Do you hear what I hear?-Racism in America

Thursday, September 12, 2013
When I hear someone complaining about those in the service industry not speaking English- what I hear is a subtle form of racism.

Most people working in the service industry are doing so because employers can't get anyone else to do those jobs. If it were not for immigrants living in this country there would not be a clean hotel room in America. And I like my hotel rooms clean.

What happened to having some understanding of the person you are trying to communicate with? Of understanding they are living in a new place, trying to learn a new language, and that they need to work while they live? What is wrong with accepting that they are maybe struggling a little but at least trying to fit in?

My classes are filled with people working the service industry. I have women with Bachelor's Degrees in Nursing cleaning toilets for a living. I have someone who is a lawyer herding sheep. I also have women who never completed grade school living and working here in our hotels and our fast food kitchens. They are learning our language. They are working full time- sometimes more than one job- so they can support their families and live in a country where they are not politically or socially repressed. They are working 8-10 hours or more and then sitting through 3-4 hours of English classes so they can speak and read our language. They study at home, on the weekends. They email my teachers so they can practice even when we don't have class.

And then I hear someone someplace say "if they're going to work in America they need to learn English!" This from the same person who, if they visited another country, would expect the people there to speak English also- because our language is that pervasive and important. It is a racist and self-important statement to make- and it doesn't take into consideration that these are PEOPLE we are talking about.

I truly wish we could spend a little more time seeing the people we run into every day as other humans who are just doing their best to get by- and stop trying to tear everyone around us down because we are either so angry at our own situation or we are frustrated with where we've fallen into life's ladder and want someone else to bully so we feel better.

The person serving up your big mac or latte or towels is a person who is doing the best they can with what they have. They are working and not asking for help from you. They are asking only to earn their way in a place that has a history of being the 'land of the free'.

2 comments :

  1. Hear, Hear! I am with you 100% on this. I just can't understand how anyone can be so intolerant, and yes--racist. I try not to air any political or religious views on FB, or any other social media, but when it comes to humanitarian issues its hard for me to keep my mouth shut. Being the granddaughter of Italian immigrants as well as being married to a Mexican, you can well believe this matter strikes a nerve in me BIG time. Thank you for your eloquence in putting into words exactly the way I feel about this subject.

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