June 5, 2005

Migrants Can See What We Sometimes Forget

I was going to the store today and came to a four way stop that ALWAYS has someone at the corner holding a sign, begging for money. But for some reason, this time, no one was there. So that got me to thinking.

I realized that I had NEVER seen a migrant or immigrant worker on the corner begging for money. It’s always some middle aged white guy who looks perfectly capable of putting in a good day’s work. Even though we have a ton of Mexican migrant workers in our area because we live in a part of Oregon that has a lot of agriculture industry. Even more telling is the town I was in when I noticed this is a town known for having a heavy migrant Mexican population.

So, why is that? I guess you can assume that if someone were here illegally, he’d/she’d prefer to not be conspicuous. But what about the legal workers that are relatively poor? Why aren’t they camped out on a traffic light corner?

Because they have pride. This has a lot to do with what I wrote about in one of my previous posts about the rich getting richer and the poor getting lazier here and here.

The poor in this country are so well off compared to the poor in other countries that I guess some of them figure that it’s easier to stand at a street corner and beg for money than it is to go out in the field and do some hard work or flip a burger… etc.

We don’t know the situation someone is in… whether it was a result of poor choices in their life (chances are good that’s what it is) or they’ve been dealt some really bad luck, health wise… whatever. But I would assume these bad situations would also happen to Mexican migrant workers in the same town. I mean, come on. The chances are pretty good, some of them need more money than they have that month to make ends meet.

But I’ve never once seen any of them beg.

Is it a mystery or a difference in societal norms? Where is the American pride? Sadly… gone, in many. It has nothing to do with economics. It has to do with cultivating a welfare mentality. We’re not as far gone as most European countries. (They don’t have to stand on a corner to beg… their governments will give them money while in the comfort of their own government subsidized homes.)

I mourn the loss of rugged individualism and relying on yourself to get by. Since I’ve been an adult, I have never ONCE received unemployment or welfare in any way, shape or form. Even though I’ve been unemployed earlier in life.

If you live your life under the impression the public or government owes you something, your life isn’t yours anymore. It belongs to those that you rely on for help.

You show me one person on unemployment who has a butt load of self confidence and is able to hold their head high when walking out their front door and I’ll show you someone who is acting out of sheer desparation to keep whatever dignity that they might have once had.

If you’re always trying to create value in what you do and you make good choices throughout life, you’ll never have to worry about standing on a corner, begging for money.

Back to the migrant question. Here’s why I don’t see them begging. They’ve come from a place where they know TRUE poverty and hardly any hope to change that. They probably look at that corner beggar with more disdain than your average American. Because to them, that beggar is standing in the middle of an island of hope and opportunity, just waiting to be grabbed and all they can think to do is grab a sign and beg.

That’s the definition of lazy. Not to mention, excrutiatingly pathetic.

2 Comments »

  1. Dan,

    Your observation has a few logical flaws.

    Immigration policies attracted workers from different countries according to skill requirements. If you looked at immigrant workers, you might have made the observation that Porteguese workers tended to be work in construction careers and not proceed to advanced education. If you made this observation, you would not be correct in concluding that Portuguese in general were not just as capable of others in succeeding at advanced education. It is just that policies attracted individuals for the purpose of meeting a skills shortage in construction. Likewise, many migrants to the USA or other countries tend to be the cream of the crop of these other nations and they get selected because they are skilled. It is incorrect to make the statement that somehow native white-men are less capable at making-it because a) they are more numerous and you are bound to see more examples of white men on the streets because of this and b) you are not comparing individuals with the same education and skill attainment.

    While you are correct in saying that the poor in industrialized nations are better off than those in developing countries - this advantage can change, especially if social supports are removed and individuals are left without access to basic necessities. A woman in Indonesia may maim her child in order for it to be a more effective beggar. You do not see her or her child in America because they have been screened out by policy requirements.

    “If you’re always trying to create value in what you do and you make good choices throughout life, you’ll never have to worry about standing on a corner, begging for money.”

    The above statement is a myth. Make a list of what these good choices are and I will provide you with examples that are exceptions to your rule. There is a lot of valuable work that no one is willing to pay for: house work, taking care of less fortunate. The world never has shortage of work but it does have a shortage of people willing to pay for every service that is needed.

    Comment by Jean — August 16, 2005 @ 7:12 pm

  2. Go watch “The Pursuit of Happiness”…
    .
    Stop generalizing.
    .
    Use actual data (not anecdotal evidence)to support your claims
    .
    Have a great holiday and good luck with your future posts!

    Comment by Leo — December 19, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment