Why Do Mexicans Work as Day Laborers?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And is it true that Vikki Carr and Eydie Gormé are Mexicans?

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a young, white dude who drives to work every day, and on my commute, I get off the freeway and drive through the streets. Every day between the hours of 5 a.m. and noon, there are AT LEAST 100 Mexican men out there, waiting to be picked up for work of any kind. My question: Is it really worth it to stand out there all day and pray to God that they will get picked up? And even if they do, why did they get picked up? Did he look stronger and more capable than the other Mexicans? Did someone look at him and say, "Hmm, that one looks like he can lay some tile, and pour concrete"? I don't know how many get picked up every day, but I kind of think that unless you know the person who is looking to pick up some cheap labor, you are just a lucky pick. So is it worth it? Shouldn't a Mexican work harder to gain citizenship and actually pick up a real job? It makes me feel bad, too, that I absolutely hate my job, and really, I take it for granted that I even have one. Thanks for listening.

Office Drone Dave

DEAR GABACHO: Who says those jornaleros haven't already applied for citizenship or haven't been on the waiting list for years? Who says being a day laborer isn't a real job? I agree the employment isn't an ideal one—"Even if day laborers have many more good months than bad months, it is unlikely their annual earnings will exceed $15,000, keeping them at or below the federal poverty threshold," found a report co-authored by my old UCLA boss, Dr. Abel Valenzuela Jr., the nation's premier expert on day laborers, in his 2006 paper, "On the Corner: Day Labor In the United States"—but it's better than sitting on your ass and watching the umpteenth YouTube clip of cats.

 

DEAR MEXICAN: My father is Mexican-American, and my mother is white. Every time we go to visit older relatives on my dad's side, they always play the same music: Eydie Gormé and Vikki Carr. Why are they listening to this stuff by white people and not genuine, authentic Mexican music? Do they think they're above listening to real Mexican music? I've asked them, but they just keep on playing the same damn records.

No Mas Vikki o Eydie

DEAR HALF-WAB: Who says Gormé and Carr are white people? Who says your older relatives aren't listening to Mexican music? Carr's real name is Florencia Vicenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, and she's straight-up wab, son! She Anglicized her name back in the days when gabachos wouldn't accept brownies completely but never forgot her roots and has sung in Spanish since the 1970s, recording classic ranchera albums with Vicente Fernández and Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Gormé is of Sephardic Jewish heritage, which definitely isn't gabacho, and recorded one of the most-beloved albums of Mexican abuelitas everywhere: Amor, a collection of Latin American boleros with the Mexican group Trio Los Panchos that's all about Los Panchos' twinkling triumvirate of guitars and Gormé's sighing voice—just play "Sabor a Mi" to any chica, and watch her chonis melt away, the raison d'etre for hombres from sunrise to sunset.

 
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5 comments
Jimb3333
Jimb3333

And Eddie grew up speaking Ladrano, a dialect used by Jews in Spain. Her long-ago family was expelled from Spain in 1482, moved to Turkey and then to the United States.

Enjoy La Musica
Enjoy La Musica

Its actually 1492 and the language was Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish)...if spoken today all of us who speak spanish would understand it completely.. Think "Shakespearean Spanish"

Mmorante
Mmorante

Why do US citizens think it's easy to geta US citizenship ? There was an acount in the papers where ther was a naturalized citizen who had a 10 year old son in Mexico and tried for ten yearsto bring him to the US. But after ten years when his son was 20 it became more difficult to bring his son here.

Manuel Morante

909Jeff
909Jeff

"Why do US citizens think it's easy to geta US citizenship"

Because homie,

Like lady GaGa says we were born this way!

Bill T.
Bill T.

How about: 1. They work as day laborers because jobs are tight and it's either get an odd job occasionally or starve? 2. Who knows when one of those gigs might work into something at least more-or-less permanent? 3. You don't tap into the American dream by sitting on your butt and waiting for it to come to you.

 
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