In a debate on the status of Italian Americans that erupted in the summer of 2000 on H-ITAM (an Italian American Studies online discussion board), several participants argued that they don't consider themselves part of a white society that oppresses its minorities because they are still themselves members of an oppressed minority. This argument is not without merit. Participants on both sides of the debate, for example, argued convincingly that portrayals of Italian Americans in the media and popular culture generally are dominated by images of the Mafia and characterizations of criminal behavior.