Although The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of the greatest shows of all time, it’s not without its faults. One of the most problematic themes of the show was its blatant racism and its characters’ complete lack of awareness and sensitivity toward other cultures. From their unwavering hatred of Black people to their condescending Italian pride, the Soprano crime family never hid their attitudes toward race and ethnicity.
And although the Soprano family had a general dislike for any ethnic group that was not Italian, their disdain for Black Americans was more pronounced than it was with any other race in the show. Their notions toward Black people are made clear at various points on The Sopranos, but their effortless ability to pin their problems on Black Americans made this truth undeniable.
Check out the four most memorable times that the Soprano crime family blamed Black Americans for their misdeeds.
Jackie Jr was killed by black drug dealers
Jackie Jr., former mob boss Jackie Aprile’s son, was one of the most hated characters from The Sopranos. A wannabe tough guy with minimal brain capacity, he consistently tried to force himself into the mob life, against Tony’s wishes. Tony had made a promise to Jackie Jr.’s father that he would not allow his son to enter life, but Jackie Jr. couldn’t stay away.
Things take a turn for the worse when Jackie Jr. and friends stick up a Soprano poker game and accidentally kill one of Tony’s associates. Jackie Jr. goes on the run to avoid the consequences but is quickly found and shot to death. When word gets back to the family, higher-ups decide to say that Black drug dealers in the New Jersey projects killed Jackie Jr.
Tony didn’t have a panic attack, he was jumped by some black guys
Long before the events depicted on The Sopranos, Tony Soprano and his cousin Tony Blundetto had planned to hijack a truck. According to the show, Tony Blundetto was caught and did 17 years in prison, while Tony Soprano never made it to the job. After Tony Blundetto gets out of prison, he and Tony Soprano develop a contentious relationship that ends in Tony Blundetto’s death.
Throughout much of the time that Tony Blundetto is free, Tony Soprano feels guilt for the fact that he never went to prison. For most of their relationship, he claims that he never made it to the hijacking because he was mugged by Black guys, although he ends up revealing to his shrink that he actually had a panic attack and passed out, injuring his head.
Vito saw some black guys attack Paulie Jr. at the esplanade
Wiseguys on The Sopranos loved to joke on one another, or as they called it “break balls.” However, their jokes oftentimes went too far and led to some serious altercations. This happens one day as they’re hanging out at their no-work construction job when Paulie Jr. insinuates that Eugene Pontecorvo is homosexual.
He takes this to heart and in turn, breaks a bottle of Snapple iced tea over Paulie’s face. After their dustup, Eugene worries that someone on the site will tell the police what really happened, but Vito insists that he’s “seen a couple of n—— running that way.”
Tony Blundetto hurt his foot, some black people jumped him
Tony Blundetto’s time comes to an unfortunate end due to his issues with two beefing crime families. His problems are set in motion on a night he carries out a hit for one of the families, shooting their enemy in his car.
Unfortunately, although the hit is successful, the car the victim is in drives over his foot, injuring him. Tony Soprano is suspicious that Tony Blundetto was involved in the hit, and asks him why his foot is hurt. In response, Tony Blundetto claims that some black guys jumped him, injuring it.
Racism was a major recurring theme in The Sopranos, from its beginning until its end. With the massive increase in social awareness of racism that’s been occurring throughout 2020, hopefully scenarios like this will stay away from TV shows in the future.