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Bill de Blasio and the Combinatio Nova

Anthony J. Tamburri (September 23, 2014)
With his family of Chirlane, Dante, and Chiara, de Blasio has taken the combinatio nova =one step further in the melding of olive with black, offering up to society what portends at this juncture to be one of the newer forms of the American family of the future, one that is truly a rainbow reflection of U.S. society.


As some might look to Mayor de Blasio for his progressive politics, we can all surely look to him and his family as that model of a future engagement with regard to socio-ethnic politics and, more important, with regard to what we might consider a truly transgressive ethnic combinatio nova — namely, a new family paradigm that transcends not only national origin but indeed, in this case, race. Bill de Blasio himself is a child of mixed raciality, if indeed we consider Italians as part of a non-white category that is olive based, as the poet Rose Romano and others have steadfastly contended.


With his family of Chirlane, Dante, and Chiara, de Blasio has taken the combinatio nova one step further in the melding of olive with black, offering up to society what portends at this juncture to be one of the newer forms of the American family of the future, one that is truly a rainbow reflection of U.S. society. But I would like to think that the de Blasios who inhabit Gracie Mansion constitute a model in other ways and for other people. In other ways, in so far as they demonstrate that the so-called power positions of a place like New York City can indeed be held not only by the white or the black, but indeed even by those of the combinatio nova.


For other people, precisely because of de Blasio’s Italian heritage: during his current trip to Italy, the de Blasios met with former Minister of Integration, Cécile Kyenge, and her family, she the first African-Italian to hold a cabinet position, who is married to a “native” Italian.


Thus, together with Minister Kyenge and her family, Mayor de Blasio and his family can also be a model for those in Italy who continue to look to the U.S.; for in spite of what some Italians and Italian Americans may think, Italy is no longer the monochromatic country they believe it to be. With its new immigration of the past three decades for sure, Italy is, at this juncture, more than ripe for its own wave of a combinatio nova.

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