The sad truth is (I know I'm generalizing here) that a lot of Italian people, especially the older ones, are still somewhat racist/discriminating. I've seen this in my own grandmother, who was visiting us in Rotterdam, which really is a melting pot of a lot of different cultures. She saw al the 'darkies' in the street (her words) and asked me if it was 'safe' to go out on the street and if 'they' worked or just made a living stealing... :/
There is a reason Italy sided with Hitler during WWII... Sad but true. Luckily I can see in my cousins and younger relatives that this is a diminishing group. The younger people are more tolerant of others.
You're right, the younger folks are more tolerant. I see racism in my Mom from time to time. Visited her in April and had to remind myself a couple of times that she didn't mean something she said the way it sounded and that's she grew up in a different time period than I did.