From an undisclosed location in the southern tropics, I received the following communication, most likely composed on an ancient PC encrusted with fish entrails:
How do you argue with this kind of person?
I feel like she just wants to hate something and doesn’t want to know how to solve it?
Am I wrong?
Seriously, what is the solution?
My correspondent included a conversation with someone regarding “All of the people who came to this country illegally, use up all our resources, don’t pay income tax and refuse to learn the English language.”
I replied that I think it’s a case of being uncomfortable with other cultures plus blaming the wrong people.
The fact that some or all of them are illegal is irrelevant to the discomfort level. That’s just a socially acceptable excuse for disliking them. There are plenty of legal immigrants, naturalized citizens, and natural-born citizens who would probably be just as annoying to this person. I remember my own relatives going on about blacks and Hispanics in Chicago, not to mention welfare queens in Michigan, and probably none of them were illegal immigrants. If only we could all live in little enclaves of like-minded people, separated by mountains from anyone who makes us uncomfortable.
In my own experience, I’ve worked in a laundry room with a dozen Spanish-speaking workers and managers. They could all speak English, but they didn’t, because it was more fun to talk in Spanish so that the gringos couldn’t tell what they were saying. Sometimes they would tease me in Spanish, and that was really no different from being teased in English by some small-town punk in Michigan. I’ve also worked with jerkoffs in California who would talk about Hispanic workers in English, expecting them to not understand that they were being cheated or insulted. Living in the same place where you were born is only a guarantee that you can be arrogant toward visitors and get away with it; it doesn’t make someone deserving of any special regard.
My other experience is from having a car accident involving some illegal immigrants. I know they were uninsured and probably illegal because they begged me not to call the police, and they phoned a friend to negotiate with me in English. I accepted a really small amount of money for the damage they did, and that car was never fixed, since I found out it would cost five times as much to fix it. I should have filed a police report so that I could have filed an insurance claim with my own company. I don’t blame them for being uninsured; I blame myself for feeling sorry for them, when I should have let them deal with the consequences of being reported to the police and my insurance company.
We could blame the illegal immigrants for not getting their paperwork straight if they wanted to work here, but I think if I was desperate enough I would probably take the same risks. We could also blame the federal government for not being tough enough, but the feds are doing exactly what they are told to do by the business interests.*
If there was no demand for cheap labor in agricultural, construction, custodial, retail, factory, warehouse, and restaurant work, there would be a lot fewer illegal immigrants. I worked for a painting contractor who said he hired lots of illegals because they were willing to work for $9.00 an hour and they usually showed up for work, unlike most of the soft, arrogant, pampered, overfed, whiny little white boys in the wealthiest county in Indiana. I’ve also worked as a day laborer for temporary services that could not get unemployed white guys to come out of the welfare office and load freezer trucks for $8.00 an hour.
With all that said, I agreed that the bottom line was that the other person just wanted to hate something, and you can’t solve that by arguing.
* “All You Americans Are Fired.” Jessica Garrison, Ken Bensinger, and Jeremy Singer-Vine. Buzzfeed.com (1 December 2015). http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicagarrison/all-you-americans-are-fired.