Mexicans and Mahopac: II

Two days ago, in a Facebook posting, a guy from my hometown named Jim called me “an anti-American asshole.” Why? Because I had the nerve to express empathy for the plight of Mexican immigrants lining Mahopac’s Route 6, seeking out work (I didn’t say I support illegal workers. I didn’t say they deserve jobs that should go to documented U.S. workers. I said I have empathy for their plights—that seeing anyone lining a street in the 90-degree heat, desperate for a gig, deserves sympathy). Jim also expressed disdain and confusion about the Mexicans, and why police don’t simply arrest them. He used an insanely derogatory term to describe them. Like, horrifyingly offensive.

Initially, I decided I would ignore Jim’s posting and move forward. But then I thought about it. And thought about it again. Throughout my youth, I too often ignored the Jims of my hometown. When someone made a racial slur, I often pretended I didn’t hear it. When my seventh grade teacher (yes, my seventh grade teacher) told us how blacks can’t ski and laughed about Jews “roasting” in the ovens, I silently squirmed. Now, though, I’m an adult. I own a voice. I am not intimidated by people like this, and I don’t feel compelled to conceal or run from their ignorance. In fact, just the opposite. To me, being a racist or a sexist or a homophobe or—in this case—an apparent xenophobe demands you to be called out; to be uncovered for your true feelings.

So let me be clear: I see immigrants sitting on the side of a road, itching for work—I feel sadness for them. And you, Jim, should, too. Not because they’re documented or illegal; not because you’d like them personally or hate them personally. You should feel empathy because, come day’s end, they’re human friggin’ beings, and life has led them to a roadside in the midst of Nowehere Bumblehell, N.Y., trying to land a gig that’ll probably pay $8 or $9 per hour. You know why they’re there, Jim? Probably because, back home, the pay sucks. And they have families to support. And Mexico, in 2011, happens to be remarkably dangerous.

If that doesn’t at least give you pause … if that doesn’t make you think, “Man, it must suck to be them,” well, one must question your humanity.

Oh, and one last thing? Who the hell are you? What I mean is, how does owning a company, or being a sports writer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a janitor, provide you with exclusive ownership of the American dream? You’re here for one reason: Blessed luck. The Mexican getting killed by a cartel is there for one reason: Bad luck. So don’t treat citizenship as something you earned via greatness or hard work; don’t act as if it’s your possession, prized and secure. Because, truth be told, you’re proud to be an American based solely on womb placement. Or, in more simple terms, blind luck.

And before you start screaming “Speak English”—learn to spell.

Seriously.

25 thoughts on “Mexicans and Mahopac: II”

  1. Jim should remember that his ancestors came here to find something too. Isn’t it profoundly anti-American to come to this country to prosper and then to close the door behind you? Whatever happened to ‘give us your tired, your hungry, your poor’? People said about the Irish, Italians, Jews, and Asians what they are now saying about Mexicans. This country would be nowhere without immigrants..and it’s not like the folks Jeff is talking about are going to steal Jim’s job – they’re looking for a low wage for a damn hard day of work. Give them a break.

  2. @ Byron…..writing an article calling people who live in a town 3,000 miles from the Mexican border racists, just because they are fed up with illegal immigration does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the problem.
    Jeff, what are your solutions?
    Send the entire town of Mahopac to an ethnic sensitivity class?
    Seriously, this is a big problem with the liberal press, blame everybody else EXCEPT for the people who are breaking the law. Tea Party people are fed up with the government for running up the debt…but the liberal media calls them racists. People don’t want a grand mosque built 2 blocks from the WTC….again, they get called racists. Democrats can’t win elections in the South, why?
    The entire South is racist. That’s the Left’s answer for everything!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Bobby,

    1. Jeff didn’t call anyone racist.

    2. Jeff is responding to one person who insulted him, not speaking to the ‘entire South’ or anything else.

    3. Jeff is not attempting to offer solutions. Instead, he’s simply commenting on a basic human emotion that he feels, and where that basic human emotion comes from.

    If you’re going to attack someone for a post of theirs, at least address the content of the post. It’s the least you can do.

  4. @ Drew….Jeff writes posts like this all the time about his hometown and then calls anyone who disagrees with him racist, ignorant, etc…this is part 2 of his article from Friday. According to Jeff, we should look the other way or feel sorry for these people who are BREAKING the law. According to Jeff, it’s the ignorant, racist people of his hometown that are the problem. I counter that the real anger the citizens of Mahopac have is toward the ineffective Government that is doing NOTHING to stop this. How are people traveling 3,000 miles to little know Mahopac, NY WITHOUT a massive criminal enterprise that is getting them there. The Left always blames the victims (in this case, the tax paying citizens of Mahopac) if it suits THEIR cause.

    1. Bobby, you symbolize my primary problem with right-oriented politics and policies: a complete and total lack of empathy. yes, these people are probably illegal immigrants. yes, they’re breaking the law. but how can you NOT feel something for them. i mean, why do you think they’re here? for kicks? for joy? no, to make a living and, in most cases, send money home to support a family. i ask this for the millionth time, and am yet to receive an answer from those of your ilk: who the fuck are you? what i mean is, why are you an american? because of something amazing you did? because you’re a veteran of war? No, because your mother’s womb was based upon American boarders. So fuck you and your self-righteous “These people are breaking the law …” bullshit. If you were Mexican, and had the chance to come to American and earn 10 … 20 … 30 times the wages that are available back home, plus do it in a place cartel-free, you would.

  5. Well said Jeff. For the ultra-right like Mr. Fetter, everything seems to be a black and white issue; and I mean that figuratively and literally.

  6. Well, honestly, we can discuss human dignity and a person’s right to improve his status in life. But really what we’re doing is legitimizing the marginalization of a migrant working force so we can buy cheap produce.

    We balk at exploitation around the world, but accept it at home. We rail against governments who do nothing to improve the lives of their citizens, yet we allow Mexico and Central American states to create environments of such despair as to ensure a near-endless supply of cheap, easily exploited laborers floods in across our borders.

    If the issue is human dignity, why are accepting of migrant workers and employers who can overwork and underpay them without fear of reprisal from the law? And why are we complicit in allowing Mexico and Central America to use our country as a safety valve so they don’t have to address their (very real) social, economic, and political issues?

    It seems to me that if we really cared, if we really had empathy for our fellow man, we wouldn’t tolerate any of this — and we’d suck it up as we paid extra at the grocery store.

  7. Jeff,

    We are ALL lucky to be born on this side of American boarders and I am thankful everyday for that. Believe it or not, I actually contribute and raise money for charities to help people in 3rd world countries.
    If I were Mexican, and had the chance to come to America and earn 10 … 20 … 30 times the wages that are available back home I would STILL follow the LAWS of Mexico and America and come here the RIGHT way. How else am I going to come back to a cartel-free Mexico if a pay some coyote thousands of dollars to sneak me across the border and then transport me 3,000 miles to Mahopac. That’s WHY these cartels are growing so strong. Right now our economy CANNOT handle this type of illegal immigration. Our ancestors waited in line to get to this country and I do not have empathy for people who break the rules. I feel sorry for the kids they drag over here but because the illegals pay these cartels to sneak them over here, the make the situation worse in Mexico and worse for the US.

    1. sorry, bobby, v-e-r-y easy for you to say you’d abide by the laws, sitting at your laptop in X town. America, sipping a cup of whatever, your feet up, your mind relaxed …

  8. Why do we have borders then Jeff? Why don’t we let just anybody, walk or swim in here an do whatever they want? I can go to ancestory.com and find actual records of my ancestors legally and properly arriving here.I see the signed papers at the port on Antwerp and the papers they signed at Ellis Island. You liberals make excuses for everybody. Just because they got dealt a harder hand in life is no excuse for breaking the law and contributing to the cartels that are HARMING their country (and ours too!) I think you write posts like this just to dis your hometown yet you provide no ideas or solutions to correct this problem that is plaguing America? What should we do Jeff, hug them and sing Kumbaya? Have fun in your imaginary utopia while the rest of us deal with the REAL world.

    1. Easy solution: Amnesty. It’s the only way. And while the Fetters of the world will say, “It rewards criminal activity!” show me another solution.

      Furthermore, you didn’t respond to my point: Were you in their shoes, you likely would do the exact same thing. What difference do laws make when you’re starving? When you have a family to feed? Etc? Fuck, if my family needed to make ends meet, I’d do THE EXACT SAME THING—no questions ask. Just because laws exist does not, in every case, mean I need to make sure they apply to me. In other words, if it’s between surviving or not surviving, I choose survival.

      Final point, Bobby. Your type (foaming conservatives) ALWAYS posterize the illegals. That’s the whole sell (just ask Jan Brewer): Rapists, thieves, criminals, etc. Well, you controlled the presidency AND congress, and did shit to fix it (except for the impractically lame idea of a fence. Nice job on that one). You blame libs, libs, libs, yet the Republican Party has certainly had its day—and certainly will again. Yet politicians from your side, with rare exception, do shit about it.

      Why? Probably because there’s no legit solution.

  9. Sounds like the Right we know and love. When out of power it’s all, “Accountability, accountability, accountability!” but once in office they sure won’t take responsibility.

    Great post, Jeff.

  10. Jeff, you have a great blog but you’re 100% wrong on this.

    Why stop here, let’s give the illegals welfare benefits and unemployment as well. Heck, why doesn’t the government subsidize their home loans so they can be homeowners (American dream)?

    1. Horace, sometimes there’s simply no solution—and this is one of those times. What’s your plan? Deport everyone? Not possible. There’s just no right way.

  11. One solution my friends and I have been kicking around is instead of a fence build a soccer field. Any Mexican male between the ages of 19-25 who is attempting to cross is taken to the field for a skills evaluation. If he is talented enough..BOOM! Immediate citizenship and a place on the U.S. roster to hopefully shore up that godawful defense. Sarcasm folks…pure sarcasm.

  12. So Mr. Pearlman, you’re saying that you are living in Mexico and starving but since you love your family so much you’d be willing to do ANYTHING, regardless of laws. So you give ALL of your life savings to a “generous” coyote (who is performing a selfless act)who then packs you up like freight and smuggles you off. Then you get in the US and have to pay off even more shifty go- betweens to get a $7 an hour job and you have to sneak around all the time. You pay no taxes to live here, yet if you have to go to the hospital, your new country picks up the tab. You spend years and years away from your family until they save up enough money to bribe the cartel to sneak them in here too. But the coyote doesn’t just want money for smuggling your wife in, he wants special favors from her as well. Well Jeff, I guess you love your family more than I do.
    Let’s give 20 million people amnesty. I hope your next book does well for you, as your taxes are going way up to support all these “new” Americans.

    1. so what do you wanna do, bobby? give us a fucking solution, and not mere whining? gonna rope ’em all up, one by one? guess what the price on that will be? oh, here’s an idea: let’s start checking the IDs of people who “look” Mexican! That’s a very Republican (2011) solution. Oh, I know—The Fence!!!

      You blather and blather and blather—but you have ZERO solutions. Zero.

  13. I already gave you my solution in the comments section of part one of your hometown hating post.

    https://jeffpearlman.com/mexicans-and-mahopac/

    Are you sure your are not Christian Jeffrey? Your solution is “turn the other cheek”. Watch someone break the law, turn the other way a PRETEND it’s not a problem.Watch these parasites destroy our shaky economy while greedy employers exploit them? Jeff’s solution…write an article calling EVERYONE in his hometown a racist….good solution. Oh wow, the government took 49% of my paycheck to PAY for all the services these tax cheats use. Jeff’s solution…look the other way and have emPATHy.
    Liberals are PATHetic.

    1. Bobby, I owe you an apology—missed that. Here it is, for anyone interested …

      @ Jim K. My solution…first and foremost SECURE OUR BORDERS. If they were secure to begin with we would NOT have this problem. Second, crack down on employers of illegal immigrants hard. Publicly embarrass them for trying to cheat the system, just like they do with “Johns” when they want to crack down on prostitution. Obviously, we cannot send 20+ million of them back as that would be costly and dangerous. We should offer a “path” to citizenship for those with families and anchor babies but not expedited. They should have to wait as long as someone who PROPERLY files for citizenship. We do need to send some of them back to set an example and especially ones with criminal records. We need to promote a culture here in the US for employers to FEAR trying to break the rules and exploit ANY workers. We need to stop looking the other way and enforce laws that are on our books. If our economy can improve, then there will be ample opportunities to LEGAL immigration in this country.

Leave a Reply