This week’s Sunday paper had a comic strip called La Cucaracha by Lalo Alcaraz. It was one frame with a single picture. A white man was holding a sign that read “Immigrant guy selling oranges over there is hurting my case for panhandling.”
This one picture says everything I have verbalized to my family and in my head but never said out loud. Until now. Sometimes one cannot be quiet. Resilient people face the truth honestly and seek other ways of responding. To be quiet is not allowing others to envision a different picture.
I have lived in Southern California for 38 years and NEVER have I seen a Hispanic person begging. The most “begging” I have witnessed is a group of men standing at building supply store locations looking for work. Not a handout. Work!
And what is this work that some folks think is being taken from citizens: building houses, washing cars, picking crops, cleaning houses, picking up trash that can be redeemed for recycling, and caring for children of upscale families or our elderly parents.
I’d like to see the sons and daughters of those who would demonize entire nationalities spend just one day doing that kind of work. I’d be willing to bet they wouldn’t last a day. And, heaven forbid that one day these hard-working people might go to college, become professionals, earn good wages, and contribute even more to their communities.
Today I go to a nail salon owned by another immigrant. She was one of the “boat people”, having fled Vietnam and a journey too horrid to even recount.She not only became a licensed cosmetologist but continues to make additional money by selling items in her shop like gorgeous shawls from Vietnam, potted plants she has created, even containers filled with homemade soup.
Resilient people. Adaptable people. People who look at life’s situations and find what they can control and where they can take action.
You get the picture.