04 April, 2006

Um, is that really what you mean?

An article in the Sun-Times got me thinking. Here's the relevant part [edited for content(hah!)]:

A typical example of this policy ["amnesty as a means of inducing foreign workers to enter the U.S. illegally and take jobs from oppressed minorities"] was revealed in 1987 at a time when teenage unemployment among African Americans approached 80 percent. Greedy garment manufacturers petitioned the INS to import cheap labor on grounds that there was an ''unskilled labor shortage.''

"This policy continues on the specious claim that ''Americans won't do the dirty jobs that foreign workers are willing to do.'' Any one of the millions of unemployed Americans will tell you it is not the dirty jobs they disdain, but the slave wages paid to do those jobs. Nothing is more dirty or dangerous than coal mining or garbage collection, but there is no shortage of applicants for such jobs when decent wages are paid.""

It seems the author is claiming that the American born poor are simply lazy. Isn't that the logical interpretation of an argument that says "Well, normal Americans won't do that 'cause it just don't pay well enough." What does that make the immigrants who WILL do it for what is paid, and who WILL work very long hours at low wages to support their families and - in many cases - buy houses? I'll admit that I personally wouldn't work in a coal mine or scrub toilets for "slave wages," but I don't have to. I'm not unskilled - I have the student loan payments to prove it.

Besides, I did some of those jobs when I was in college. No, I was no where near a coal mine, though working at Starbucks can get dirty (and at least they offer health insurance to offset the indignities of working around spoiled milk, overflowing garbage, dirty bums in the bathroom, and obnoxious customers).

I dunno.

If you want, go check out the article itself.

You know Pootie, I don't like to do a lot of work, ESPECIALLY if they're not paying me much. I think, that if some company is willing to pay me for doing nothing, THAT's a pretty good deal! Innit?

However, for something like tutoring, I'll spend hours walking around without eating, canvassing the neighborhoods with fliers, and extra time in the library doing research for how to teach better. I'll travel to meet with people, and spend extra time making my flier perfect, cause it's work I care about. It's my work.

I've always felt so much better doing work that interests me, doing work that is mine alone.
This makes me wonder, how do people who have to pick grapes and clean toilets make that work their own? I mean, can they possibly? Need is what compells them to work for so little, and do so much. I know that if I had to, I WOULD pick grapes, or work on a farm... Fortunately though, I don't have to, because I don't need a paying job THAT badly, and I have some skills that enable me to do other things...

Why am I talking about this so much?

You're talking about it - we're ALL talking about it, because it's fascinating. I think to myself, "What kind of truly destitute person would refuse any work for any pay?" The argument that so-called Americans "won't" do the work at low pay and therefore wages should be increased is a horrid argument - people are doing these jobs at the wages they pay. They may not be fair wages, but it is part of the economy. Some of these people - it requires ingenuity and perserverence, as well as work ethic (you can't be lazy and succeed at $7/hr) turn out to be quite successful in the end. They just have to work very very hard in mind-numbing conditions to do so. I think it's not that "Americans" won't do the work, it's just that they don't.

This is part of the reason I don't give to homeless people, or bums as I prefer to call them. That, and the innumerable times I was treated uncivilly when giving in the past. Dirty stinking bums!
hey! who says americans won't do those jobs?? uh,, did u forget about me and my career at DD?!
Tryel, you're latino by insertion. (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself!)
I don't know what I am anymore...latino, asian, indian??? All these interracial relationships make things so confusing. btw, my name is Tyrel!
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