In what can sometimes feel like a battle between African Americans and Latin Americans, it is easy to lose track of why conflict exists. Primary concerns over jobs and employment are never ending and that is a part of the American society design. Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke of this conflict, referring to games the Pharos’s of Egypt used to implement, using inequitable social practices in the cast and slave communities to pit each of them against the others: teaching hate, greed, narcissism, jealousy, and covetousness. This was done to keep attention away from leaders yet remain focused of self and thy neighbor… no time to call out or protest the corrupt practices of their leaders. My personal experience goes back to elementary school, where Mexican Americans were a part of my life.
I was invited to run for the School Board of Bakersfield, Bakersfield, California. I recently found old Campaign materials and identified the names of Mexican American supporters on my list along with African Americans. This was the first time a Black person campaigned for the School Board. Historically, the Bakersfield Board was all-white and although I lost, I received more votes than any other non-white had previously collected.
My experience today in Pasadena, California is similar to my Bakersfield experience. At one of my first jobs with a larger company, where I could choose Health Care services, I chose Kaiser. Now that my wife and I are older we are realizing health care is a necessity, but I also cannot help but notice, the staff is mostly white, Latino, or Asian, and very few Black people. Surely as large as Kaiser is they could be more inclusive in their hiring practices and outreach. There are more than one hundred Black colleges in this country as well as trade schools. Employment agencies could be more sensitive to its employment practice and pool.
In a country where millions of people work, we all need jobs/careers regardless of color, race, or creed to sustain our circles of family and community and being able to do so is possible. We need to remember, the problem may not be each other, but those who are doing the hiring. Recently, it was interesting to hear about the discussion of Latino city council member of the Los Angeles City Council, meeting and plotting to keep Black people out of office. That kind of planning is not seen often, but maybe now we can look at a change, respectfully and not like enemies. There is an election coming up and what happens if the City of Los Angeles end up with Rick Caruso… will it be another opportunity to be turned against one another, or we see votes for Karen Bass for Mayor as an opportunity to gain experience positively and not perpetuate a battle of the past.