
Thus, the racial status of Italian Americans is under debate. The author does not provide the decision to this question. He claims that objective of his research is the fight against racism and intolerance.

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