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“But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want; that there may be equality.” 2 Corinthians 8:14.
SPECIAL TO THE L.A. SENTINEL: Failing to offer a realistic account of the racial dynamics of Southern California’s employment sector, Eric Kyle Henry Lee’s article, ‘Bilingual Job Qualifications – Are Blacks Being Left Out’ (L.A. Sentinel, 01/31/13), dared to opine that Black America’s attitude toward a bilingual job requirement that increasingly excludes them from an already biased job market, ought to be a passive one. Lee’s suggestion that African Americans suppress their employment expectations to make room for an influx of Hispanics is unnecessarily presumptive because no fair-minded person would begrudge the business owner’s effort to employ a diverse workforce so long as his own heritage isn’t subjugated in the process.
The trend that has many Southern California employers staffing workforces comprised entirely of Spanish speaking bilinguals, even though America’s typical consumer remains monolingual and English speaking, begs the question, ‘Why the need for an exclusively bilingual workforce?’ When legitimately needed, surely a staff thirty, forty, or even fifty-percent bilingual would suffice, especially when much of the race driving today’s alleged bilingual need are themselves fluent in English.
Many see the emerging bilingual employment campaign as part of a greater movement by a few Mexicans who feel theirs is an inherent right to be ushered to the front of every American socioeconomic line on which they stand; and that judging themselves as finally having sufficient numbers to enforce long-held beliefs about whose land Southern California really is, they’re seeking to bypass a seat at America’s table of equality in favor of possession of the entire table and all the chairs.
As one who’s sworn to uphold this nation’s civil rights laws, I have a unique perch from which to view SoCal’s shifting ethnic paradigm and its affect on the employment dynamic. Adding sufficient bilinguals of multiple ethnicities to better serve a multi-ethnic customer base is one thing. Purposely employing a single ethnicity to the exclusion of all others is something else again. And considering today’s open hostility by some Mexicans toward the presence of African Americans (look no further than the front page of this Sentinel edition, as well as other publications, to read about the rise in violent hate crimes by Mexicans against Blacks) and the hubris of some Mexicans who think U.S. immigration law shouldn’t apply to them, and Lee’s position that all Hispanics willingly desire lawful assimilation into American culture becomes a bit tenuous.
In one of a rising number of cases where Hispanics are fast usurping the discriminatory seat of privilege long held by Caucasians, I met a Black woman who told of a Mexican co-worker menacingly expressing his anger at having to pay five-hundred dollars for a ‘Green Card’ that would permit him to legally remain in the U.S. The undocumented worker boasted that if he had to pay to stay in America, every Black person should have to do likewise. When asked if she spoke to a manager, the lady responded, “What good would it have done? I was the only Black in the company. Except for a few Caucasians everyone was Hispanic, and they made it clear they didn’t like me.” Not surprisingly, the Black woman was soon labeled a ‘troublemaker’ and fired.
Considering the horrors of past discrimination jointly overcome by America’s Black and Hispanic collective, contemporary Latin and African Americans cannot allow a few rotten apples to ruin the whole bunch via one race’s attempt to invoke some imaginary sense of ethnic superiority over the other. And to those who desire a new racial pecking order in America, remember that African Americans have in times past won many battles for racial equality and that if necessary, we will do it again! But why in God’s name should we have to?
Derek Smith is a freelance Christian author, speaker, and columnist. He’s also a federal civil rights investigator. Comments are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.