Astoria Greeks Outraged at Reality TV Show “Growing Up Greek”
By Ilija Sekulovski
Many Greek residents are deeply against the show – the find it offensive, and think it will aid in racial discrimination. They believe the show to be an attack on their heritage and culture.
This Notice of Discrimination Complaint was recently sent to the Greek Archdiocese, the FCC and MTV.
“We present to you our formal complaint on behalf of the thousands of signatories on this petition that were collected within 72 hours upon receiving word that our ethnic group was to be exploited by name on television we feel that this is ethnic discrimination. Most recently, the FCC positioned itself (Nov. 2014) “..discrimination simply has no place in broadcasting”.
MTV has titled a new reality show as “Growing Up Greek” which infers that it depicts how citizens of the United States of America of Greek descent are raised, behave and speak as portrayed by the individuals on the show. We feel that the title MUST change and disassociated with the Greek-American community as we have been a target in the early 1900s along with the African American community. Specifically, the same “rules and laws” that applied to African Americans in the early 1900s applied to Greeks up until the end of WWII. Forty years of being seeing as low class citizens, forced to eat in separate places than whites, forced to sit in different areas that whites and even the disallowance of marriage between a white person and a Greek, as that was considered interracial. I am sure that MTV would never consider to air a show titled “Growing up Black” , “Growing up Jewish”, “Growing up Iraqi” , then how would “Growing up Greek” be considered? The outrage we have as a community, as an ethnic minority stems from our deep rooted notion of pride. It was our pride and our philotimo that defeated Hitler’s army. It was our pride and hard work that built long standing communities and the economy here in the US as immigrants. It was our pride, our spirit and our culture that invented economies, democracy, modern medicine, philosophy and so much more. As a community we represent all that of our ancestors. We find this show a direct attack on our heritage.
When the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was created, a lot of thought and consideration was taken into the depiction of the Greek Community ensuring that the poise and pride we have was sanctioned. We embraced the tasteful film and light references to what Greeks-Americans are like. Now, years later the simple Windex reference and “You don’t eat meat? I’ll cook lamb” are stereotypes that have not been shaken off and probably never will. Though, those notions and stereotypes are nothing compared to the tasteless, ill mannered, mal- articulated language, and misuse and discriminatory portrayal used on this potential TV series by individuals we do not recognize as our minority group’s representatives.
We demand as an ethnic minority that at least the title of the show be changed and disassociated with our heritage. We have been victims of racial and ethnic discrimination in this nation before and seek that you as our leaders and enforcers of rights to all citizens within this country to acknowledge and apply the laws set forth for discriminatory and racial profiling.
Greek-Americans have strong religious, family and social values that are desecrated and misrepresented in this show, which are offensive and an insult to our country of origin and being.
Now – not everyone is against it! Some residents are totally for it. They don’t find it to be offensive – but rather, playful fun. They also view it as just another reality tv show – rather than a direct attack on their culture. It could be seen as just a regular fun television show – not a show with malicious intent. It’s important to wonder if the racial profiling that those exist it claim to exist actually will result from the show.
If you DON’T want Growing Up Greek to air, and are against the show, you can sign this petition.
If you DO want Growing Up Greek to air, and think there’s nothing wrong with the show, you can sign this petition in SUPPORT.