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That's the first thing my 15-year-old son told me yesterday afternoon when he came home from school.

No, "Hi Mom, what's going on?" or "Hey, what's for dinner?" or "Can you get this juice stain out of my shirt?" He was all about "the Mexicans this" and "the Mexicans that."  

After I picked my jaw off the floor, I sat him down and set him straight.

First off, I don't tolerate that nonsense in my house, so I was determined to get to the bottom of it.  

He told me they had a substitute teacher yesterday in history class. They were discussing the Industrial Revolution, and how the face of the country changed because of machines.

Well, it seems the substitute got bored or whatever, and the kids started talking amongst themselves.  I guess the conversation segued from the immigration rush during that part of US history to the current immigration situation now.    

Somehow the conversation shifted to somebody saying "Those illegals are coming over here stealing our jobs."

I asked him where'd they get that idea and he said one of the boys mentioned his dad had told him. Then another one brought up a commercial that's been playing on MSNBC for the past week.  I've seen that commercial (God, it's dreadful), and it usually plays during the evening pundit shows, so I doubt the kids were watching it.  Obviously they got it from their parents.

Anyway, I told my son the 'illegal job stealing mime' is a lie rich people and Republicans use to divide and conquer.  It's the same lie the Planter Class told the poor farmers in the late 1800's when they decided to drive a wedge between poor whites and free blacks.  

I told him if anyone is stealing jobs today it's corporations who send work to other countries.  He didn't understand that, so I reminded him about the time he called the help desk when his game software broke and he got that guy with an accent he couldn't understand.  

I said, "You were talking to somebody in India, babe.  That's what shipping jobs overseas is all about.  They close the help desks here so they don't have to pay Americans a living wage, and then they hire people in other countries and pay them less to do the same work."

That immediately elicited a frown on his face.  He remembered how angry and frustrated the conversation had made him.  He couldn't understand what the man was trying to tell him to do, and the man hadn't a clue what he was saying.

Long story short, I let him know the so-called Mexicans coming over here are only trying to provide for their families, and a lot of those who've just arrived are poor themselves working at jobs that pay low wages.  I said they're just the latest scapegoats for the rich and powerful to use in their divide and conquer schemes.  Before that, it was "the blacks are taking our jobs" or "the blacks are taking our scholarships, blah, blah, blah."  

I concluded that the usual whaaaambulance theme is that somebody IN AMERICA is allegedly taking something that somebody else IN AMERICA feels they're entitled to.  Strange how they don't give a damn that those OUTSIDE OF AMERICA are taking things that we are ALL entitled to.  The corporate puppet-masters take great pains to keep the lizard brains from connecting the dots.

I'm sure my son's head was spinning when he left my room, but I had to set him straight.

This is a war for hearts and minds, folks.  I thought it was just the adults, but the sewage is seeping into our children.  I don't care if they don't want to listen.  You sit them down and nip it in the bud. Don't let those poison seeds take root.

I meant to write this diary earlier yesterday, but I was so angry I had to wait until I could find the right words. The children truly are the future, and the way we shape it is through them.

One thing's for damn sure.  I wish MSNBC would pull that disgusting immigration commercial.

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Comment Preferences

  •  great post... (22+ / 0-)'s funny how "the Mexicans" are simultaneously all on welfare and also stealing all our jobs.

    Prison rape is not funny.

    by social democrat on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 11:13:00 PM PDT

  •  Funny, most of those jobs don't have any (4+ / 0-)

    white applicants.  Just tell those kids they're plenty of jobs for white folks in Alabama and Georgia where they've banned "mexican" labor.

    Somehow, I just don't see those kids parents applying.  

    "Wall Street expertise, an industry in which anything not explicitly illegal is fair game, and the illegal things are fair game too if you think you won't get caught." — Hunter

    by Back In Blue on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 12:15:01 AM PDT

  •  Economic growth means expanding the 'pie' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo, efrenzy

    in India, Mexico, and the US.

    It's not zero-sum.

    Dems need to keep that in mind any time we discuss international economics: expand the pie.

    Dean Baker's book, The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive, is also a good reminder to avoid simple memes and framing. (He's a critic of trade agreements that pit blue-collar workers against each other but protect white-collar jobs.)

    •  White collar jobs are not protected. Not by a (0+ / 0-)

      long shot.  Your next radiology diagnostic may be read by a physician located in Myanmar.  If you take your taxes to be prepared by any of the chains, they could be prepared by someone in Afghanistan.  Secure white collar jobs in the US is a thing of the past now.

      •  What a happy day that would be! :-) (0+ / 0-)

        I have ties to both Burma and Afghanistan. The idea that they might be competent enough to perform at a US level fills me with hope.

        As I said, we need to think of an expanding economic pie, in which everyone's standards can grow. To get there, the US desperately needs to bring our educational standards up to world-class levels.

        •  By the way, it's already happening. They are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          third Party please

          paid pennies compared to their US counterpart.  They are competent because their countries are willing to pay for their citizens to get educated in the US, or greater Europe.  The economic pie is expanding at the cost of US standards of living.  The rest of the world is not being brought up to our level, we are being shoved to theirs.  US politicians don't give a shit about education.  They're interested in their next donation, which costs US citizens their 'security'.

          •  zero-sum thinking (0+ / 0-)

            Do you have any links on white-collar service-jobs in Afghanistan and Myanmar, that are cutting into US jobs? I'd love to see them!

            What matters in salaries is the "unit labor cost", which measures productivity as well as wages. American labor still has among the lowest unit labor costs in the world, because we are productive. But we need better public education for all, if we are to keep this up.

            US standards of living are not being cut by the rise elsewhere. They are being cut by policies that channel money from our middle-class to our wealthy; cut by the lack of universal healthcare; cut by falling education levels (for which both parties are to blame); cut by Supreme Court rulings that put no limits on campaign financing (Santa Clara; Buckley v Valeo; Citizens United); etc.

            Blaming Mexico, India, China, Afghanistan (?), Myanmar (?), etc. for our economic woes is as xenophobic and uninformed as blaming immigrants for unemployment here.

            •  All Of Which Sounds Really Great (0+ / 0-)

              What matters in salaries is the "unit labor cost", which measures productivity as well as wages. American labor still has among the lowest unit labor costs in the world, because we are productive. But we need better public education for all, if we are to keep this up

              Unless you understand that 'productivity' is defined as doing more work with fewer people.

              Blaming Mexico, India, China, Afghanistan

              Acknowledging that labor arbitrage is occurring, and that the beneficiaries of that arbitrage are primarily low wage emerging is merely acknowledging reality.

              I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

              by superscalar on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 09:47:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Look At The Wiki Link On (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Global Labor Arbitrage

              What the Wiki page lays out is what is factually happening 'on the ground'. Acknowledging that it is happening is not 'blaming' anybody, and it isn't 'xenophobic', or 'uninformed'.

              It is I would submit very informed, and simply a statement of reality.

              Also, if I am going to blame anybody it would be politicians in this country, of both parties, who crammed so-called 'free trade' (which is a ludicrous term in itself given what is actually occurring) down everybody's throat and are now tripping over each other to point the finger anywhere but at themselves for the results.

              I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

              by superscalar on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 10:02:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

                Sorry can't type long today, busy day.

                Briefly: yes, productivity means doing more with less labor and/or less capital, and that's a good thing. There is always more (including leisure industries, the arts, technology, research) that can be done. We are not Luddites.

                World living standards have improved dramatically over the past 100 years, in both the US and low-wage countries:

                That Wikipedia page on 'global labor arbitrage' is weak, in data, analysis, and peer-reviewed studies. Four out of its seven citations cite Paul Craig Roberts, who seems to be a renegade Reaganite (in the Pat Buchanan school). Two of the seven support more open immigration.

                The broader concern for me is environmental (climate chaos, etc.).

            •  Hum.. Mine... I, and my fellow contract (0+ / 0-)

              mainframe computer programmers, were delivered a thinly veiled threat that if we don't some how manage to speed things up, our jobs will be outsourced to India.  We're talking about a complete system conversion from IMS driven data to DB2.  There are 100 pgms, 14 tables (insert, select, update, and delete SQL calls), and 4.5 pgmrs to do the work.  The second pgm I worked on for this project contained had 8 new SQL calls.  Then the jackasses in the corner offices seem to think that we should be able to complete this, testing included, by next March.  The average length of each pgm is 5000 lines of code that must be gone through, not to mention the plans, binds, copylibs, and a bunch of other stuff that has to happen in order for this to actually work.

              I'm good, I did manage to spec and code 9 pgms in two weeks on a previous project.  But, that project was pretty easy by comparison.  Just converting IMS reads to DB2 selects on 5 tables.  But, 4 of us managed to spec, code, test, and implement 51 pgms, 5 tables, jcl, and who remembers what else in 4 weeks.  No errors.

              Considering what I heard from the attempt to do the rules mining of the code, the Indian team is pretty clueless.  Most of the time the result is that the field names would be changed and that'll be about it.  No clean compiles, let alone compiles.  No testing.

              So, my livelihood is directly affected.  I don't see why I should have to give up everything so that someone else, who may have been less fortunate than myself, can have a chance at the good life.  I've already given up continuous employment security and reasonable health care.

  •  You might also want to point out to your son (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, mtnlvr1946, MaikeH

    that Mexican immigrants are also creating jobs in the USA. They buy food, clothing, houses, furniture. They eat in restaurants, attend movies, rent movies, go on trips. All of this creates jobs

    (I know in my community that Latino immigrants, scrimping and saving to buy houses, helped keep the real estate market from falling even further during the real estate meltdown. I don't even want to think what would have happened without the housing demand their growing numbers have created.)

    And, contrary to what Romney claims, that also pay taxes. Mostly at a higher rate than he does.

  •  ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, CatM

    I just want to understand the logic here...

    Saying foreigners are coming here to work for companies and thus stealing American jobs is wrong.

    Saying companies are exporting jobs so foreigners can steal American jobs in their own country is right?

    Am I missing something here?

    •  The latter explains where all the jobs did go. nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:44:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you mean to tell me that when I walk on to (0+ / 0-)

        a construction site (and I do all the time) and everyone on that site has no papers and 95% of the workers are from Mexico and the other 5% are from variously Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, that I am delusional? I guess white collar jobs count, blue collar don't.

        There's a difference between animosity for the people and animosity for the system that encourages those people to come here at great risk so that both they and American workers can be exploited.

        As long as WFBMM's son wasn't speaking in a bigoted way about Mexicans or illegal immigrants I see no harm in admitting the obvious truth that the government and big business encourage low skilled low paid illegal labor importation.

        When we lie to our children they begin to question other things we might tell them.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:34:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exporting Jobs To Cheaper Labor (0+ / 0-)

      Is bad. Importing cheaper labor to jobs is good.

      Supporting union labor is good, supporting scab labor is even better.

      You just have to get used to the logical twists and turns and then it all makes sense.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:40:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've seen that MSNBC ad too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, efrenzy

    I hated it.

    This anti-immigrant sentiment is all over the place right now. I live in the UK. We spent the weekend at my in-laws'. My father-in-law said over dinner that there's too much immigration, right in front of me. I'm American and moved here in 2008 to be with my British husband. Of course, I know he wasn't talking about me. He was talking about Eastern Europeans (Polish people, especially), they've been the target recently.

    My mother-in-law (who is French, by the way, so also an immigrant) during the same visit told us that she read in the paper (and I have a feeling I know which one) that foreigners can just walk into any GP's office and get free treatment. This isn't true. The GP's office has to ask for proof that you're here legally and if you're not entitled to free NHS care, you're supposed to be billed later. But this is all up to each individual GP office so the enforcement is not very consistent. But it's not the immigrants' fault! Unfortunately, incendiary and misleading newspaper articles like that have really affected the way a lot of people feel about immigrants.

  •  lovely teachable moment. Is your son capable of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    relaying the help-desk story reliably back to his friends? I sure hope so because that is the way to spread understanding. Good on you for unraveling the non sequitur and fixing the misconception. Listening to what the kids have sucked up from their parents' world is an important clue to our future, far beyond which nursing home they're gonna park us in (or not).

  •  The Poles, Chinese, Italians, Irish... (0+ / 0-)

    We have a rich history of scapegoating others during economic uncertainty.

    Any uncertainty for that matter.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:42:28 AM PDT

    •  Mexico Has Dominated The U.S. Immigration System (0+ / 0-)

      For more than two decades, and I have not seen any major political figure advocating for changing the U.S. family based immigration system.

      For 2010, Table 3 of U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2010 shows that citizens of Mexico were granted 13.3% of all LPR's, more than the next two countries China and India combined, and more than all of Europe for 2010. For the year 2009, Mexican citizens accounted for 14.6 percent of all LPR's, more than the next three countries combined, and half again as much as all of Europe
      At the same time about 60% of all illegal immigrants are from Mexico.

      What you call 'scapegoating' is in may respects people simply asking for immigration law to be enforced.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:48:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am *not* down with denigrating Indians either (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Look, I am #1: hispanic, and #2: work in a technology consulting field among the most impacted by outsourcing (to Indian companies like Wipro, TCS, Infosys, etc.).    

    You can't on the one hand rail against people losing employment opportunities to Indian outsourcing, and then on the other hand rail against people that might be concerned that illegal immigration is harming their own employment opportunities in fields like construction, service industry, etc.   You can't credibly argue that the hiring of undocumented immigrants hasn't depressed wages in some fields and led to decreased opportunity in many cases for some communities really need those jobs the most.

    My main problem with the rhetoric on illegal immigration is that even though I am a US citizen, I feel delegitimized by the us-against-them, "take our country back" attitude of most illegal immigration opponents.  I feel that there is an effort by those on the right to say that Latin Americans can never be "real Americans" and that our contributions don't matter.   But I can't blind myself to the legitimate economic concerns that a lot of people have because they feel like their own economic opportunities have been decreased by the hiring of lower-paid undocumented immigrants.

    •  This Is Why Barack Obama (0+ / 0-)

      And the Democratic Party can't get any traction on the whole 'evil offshorer' attacks on Romney.

      1.) The Democratic Party is just as complicit as the Republican Party in the offshoring of jobs.

      2.) The Democratic Party 'tent' includes the socialists, the 'one worlders', the 'free traders', etc. who not only do not see anything wrong with offshoring but they actively encourage the 'race to the bottom' i.e. 'the chinese deserve jobs too'.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 06:27:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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