First off I would like to say that each one of us does some form (even in the smallest amount) of stereotyping…maybe it’s in regards to someone’s race, their age, how they dress, the religion they practice, where they shop, the kind of car they have, the kind of food they like, or even the kind of computer they buy. Bottom line is that we each have judgments about something. I think most people’s judgments are innocent, harmless, and truly insignificant.
It takes a lot to shock me…but I’ve been shocked. Recently I have been interacting with a potential customer for my painting company in which I have provided two bids over the course of 12+ months and putting up sample colors on the outside of their home. All told I have invested roughly 5 hours of my time and about $50.00 out of my pocket thus far with these folks. On one of my previous visits they told me that they don’t want illegal Mexicans working on their house, to which I assured them that was not an issue and I would handle it.
Then, today (yesterday) happened. I was over at their home applying three more sample colors and the lady said again that they don’t want Mexicans working on their house, and I said that would not be an issue in regards to illegal immigrants. She then clarified her statement with something similar to this, “No, we don’t want any Mexicans on our property”.
I’m 35 years old and I have never had anyone come out so bluntly and brazen with a statement like that. She said that they have had a couple of bad experiences and said that if I had a Mexican on her property he would be looking in their windows and all that kind of stuff, which seems to imply that she thinks they would go into their house and steal stuff…or something like that.
I do have one Mexican guy that has worked for me off and on for over three years…every single other customer I have had remarks on how kind he is, how helpful he is, how hard working he is, and how polite he is. All of this leads me to this…there are “bad people” in every single religion, every single race and ethnicity, every political group, and in every other corner of the entire world.
Nothing makes someone bad by default. I’m white so I’m bad. I’m Mexican so I’m bad. I own a minivan so I’m bad. All that means nothing, being “bad” or “good” is dependent on a person’s character and intent…that is all.
I don’t really want to go any further into what the homeowner had said to me, but there was more said. The fact that these people originally were hiding their racism behind “illegal immigration” and finally decided to go ALL IN and admit they simply did not want any Mexicans on their property blew my mind. The way that they said it and the fact that there seemed to be zero logic behind what they said really surprised me. Again, there were a couple of other statements said I want to share but I feel it would not be fair to them or their careers should this ever get back to them.
I just wonder how people like this make it through life. Do they know the cooks in the kitchen at the restaurant they go to are probably Mexican? Do they know that somewhere down the line a Mexican has probably handled the fruits and vegetables at the store? Do they know that somewhere in their neighborhood there is at least one Mexican living? Do they know that Mexicans helped build their home? Do they know there are Mexicans in our government? Do they know there are Mexicans teaching kids in the U.S. education system?
We have got to stop hating an entire group of people (with the exception of radical groups/ hate groups/ or groups promoting violence toward others) and start basing each human on their character and their intent. The color of my skin does not define who I am. Those people that feel that an entire race of people is bad, is an absolute dipshit that is not worth my time. I feel the same way about people that think one political party is right 100% of the time…impossible. Let’s think for ourselves people…be compassionate, be willing to compromise, be humble, be eager to listen and understand, be willing to learn, and be accountable.
I know the issue of racism (or sexism and every other “ism”) will never end, but each of us can help make it better. Be aware of how you are talking to people and always be sure to watch what and how you say things in front of children. If you’re an idiot you don’t need to pass it on to your children. Give them the opportunity to grow up without boundaries.
I think it’s easy to look past this kind of stuff, but for some reason this incident hit me differently. We need to stand up and be thoughtful in the things we say…don’t let these types of situations pass by without standing up and saying something or at least learning from it.
Lastly, I will handle this by emailing the couple and telling them I am withdrawing my company from doing the work based on said reasons. I’m willing to forgo a $6,000.00 check for my ethics. I’m glad I got this out…just bugs! Thanks for listening.