Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mexicans, Blacks, Crappy Work, Lousy Pay

So, Mexico's president Vicente Fox said, as reported in The Globe and Mail, and I'm quoting so I don't get it wrong:

“There's no doubt that Mexican men and women — full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work — are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States.”

So, in turn Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are pissed and want Fox to apologize, which Fox has said he won't do because it wasn't a slur. Let's look at this, because I have to admit mixed feelings.

“There's no doubt that Mexican men and women — full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work ...” Okay, I can appreciate that. You gotta have some kind of stomach to hang out on the side of a road to wait for construction work, or take a job washing dishes in a restaurant or cleaning toilets, dirty stuff that not a lot of people want to do. Wasn't it crusty chef Anthony Bourdain who mentioned in his book Kitchen Confidential that most of the line cooks (the people who actually cook your food, not the overpaid egomaniacs who put a menu together -- that's the chef) in the top kitchens in New York City are Mexican, many from a little town called Puebla?

“... are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States.” Now, let's look at this one. Let's look at the day laborer issue. A quick catch-up for context. Out on Long Island, and probably in small towns all over the U.S., Mexican immigrants hang out from very early in the day hoping to get work for the day on a construction or contracting job. The pay isn't even close to union wage, and union cats don't do that much work anyway (before you yell at me, blame television. Don't they always manage to show union guys on breaks more often than not? Show me some dudes who are working more than breaking and I won't have to comment.), but here you have day laborers hauling bricks and heavy equipment, going up on unstable rooftops, and many of them get injured. No health insurance, of course, so they either keep working with a jacked-up back, or a cut-up hand. Perhaps they go to the E.R. to get that hand stitched up, perhaps not. Whether they do or not, they're back at work as soon as possible. Not some potbellied, beer-guzzling whiny-ass white guy, sittin' in his SUV complaining about how the Mexicans take jobs away from Americans. Do some work, loser, and perhaps you won't have to complain. Oh, sorry, my bad. You don't want to go up on that unstable roof. Or haul rocks. Or pour asphalt on an August afternoon. And, you're not racist, but you really don't have a lot of Blacks on your site. And Black folk, you ain't off the hook either. Too many of you act as though somebody owes you a job. I don't really care that Day-Day didn't pick up your baby on time on Sunday, so stop yelling to your friend at the next register about it, and pack up my damn groceries. You don't have a snowballs chance in hell of being the next Alicia Keys, so you need to work. Act like you want the job. Stop mumbling and rolling your eyes when I tell you my order is wrong. If your stupid ass went to school sometime, you'd know the difference between NO MAYO and HONEY MUSTARD. Don't be mad because somebody actually wants to work. And Black people, don't be offended because somebody called you out about your lousy work ethic.

Now, on the flip side, they say you can't let someone come in your house and tell you how dirty it is. Unfortunately, that's what Presidente Fox did, and that's what set folks in a tizzy. It's not too different from Bill Cosby's comments about poor folks having lousy priorities. He said it, although we know it, but folks were mad because he said it to the wrong people (STAGE WHISPER HERE: White people). That, I have to agree with. Fox may be right, but he didn't have to say it.

Meanwhile, the Revs (Jackson and Sharpton) haven't done jack to get their constituents to clean up their act, Mexicans are probably feeling a little bit superior today, and White people who've always thought they were better than the swarthy are sitting back laughing at the whole thing.

That's the real tragedy in all this. Bottom line is, Fox's bon mot and Rev-squared's actions won't stop Blacks from working really hard at not working. Mexicans (and other Spanish-speaking immigrants) will still end up taking jobs no one else wants for abysmal pay (check out this gem in a recent issue of the New York Daily News). How about less criticism of who said what and more action to get people working and keep them working?

Political correctness, my fat ass.


Anonymous AngryBlackBitch said...

I heard that! Great post. There are two different problems here - one being the lack of shame among certain blacks (it ain't all of us, but the guilty are vocal) and two being the lack of development in Mexico so that their citizens can stay home if they want to. I can't do anything about Mexico, but my ass is kicking into high gear on my peoples!

As one of the "working blacks", I am frustrated with the unstated assumption that there is "white" work, "black" work and "Mexican" work. Rubs me the wrong way, since this is really a socio-economic issue that is being wrapped up in race. But what can a bitch do?

Again, great post and I enjoyed your comment!

12:35 PM  
Blogger dmfinny said...

'Nuff respect, and appreciate your comment. Actually, you've really hit the nail on the head -- class. We're quick to pooh-pooh India's caste system based on skin shade, without looking at how Americans (of all colors) treat:
--Fat people
--Poor people
--The other-than-classic beauty
--The geek/nerd
--Urban dwellers vs. rural or small town residents

I could go on...

1:16 PM  

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