Oh dear. Now that I can hold my head back up as an American, I must hang it down once again as an Italian.
Berlusconi did it again -- mouth before brain.
I believe his unfortunate comment that Obama is, "young, good-looking and suntanned" came from a place of unconsciousness not of malice or racism. He is just clueless and unfortunately not alone.
I know a few Asian-Americans here in Rome who are struggling with the constant assumption that they are someone's maid. One is a lawyer and recent arrival to the city. The innocent yet disturbing comments of her new Italian husband's friends leave her confused. How should she react? The children of another Asian-American / Italian couple are referred to by their friends at school as the "cinesine", although they are not even of Chinese origin. It is not with a mean intent, just unconsciousness.
So, at the top of the heap, Prime Minister Berlusconi refers to President-elect Barack Obama as, "suntanned" and continues to insist that he was just being "cute".
There is a long way to go. Wake up Italy.