Working for the South Side Workers Center of Tucson has further shown me the importance of understanding everyone’s perspective. My internship consists of being the link between the worker and the employer to ensure a fair wage and fair treatment of the worker regardless of immigration status. The center is mainly comprised of immigrant workers who perform all kinds of jobs from landscaping and roofing, to hanging banners and cleaning. Too many times have employers come and offered to pay $8 an hour (the minimum wage in Arizona is $10.50) claiming that a lot of the workers “are not worth it” only to proceed to tell me that “they do not really want to work” if they do not accept the cheap pay.
Employers have an image of our workers that’s been molded by racist stereotypes. They do not know that workers attend English classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They do not know that the workers sign contracts and commit to maintaining the highest of expectations with the Center. They do not know that the workers come to the Center at 5 AM every day ready to work. They do not know what the workers have endured. They do not bother to learn.
In our current political climate, it is easy to go off of stereotypes. It is easier to not try and understand one another. It is easier to neglect one another. It is easier to be oblivious to the problems that do not directly affect us. It is easier to take advantage of those who have less than us. It is easier to say that we are not part of the problem. It is easier to demonize one another. We need to take time to listen and understand one another. We should want to know why a person thinks a certain way and how that affects the decisions they make.