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« SF/Bay Area Baking Class: Custards on September 16, 2007: FULL! | Main | Opening a Restaurant. day one {for me} »

21 August 2007


Political correctness ends with this comment right here because someone has to grow a pair and end it:

What I don't like is people other than Mexicans/Latinos thinking dishwashing (especially, for some reason) is beneath them, or any work that a Mexican will do is beneath the rest of society. Those folks don't understand how important a dishwasher is. They don't need to make $16/hr to wash a dish but they can make somewhat of a living wage (depending on where they live) and it is good, honest work. You've heard the BS "they're taking our jobs" -- well, you don't want to wash dishes or pick oranges anyway so WTF do you care if they do?

On the other side, here is another topic that I think about on a frequent basis... I am confused as to why a Mexican/Latino of whatever origin would want to cook Gringo food, French food, Japanese, Indian... do they honestly like the food or is just one of their two jobs that barely pays the rent/bills? See, this is a problem for me and the core is caring about what you're doing. I couldn't get a job turning out sushi because I'm not Japanese AND I'm a girl, but I love sushi and wouldn't mind learning that craft. But there are plenty of Japanese restaurants here with lots of Mexicans in the back, rolling up your fish and rice with dirty hands (I can't even count how many times i had to actually tell a guy to STOP WORKING and go wash his hands because he didn't seem to think touching raw chicken and then touching bread and salad greens was wrong. Ignorance is not bliss -- it will lead to you being on the toilet with a bucket on your lap. The Mexicans I've trained do not wash their hands when they are working. They just don't. Do they not care or do they not understand? I sure don't understand this phenomenon.). Point is more than just on the surface -- if you aren't familiar with the type of food you're cooking and are just doing what you were trained to do (and that can go for any race/ethnicity), why fucking bother? If all you know how to do is put a plate in the window, it looks like shit, tastes like hospital food and not care that someone is about to pay $$ for it, then you (any race/ethnicity) are a big part of a different problem. That will be another reason restaurants fail and it's due to shitty management: they forget to hire quality because they can't afford it. they'd rather hire the Mexican who will do the same job I would do but they'll do it for $7.25 where I would want more. but when you can't communicate with them, they can't read or understand English and don't know how kitchen equipment works, you'll wish you hired that white girl who knew her ass from her elbow and had an educated palate. Fill a line with cheap, uneducated, uncaring labor and you will go down the tubes and not understand why.

/no apologies.

This may be an overly simple way of looking at it, but my parents waited for years to get into this country legally. My father had to come on his own at first, leaving my mother behind in Taiwan until he had gained his citizenship (a few more years) and was able to bring her over. Why should anyone else get to cut in line? Letting any group of people circumvent immigration laws is reverse discrimination. What, other than geographic proximity, makes them any more worthy than immigrants with similar backgrounds from Asia, Africa, or Eastern Europe?

We live a life of affluence and convenience borne on the backs of a group of exploited people who are here illegally. Enforcing the law will make staying here difficult for them, which is as it should be, since they shouldn't be here. It will make amenities more expensive for us. That's also fine. We're a pampered, overprivileged society that's forgotten the true value/cost of the goods/services we consume. We expect everything cheap, and ignore the misery that expectation creates. Take a look a Walmart's affect on local businesses and domestic manufacturers.

Continuing to exploit illegal immigrants while turning a blind eye to their violation of our borders and laws ultimately benefits neither them nor us.

shuna, i agree with everything you wrote here.
i will add that one thing i despise about the raids and such is seperating parents from their children. many adults who are forced to go back to their home country also leave behind children who were born here and are therefore citizens. it seems like somebody somewhere could come up with a better answer than that.
thank you for writing about it at all.

Aggression towards folks who are just trying to take care of their families won't get us anywhere.

I spent several years in food service (catering) and did not experience the same problems as Raspil. Our immigrant staff members worked far harder and were far more dedicated to details than the numerous teenage and college kids who floated in and out of positions. Someone who is here legally can be just as much of a nightmare (if not more) than someone who isn't.

Taking a stance from a perspective of desperation never works (this is mine, mine, mine...they don't belong here!). Are we so privileged? Are we better than them? Should we get stars on our bellies? Is this a class issue? You better believe it.

Let's spend billions of bucks trying to keep our borders closed and kicking out those 'who don't belong'...meanwhile we can barely manage to take care of our own families when disaster strikes. Hmmm, maybe that money could be better spent elsewhere?

Of course what better grand scheme to create more jobs for those educated, caring, expensive American workers than to create more Government programs that require snooping/controlling/destroying other peoples lives.


As always, thanks for bringing these issues to this Canadian's attention. As your president and my prime minister, along with Mexico's Calderon just finished a 3-day closed door summit in Canada, we might wish that some of these issue would get resolved in favour of Mexican workers. Instead, increased border surveillance was among the many Orwellian items on an agenda that has Canada apeing (or, as they say, "harmonizing with") the worst of American policy.

First comment hit the crux of the argument: money. Illegal immigrants get hired because they will work for dirt and not complain if they're abused in the process. Would I wash dishes for a living? If I had to. Would I do it for less than minimum wage with federally mandated breaks and sick days and other such worker protections? Hell no. Some guy fresh across the border who's sending money back home, on the other hand, will do it without hesitation and without any guarantees.

Punish anyone who pays below minimum wage. If the employers can't get around the minimum wage, illegal immigrants will not be an attractive (read: exploitable) hiring pool.

Like you, I don't have any answers, but I do know that raids and fences are not the way to go, and they just tear me up to even think about.

Most days, I think that "guest worker" status is the best of a bad set of possibilities. At least then the exploitation of low-wage non-citizen workers is given a legal (and regulatable) berth, and the workers themselves given a path to citizenship. The latter element I think is truly key to any solution.

Otherwise, we end up with them illegal, exploited, *and* persecuted for it. Both ends of a short stick.

This issue goes beyond class, exploitation, and simple cruelty. Remember NAFTA? From Wikipedia: "Several studies have concluded that NAFTA has destroyed hundreds of thousands of agricultural jobs in Mexico. An influx of imports has decreased the prices for Mexican corn by more than 70% since 1994. As a result, of the 15 million Mexicans who depend on the crop, many can no longer afford basic health care and the labor demanded of them has been increased. NAFTA has been criticized for allowing U.S. agricultural subsidies to artificially depress corn prices. In 2000, U.S. government subsidies to the corn sector totaled $10.1 billion, a figure ten times greater than the total Mexican agricultural budget that year."

So the US is putting Mexican corn farmers out of business, and forcing poor Mexicans into greater poverty by making the staple of their diet too expensive for them to purchase (the same thing is happening in India, btw, with GMO rice). What do you do when your family is starving and your crops are worthless? Go somewhere else where your skills are needed, such as California. Even the below-living wages, lack of health care and affordable housing in CA is better than starving in Mexico. Who wins? Biotech companies that develop GMO seeds, companies that sell GMO corn, the industrial food monopolies who buy them, and the Congress people who are paid off by these companies. Who loses? Everyone else who isn't in the top .1% of the population that controls all the capital. Biodiversity decreases with every GMO crop, more people are exposed to the unknown and possibly dangerous side effects of consuming GMO foods, fewer people working in agriculture can make a living in Mexico, more undocumented workers are exploited, terrorized, and separated from their families (in Texas, children of undocumented workers have been imprisoned with common criminals and prohibited from going to school.). This is imperialism, plain and simple, dressed as hyper-capitalism. We are the Roman Empire. Watch out for the fall.

I am a permanent resident of the US and I came to this country years ago legally and still maintain the legal status up to this day. I didn't have any problem with illegal immigrants until one of them stole my identity and used my Social Security Number to get a job at a restaurant that (used to) hired illegal immigrants. The IRS sent me the "bills" from taxes that the ID thief never paid. It took me time (months), money (to hire tax attorney which was NOT cheap at all), and numerous visits to the local IRS office. Of course, I won the case in the end but the whole thing was one big huge mess.

Send those illegal immigrants back to their country.

From Iris Dement's song "Wasteland of the Free"

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

(finger at temple) americans are crazy...*tap*...*tap*...*tap*...*tap*

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