Not Much Diversity in the Workplace by Andrew Esmundo

Notice the word on the door behind him is in Spanish.

Since the 90’s, it has almost always been rather obvious as to what the majority of fast food workers in Southern California share; their ethnicity. Go to any McDonalds, Carls Jr., Jack in the Box, or Burger King and you’ll see that almost all the workers are of some hispanic or latino background. Many times those workers also speak limited English and I am certain there are some who speak none at all. These jobs are dominated by hispanics and latinos because the jobs require little education although McDonalds does need a worker of 18 yrs. or older to have a GED.

I work at an In-n-Out restaurant and most people know it stands above the usual fast food places. Our starting pay is 10$/hour, which is 2$ more than minimum wage according to minimum-wage.org. Besides higher pay, workers are sent on all expenses paid trips to Disneyland and other parks. The managers whose stores ranked highest a few years ago were sent to Switzerland for free. The company also requires its employees to interact with customers daily, eliminating the possibly of a worker with very limited english. My store is located in Porter Ranch, an area that is predominantly white, middle eastern and asian. However, more than 75% of the workers at my store are hispanic or latino. Even the managers are predominantly hispanic. I have had the opportunity to work with over twenty different managers in the years that I’ve been with the company and only four managers were white. This is largely due however, to the fact that the company is owned by the Harry Snyder’s granddaughter Lindsey. The majority of my coworkers live in the areas of Panorama City, Pacoima, and Reseda, all heavily hispanic populated areas. My store isn’t even the closest In-n-Out to most of them. Two of my coworkers were actually active gang members for a long period of time. One of them, Ernie, is actually younger than I am and yet he’s been shot three times and stabbed eight times. The other is Benny, who may actually still be somewhat active in his gang. He is tattooed literally from his neck down to bottom of his feet. These are just the two extremes however. So why is this? Why does a company like In-n-Out, which is typically held with much higher standards still attract workers of a particular background? According to Cleaning Up/Kept Down: A Historical Perspective on Racial Inequality in “Women’s Work”, before World War II, “People of color were relegated to jobs considered too dangerous, demeaning or unstable for European-American workers. Because people of color could not compete on an equal footing with Whites, Whites monopolized “clean work.”(Glenn, 1336) Is this still true today? Do fast food restaurants demonstrate the same idea explained in the book, just a little evolved since then? I say yes but of course there are those who would disagree. Another little interesting aspect is that aside from the ethnic domination, there is even quite a bit of division of labor according to gender. Girls typically do the produce, such as preparing the lettuce, onions and tomatoes while the guys get the dirty work like taking out the trash or cooking on the grill. However I am not going to go deeply into that right now. Another topic for another blog perhaps.

Colored Domestic Workers

Sounds funny doesn’t it? Colored Domestic Workers would go to work from the moment you wake up to the moment you went to sleep. Doing all of the work you either are too busy to do or just don’t want to do. Basically, they are your maids. They cleaned up your mess, they made your food, cleaned your clothes, and took care of your children yet received some of the worse treatment and hardly any pay to live on. Believe it or not, this is how it was for black women in the 1960’s. They couldn’t get many jobs outside of domestic jobs so their only way to take care of their children was to care for yours and to become your maid.

In 2011, a movie titled The Help was released. The movie takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s. During this time period, things were still segregated and many in the south hoped to keep it that way. A young woman by the name of Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is back home after college to gain some experience to become a published writer. When she returns home, she realizes how badly the help around Jackson are treated and decides to write a book from the point of view least expected: the view of the help. As the stories come out of these women, we find out that most of the employers treat them badly, cut their pay, and would fire them without warning. Through these women we heard horror stories but we also heard stories of maids getting the treatment they deserve and more.

It is just a movie but it is also a pretty accurate look into how it was back then. Not only were they facing challenges working for the white people and barely living, they fear being killed and beaten just for being black. If you had these fears everyday and were treated terribly, how would you get back at them without putting on a full scale resistance? You would get back in different way. In a quiet way, like maybe taking leftover food, or a forgotten piece of jewelry. There is an instance in this movie where a maid had asked for an advancement in her pay so that she could send her sons to college. Her employer said no but in a rude way. The character’s name is Yule Mae and as Yule Mae was cleaning one day, she found a forgotten ring. Yule Mae took the ring and left the house with no one the wiser.

I’m not going to give away what happens to Yule Mae but in that scene it was a perfect example as to how black domestic workers silently strike against the treatment they are given. Forced to stay silent because if they act out of line, they are either beaten or killed or both. With these silent strikes they were able to make some sort of a dent in the umbrella that is racism.

While black women no longer work as domestic workers, they are still facing the same challenges today that they did then. They face low wages, few hours, and unfair treatment. Not only do they have to deal with being black but they also have to deal with being women. For example, my aunt worked for a big name company whose name I can’t mention because it has turned into a  case. She worked under a male boss who was also white. Day after day, he would make rude comments to my aunt. He has called her a mad black woman, referred to a member on her team (who was also a black woman) as her people, he gave her more work with snarky comments like “If you can do it right.” and “You’re a woman, you can understand this.” For 5 years, my aunt endured this racism and sexism.

We think because time has passed that the days of racism and sexism are gone but if you really look into it, there hasn’t been much improvement. What we all might wonder now is will they ever change, and if so, when?

 

-Britni Thomas

White People: Not so superior

 

Requires no explanation as to why its in this post. You know why he's here.

     

A famous hymn that was commonly sang in black churches had a particular line that went “love wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” This belief that being white is what’s right has been around for centuries and is still a rather common one even today in certain areas. For years, scientists conducted experiments in an attempt to prove that whites are superior to everyone else physically and mentally. Some even believed they had solid evidence to support it after comparing the physical characteristics of blacks with chimps. Hitler and his followers argued that those with blonde hair and blue eyes were typically dominant because they were descendants of Aryans, or “noble ones”(Ironic considering Hitler had neither blonde hair of blue eyes). These Aryans had extremely advanced weapons and were the first producers of scripture. Two points for white people. We must not forget either that white people landed the first man on the moon. One more point. Although whites have definitely had their share of progress and advancement, one must also point out their flaws. It is these flaws that have made white people the inferior race now in my opinion.

.       Even though the number of whites in prison compared to latinos or blacks is rather miniscule, I’ve always believed that white people committ more crimes that are either unreported or ignored. If a white officer pulls over one vehicle driven by a black man and one driven by a white man, whose do you think he is most likely to search? White people are given the benefit of the doubt that they are of good character and their integrity is above reproach unless or until proven otherwise. That is of course, absurd. Have you ever watched an episode of Cops? Ever notice just how many white people in the episodes are getting busted? These are usually just the petty crimes too. And if you think I’m just being racist against whites, consider this; a 2008 hate-crime report from the FBI showed that almost half of reported hate crimes are committed by whites.

Let’s now look at how extreme white people get. Who was it that assassinated Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King? Oh right, white men. The majority of pedophiles, serial killers, leaders of suicidal cults, and Catholic priests who sexually abuse their altar boys are WHITE. This shows that whites are typically the ones with the longest sentences too because of how extreme they tend to be. Timothy Mcveigh, the man who was responsible for the Oklahoma bombings, one of the most horrific acts of terrorism against the U.S., was white. One hundred sixty eight innocent people, many being children in a day care center, lost their lives that day and over five hundred were injured.   Part of the excessive violence from whites is due to the fact that in 10% of states (the majority being states with large, white conservative populations) there are more firearms dealers than there are gas stations. Also, statistics show that the race with the highest rates of heroin and crystal meth addicts is white.

Even with all of this, white supremacy stills grows. The largest white supremacist organization currently exists in Russia with a level of hatred and violence that only continues to grow. There are over a hundred assaults committed each and every single day in just Moscow. The gang with probably the most power in just about any U.S. prison is the Aryan Brotherhood, operating almost completely from within their cells. This growing wave of white arrogance and belief of racial supremacy must come to an end. There is no such thing as a “superior race”. White people just need to chill out.