Wetbacks

I was only an illegal here in the States from Scotland for 11 years but in that time I ‘got it’. How could I really ‘get it’ coming from where I did though? My experience wasn’t exactly the same as some Guatemalan who walked a thousand miles across a desert! Well that’s true, but, coming up from Mexico where I was living for a year, and speaking street Spanish as I did, and being from the more gypsy-like traveling tradition anyway, my time illegally here was spent closer to the Latin American experience than most, and, now as a fully fledged American, I see things from that side and not the side people expect for a white boy.

People trash Mexico although it’s the coolest culture – very like Scotland in its’ outlook – Mexicans laugh at themselves as being worthless bueys and burros while they strike out on adventures that most Americans couldn’t imagine, let alone complete! Their stories getting here are epic, and you walk past them like they are nothing. 

That reminds me of something; the stories of the American frontier, of the influx of thousands of hungry settlers, straining and striving for a dream that was held in the ever-vanishing sunset that propelled people west to create the great American mythology. Just the same. Nothing different. Except Mexicans aren’t massacring Indians as they go. They’re just getting their cousins work. So not the same. Like me, everyone except the indigenous tribes are trespassers, and not that long ago either. When put in this perspective, why do so many Americans dare to denigrate ‘wetback’ immigrant culture? The only conclusion I can draw, logically, is that they are aware of the hypocrisy but don’t pay it no mind, adhering to the belief, therefore, that it’s ‘survival of the fittest’, and that ‘America’, as a melting pot, means ‘holding onto the turf you won’ . In other words ‘warfare’. 

So is this true? Is our society based on grabbing possessions and then holding them, regardless of ethic, of system, of ‘fairness’? Perhaps – it IS a capitalist society. But if so, then you white Americans must be prepared to wither soon watch your country turn brown as races intermix. It won’t stop if you curb immigration – they are in now and they will breed and the liberal side of society will undoubtedly relax rightwing laws that keep them boxed up, so they will escape their box, inter-wed, and soon, America will be brown. If you adhere to a system of ‘warfare’ then you will have ‘sot the war’. So I don’t think ‘warfare’ is the best system to live by. It’s a waste of good resources that could have been yours’ if there was ‘peace’. I think it’s time to make peace. It’ll work better for you.

But why am I focussing on white people? Illegality is opposed by the legal, not just the white.

I think the reason is that as I travelled; Texas, Nebraska, Tennesee, Maine, pick-up trucks and freight trains, heading for the next harvest, working in the fields with Pueblans and Michoacanas, I couldn’t help but be lumped in with them, and I got to see how white culture in this country still dominates, and still pulls the strings. Treatment can be harsh. Ridiculously harsh. And that is natural in life sometimes, but the problem comes with the following. They simply won’t do what the Mexicans – or myself at the time – would do. Every SINGLE time we had more than 3 white people in the fields on the team, the conversation (after about the first 3 hours of work) would start to heat up and slow down the working. Conversations between all three of them out the Mexicans surrounding them, who would ignore it and politely get on with what they were doing. Then, conversations about unions, about how bad was the pay, about resenting the fact that they were toiling. IThat they were, essentially, degraded by circumstances to doing what a Mexican should be doing as they were, after all, nonhuman. It would become annoying and distract the rest from doing what they do – working – like slaves. For you.

 

Wait! Is this going to turn into an anti-union rant?!  Not likely. My grandfather was a trade union leader and I have had my head smashed by quite a few batons during union protests. So it can’t. Im Scottish and that would like cutting off my manhood. Unions exist as a necessary safeguard of the collective worker against the forces of profit which will ALWAYS over-exploit them if left unchecked. They are a natural and healthy reaction. But humans are humans. When they gain the upper hand, they use it, and unions exploit too – exploit back – often decimating economies whereby, everybody suffers. 

And you don’t like it. 

I like it fine, when Im working a union job. In my legal life I had a couple. 

So I like it just fine!

But white America doesn’t. 

It complains endlessly about how high prices rise when unions demand all kinds stuff for their workers (like pay benefits and conditions). Then it looks at wetback culture, which asks for nothing,  and it drools. 

The wetbacks say “We will do it! You said ‘send us your poverty stricken and your sick’ Well that’s us and we will work your jobs. We are happy to do this for less and one day we will be legal and American and will go into politics and we will help run this country”. 

And, by default, America says ‘YES’. And prices stay low. And Mexicans become more American than us gringos.

 

Again I am faced with a challenge. How can this be explained? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that wetback labor in America keeps our prices low and keeps the economy fluid – which America demands. So why the ranting when you can’t have it both ways? 

Anyone who says ‘That’s bull. In MY area, we would take those low paid labor jobs!’ does not have the 11 years of daily experience that I have. No they wouldn’t. I saw it. I have the proof. Don’t try to convince me. Really – Texas, Nebraska, Tennesee and Miane. They are not rich states. White folks did NOT wanna do it. Only farmers who were small and had their own families and people come work the fields would have locals. Only locals who were motivated by helping Uncle Jimmy bring in his harvest would dare work. In open business?…. not a chance.

 

Again – theres an inherent flaw in the logic of these two contradictory understandings. So what the *** is going on?

 

I think people who oppose the influx of immigrants and even wetbacks are, for the most-part, thinking tribally. It’s understandable. We all had to come here and protect our own and maybe we still do. Erasing their consciences of the eradication of 95% of the indigenous population quickly and easily, they need a scapegoat by which to justify their own short-comings. I’m talking about my own people here. I have it too. Scottish, Irish. Often 3rd/4th generationists. Their life was way hard. We were coming from clearances, massacres and artificially induced famines. We were indentured servants and used to push out the frontier for the rich to follow and mop up the profits. We were hungry and we went for it and we won but what we won didn’t always work out. Appalachia become the icon. It was poor, gritty and tough, so the people followed, bringing in their stalwart-ism from the old country, carrying it through till now. I love it. I am it. And I hate it too cos it holds us back and makes us condemn the rats beside us while we beg for acceptance by the elite. Who was spat on once now is privileged enough to do the spitting. And people did spit on me. For 11 years I was spat on, and it’s fine. If you can’t get spat on some and get up and wipe it off you shouldn’t be here. Go home. Repatriate your old country that your people came from. This is no place for you. And if you don’t wanna work then let the wetbacks do it. 

 

We have to open up now. Work. Ex-slave cultures too. It’s not gonna work, just complaining. Being down on them. You are good at one thing. Everyone has one thing. Admit it. It’s your calling, now identify it, work it out, rock it and soar. This is America. It’s what we do.

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