Thursday, June 17, 2004


This story about some Hispanic building workers having an accident with a nail gun had a sequel. The owner of the site reports that he got an email from Lucie of Rhode Island as follows:

"I feel the final comment on the nail gun story was pretty cold hearted and unfeeling. It was a clever comment, but a quick joke at an unfunny situation. Think about the people involved, and how they have to make a living. The Mexican population lives in a constantly put down situation. Bad pay, little respect, poor living conditions, etc., and now a national joke about a pretty painful accident. I'm not a 'bleeding heart', but I am a woman who has lived 70 plus years and is finally getting the picture about respecting others."

He summarizes his reply as follows:

"I noted to Lucie that first, ALL of the Hispanic-surnamed readers who commented on the story liked the tagline -- they noted they *appreciated* my comment because someone has shown, in public, that they understand their situation. (Unfortunately, I didn't keep any of the comments to publish since I didn't expect ANY criticism of the story, and Lucie's complaint came much later.) I know that just because they had a Hispanic name doesn't mean they're Mexican, nor does it mean that no Mexicans were upset by the story, but that's what I have to go by. I went on to tell Lucie that it's patronizing and paternalistic for her to speak for others about how they should feel about their own nationality and what should offend their pride. And, finally, I noted that her statement that Mexicans all live in poor situations could well be considered racist -- I know PLENTY of Mexican-Americans that are intelligent, successful, and hard-working pillars of their communities, and it's quite unfair to lump them all together in such a negative way!

To her great credit, Lucie replied: "I know I did lump them all together and that was wrong. It just hit a button with me and I responded. I will try from now on to 'think before I write, and even more before I speak'. I apologize for my inadvertent smugness.""

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