Blacks vs. Latinos tension reaches far beyond gangs, jails
Sharon Woodson-Bryant, Guest Columnist
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca calms our fears of the recent jail race riots by politely assuring us that it's a gang problem. He gives us enough emotional and political distance to remove the community comfortably from the black-versus-brown issues. So we casually isolate the violence as if it were an awkwardly wrapped package filled exclusively with criminals and angry black and Latino teenagers.
But there is a murky undercurrent of growing competition and resentment between blacks and Latinos outside of the prisons and high schools. Mexican President Vicente Fox said that his countrymen take jobs that American blacks don't want. But if you look a little closer, you find a disturbing trend of employers giving Latinos preferential hiring over African-Americans. It's not always that blacks don't want the jobs.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, there's a "new wave of race-discrimination cases appearing in the workplace: African-Americans who feel they are being passed over for Hispanics."
According to the story, Donnie Gaut, a black man with 12 years of warehouse experience, applied for a job stocking goods at Farmer John Meats in Los Angeles but was turned down. He decided the problem wasn't his resume but his race. He filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and, last October, he and six other black applicants who were also rejected for production jobs at Farmer John received a $110,000 settlement.
The EEOC found that the company had been almost exclusively hiring Hispanics for warehouse, packing and production jobs. The company had an all-Hispanic hiring staff and recruited new hires by word of mouth.
Another settlement was secured recently against the Zenith National Insurance Corp., which is based in Woodland Hills, for $180,000 to be divided among 10 blacks who applied for a mailroom job. The job was offered to a Latino man with no mailroom experience, according to the EEOC.
These kinds of settlements, the Journal article points out, mark a shift from years past, when blacks were likely to seek legal action against employers who showed favored treatment toward whites. Now, we have mounting tension between Hispanics and blacks as they compete for resources and job opportunities.
As Latinos grab the attention of marketers and gain political clout, many African-Americans feel that their influence is waning and that the decline is disproportionate and unfair. The tension has now spilled into the workplace. These ominous predictions were echoed
earlier in Nicolas C. Vaca's book, "The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What It Means for America."
Many African-Americans view Latinos - because of their numbers - as a threat to their social, economic and political gains. In cities like Los Angeles, where blacks still wield a measure of political power, they are increasingly digging in to resist a Latino tsunami.
Vaca, a Latino lawyer and scholar based in the Bay Area, wrote that the adversarial aspects of the relationship between blacks and Latinos are now facts of life. In making the argument, he claims he is simply facing up to realities that Latino intellectuals and activists have sidestepped because of knee-jerk and "politically correct" assumptions about black-Latino solidarity. He also felt the real black-Latino political conflicts that he saw all around him were swept under the rug by the media.
Our black political elite seem to disregard the increasing hostility toward immigration among rank-and-file blacks. No one, according to Vaca, ever asked black hourly wage earners if they wanted their nation's ethnic balance rearranged to pry them out of their hard-earned spot as the biggest minority. Yet most black leaders acquiesced in addressing this issue.
Unlike the Mexican president and the economic illiterates who continue to proclaim that immigrants do the jobs Americans don't want, lawyer Vaca simply takes it as one of his axioms that "immigrants will compete with African-Americans for unskilled jobs."
Most of us choose not to connect the dots leading from this economic tension to the racial conflicts in our troubled high schools and neighborhoods. We just don't want to talk about it. And not surprisingly, most black, Latino and white leaders don't want to deal with this issue either. They probably wish Vaca had never written his book.
I was wondering why we weren't hearing about this OBVIOUS side efffect of illegal "immigration"..........yet
Silly people. Everyone knows the media machine never "sweeps" anything "under the rug".
------> (Glasses appear black but are actually rose colored).
Damn, I should have sued my former employer for hiring someone to replace me who had no expierece. Oh, that's right I couldn't, the guy they hired is white.
Gee, how uncommon.
It seems everyone is allowed to do that except Whitey.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw a warehouse crew that was entirely Mexican, or entirely Vietnamese, or entirely Filipino. And at higher levels, you see Indian-owned software companies that hire no one but Indians. Chinese do the same thing.
Everyone but Whitey gets a pass.
Uh, oh.........NOW they have gone TOO FAR
Ski bum: another job Americans won't do?
Colorado ski resorts increasingly are turning to Latin American students,
not ski bums, to staff lift lines, mountaintop restaurants and fill other jobs.
The phrase "jobs Americans won't do" gets tossed around frequently during America's overheated immigration debates. We usually think of farm workers and laborers, but apparently we can now add "ski bum" to that list.
As Denver Post writer Bruce Finley reported recently, Colorado ski resorts increasingly are turning to Latin American students to staff lift lines, mountaintop restaurants and other resort jobs. The trend has set off brisk exchanges over the nation's immigration policies.
It sometimes seems Americans have started worrying about immigration only in the last couple of years. But in reality, immigrant-driven workforce changes have been taking place for two decades, since the last major immigration legislation was passed in the mid-1980s.
Similarly, the stereotypical all-American ski bum has been in decline for years.
In a November 1998 Post story, Anna Sandberg of the State Job Service said, "Typically in the past, they're college kids wanting to take a year off and come ski. But they're not doing that anymore because they can't afford to live in these towns."
Other snow-country observers point to the wide availability of discount season lift tickets since the late 1990s as another reason. Before that, working for a resort was the best way to ski cheaply for a season.
And foreign laborers, primarily Mexican and not students, have been an important part of the resort economy for years in the really unglamorous jobs.
The history of the ski bum aside, the growing ranks of Latin American students at Colorado's resorts does raise a few questions about immigration policy.
The young people are in this country under a U.S. government cultural-exchange program. Critics, including Congressman Tom Tancredo, say the program's purpose is being abused, and congressional auditors say the State Department isn't properly overseeing the program.
The program is just one of many that allow foreigners into the U.S., and the visitors are working hard to fill a need for Colorado resorts. But, Tancredo may have a point when he says that "our myriad visa categories actually encourage abuse."
If and when Congress gets around to taking a realistic look at immigration, streamlining the system should be a priority. Clearer rules will benefit immigrants, visitors, employers and American workers, including the rare ski bum.
Ski bums, of course.
Employers want a stable employment staff. Thanks to this influx of illegals, employers have become lazy.
They used to accept the fact that some employees were seasonal, or that they could only work 20 hours a week after school, or three months during the summer. And perhaps turnover was higher than they liked. But they lived with it and worked within the legal system.
Today they break the law. Today they are too lazy to schedule part-time teens, even though today they have $20 software packages that make it a breeze.
And, of course, there is the perception that Jesus will be in no position to demand a raise. Hell, he's lucky to have a job.
I hate to say it. I don't want it to ever happen.
All the people who predicted a race war happening sooner or later were right about one thing. It'll happen but not between blacks and whites. It'll not be between people who wake up and go to work, it'll be more like two insurgent forces going at it while the general population turns a blind eye.
It'll happen in our streets, prisons, and back alleys between blacks and hispanics.
Duh, already here considering a few posts we've seen about violence in priso. And now with this article. If it's something no one wants to talk about and it has made the news, it's been going on for a while now and I'm sure there are some pissed off people out there.
Nope, not suprised, seen it more than once.
Yeah, it looks like it has already started
I guess it doesn't PAY the jacksons, farakhans and sharptons to "preach" against illegals...........