Friday, March 28, 2008

Funny? Maybe. Sad? Definitely.

This video is supposed to be funny. Yeah, it is funny. But it’s also – and even more so – really frightening and sad. There’s actually two different points that I think are being made in this video:

1) That the illegal immigrants – while they are illegal – are human and deserve to be treated like human beings and not like things or cattle.

2) Be careful how you treat them because one day you might be in their position too. With all of our customer service and tech support going out of the country, all of our farmers going bankrupt and all of our money going to Iraq, this is not a far-fetched idea.

In my community, our one and only factory is closing down by 2010. What else are 3,000 factor workers going to do? While anyone can go back to school and start over at any age, it’s easy to say when we’re not in that position. Recently, in my town, a 59-year-old man who was laid off from his job jumped in front of a train. Sure he had lots of options. Apparently, he didn’t know what any of them were. Sad. Very sad.

On the first point, I’m not happy about the fact that we have hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens in this country. They use our hospitals and don’t pay for them, and their children, some of whom are born here which makes them citizens — a twisted idea in itself — and many who are not, go to our public schools for free. And they don’t pay any taxes. But on the flip side, whose fault is it that they’re here? Not theirs.

How can you blame someone for trying to make a better life? It’s not their fault they were able to get through the border. It’s ours. If we don’t want people walking over our borders or staying longer than their visa allows, then we should stop them.

Meanwhile, have you ever seen a street corner full of day laborers? I have. In my community we have a corner where the city even put up a “day laborers” sign. You should see how they converge by the dozens on a single truck when someone pulls up. And they stand out there in all kinds of weather, all day long. All they want to do is work. Is that so bad? They’ll do anything for any price just to survive, which is more than I can say for the spoiled rich teenagers who won’t even work in a grocery store. Or tennis moms who would rather spend all day at the spa than making her own spending money running a cash register. We should be grateful for some of these people who are willing to do the jobs that the average American thinks isn’t good enough for them.

Yes the illegal immigrant problem is completely out of control. But blame the politicians. Don’t blame the immigrants. They’re just trying to feed their families.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The U.S. Dept. of Census Is Misinformed

I believe the U.S. Dept. of Census is misinformed when it comes to those little check boxes on their forms, and on any other document in which they ask you for your race.

While there is only one check box for the entire black race, in fact, all people of color do not actually fit under one race. In fact, people from the Caribbean are very different – extremely different – from African Americans.

They don’t think alike. They don’t talk alike. They don’t dress alike. They don’t eat the same food. They don’t worship the same way. They don’t listen to the same music. They don’t dance the same. They are in fact, quite different. Yet, the U.S. Dept. of Census has but one box, labeled African American, where I think they should have two: one for African American and one for Caribbean/West Indian. I think this would provide a much more accurate representation of the American population.

Everyone talks about how the Hispanic population is growing. The Asian population is growing. What about the island population? Jamaicans, Haitians, Bahamians, Dominicans. There are more and more of them in the U.S. every day, but does the government really have an accurate read on their growth?

Think for a moment how this information is used. The make-up of your region’s population could determine how much federal and state funding your schools get and what the money is used for. It could play a role in which grants are set up, where they’re set up and how much money is put into them. It could make a difference where nonprofits set up shop, do their work and what they determine their mission to be.

It’s also used to deliver marketing messages. Today, it’s a top priority for marketers to create a message that is relevant to its audience. Marketers jump through hoops and over barrels on a daily basis to try to understand who their audiences are, where they are and how best to reach them without wasting their message on people it is not appropriate for. Marketers would definitely benefit from more accurate Census data.

Some people are uncomfortable filling in these boxes and feel they should not be there at all. But if they are going to be there, and we are all going to be required to fill them out, then at the very least, they should be accurate. It’s time for a change. I strongly recommend that the U.S. Dept. of Census add one more box to their population form – for Caribbean/West Indian. Let them stand up and be counted. They deserve it.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.