Here's Why This Italian Senator Had to Apologize

Italy's first integration minister, Cecile Kyenge, has a tough job—starting with the Italian government itself.

Kyenge, an Italian citizen born in the Democratic Republic of Congo,has been a target of racial slurs since she took office in April. Now, her colleague Roberto Calderoli—otherwise known as the vice president of the Italian Senate—is on the record telling Reuters this crazy noise: "I love animals—bears and wolves, as everyone knows–but when I see the pictures of Kyenge I cannot but think of, even if I'm not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan."

And we thought our government was racist. Calderoli said Kyenge's success has encouraged "illegal immigrants" to come to Italy, referring to her backing a law that would make it easier for children born in Italy to become Italian citizens. And then he said she should be a minister "in her own country" instead.

Needless to say, Calderoli's comments have inspired outrage around the world. He's now apologizing, (sort of) claiming "I did not mean to offend and if minister Kyenge was offended I am sorry."

He insists that he will not resign in the face of the growing controversy.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)