Tony: Mexicans Help Run Johnson County

Amid all of the hot mess over a new law in Arizona that critics claim promotes racial profiling, I’m reminded that my favorite middle-class and mostly white enclave hosts a number of Mexicans who peacefully co-exist despite whatever sentiment dominates the area.

For anyone paying attention to all the menial labor jobs worked in Johnson County, it’s hard not to notice how many Mexicans there are drawing income from the place. I don’t want to speculate if they’re illegal or not because I don’t really care and, obviously, neither does anybody else as long as labor costs are kept low.

From Arizona to Kansas City, people are upset about the racial profiling aspect of this new immigration law. But let’s be forthright: This is really a reaction to so many brown people in this nation and Mexicans so easily serve as a convenient scapegoat because of their large numbers and because Latinos are such a diverse community that traditional political organizations that appeal to most minority groups in the United States don’t really make sense in this community.

I’ve reported on the Latino Community in Kansas City for more than 10 years and if I’ve learned anything it’s that the most effective political movements among Latinos are done with a wink and a nod. Example: When John McCain was struggling to break out of the GOP Pack of white guys during his losing campaign, it was only when he noted that he didn’t completely hate and want to deport all brown people on his way to visit white, Republican, Cubans in Miami that he gathered a bit of momentum. In the much the same way, there was no “official” word that vast majority of Democrat Latinos would quietly move from supporting Hillary to backing Obama during the historic ascendancy of The Black President. It just happened.

There is no Latino Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson and there won’t ever be one because finding a cross-section of the Latino common interests is nearly impossible. That’s not to imply that a great many of us don’t identify in some way with the most downtrodden members of our ethnic group. But it’s not like we’re having them over for dinner.

And all of this political talk of constituencies and demographics reminds me that I can’t go to Johnson County without seeing Mexicans mowing lawns, behind the counter at a crappy job or in the kitchen of every type of restaurant. As always, this is comforting because it reminds me that the legacy of Latino culture isn’t open confrontation but long term endurance and perseverance. In the 40s and 50s in Kansas City, working class Latinos – both illegal and citizen – were deported based on their looks, without much legal recourse. So far, it doesn’t look like authorities in this nation are going to get that rough. In fact, the illegal immigration drama seems to be played out mostly on cable TV where suburbanites in JoCo and all over the metro can enjoy the lifestyle served to them by the very people they claim to despise.

Tony Botello

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7 Responses to Tony: Mexicans Help Run Johnson County

  1. Anonymous says:

    jojo
    WRONG AGAIN TONY! DO I HAVE TO TEACH YOU LESSON
    tony the answer is so simple you’ll cry!
    Take all the anger that this law has caused.
    The memories of every immigrant group (irish/
    italians/jews/blacks/europeans) who when they
    came to america the cry was that ‘THEY”
    WOULD DESTROY AMERICA…ITS THE END OF AMERICA.
    WE CAN’T LET THEM IN…THEY ARE CRIMINALS.
    The repubs/right wingers used these same
    claims against every immigrant group that came
    to this country and they are using it again
    today.
    SO GET OFF YOUR LAZY LATINO ASS…REGISTER EVERY
    LAST LATINO OF VOTING AGE…FORCE THEM TO VOTE
    AND GET RID OF EVERY LAST HATEFUL/BIGOT THAT
    IS IN GOVERNMENT. LATIONS ARE 15% OF THE
    POPULATION…IN 2010/2012 THEY CAN CONTROL
    THE VOTE IN 12 OF THE LARGEST STATES IN AMERICA.
    BUT YOU’RE LAZZY AND WRITING BLOGS ABOUT
    MEXICANS MOWING LAWNS AND FIXING ROOFS
    IN JOHNSON COUNTY WON’T CHANGE A FUKCING THING.
    GO GET ‘EM TONY…
    But before you do…go look at the list of
    young kids who have died defending our
    liberties in iraq and afghanistan. Look at
    their surnames…see how many hispanic kids
    gave their lives for this nation. And then
    think about them on the streets of arizona
    being asked to show “their” papers.
    NOW GO KICK SOME ASS!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Guy
    So, I guess the borders are just bullshit? I guess it should be a big, damn free for all? It has nothing to do with race!!! AGAIN!! NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE!! If you are here without legal documentation, you are breaking the law. What is so hard about that? Try just walkin your stupid ass into any other country without documentation and see what happens. It is about the system. If you pay into it, then you can pull from it. If you aren’t paying for cable, is it okay for you to steal it from your neighbor? No! Why should you get the same services that a legal, taxpayer(of any skin color) deserves when you don’t contribute or even respect the laws of our country?

    Don’t make this a f*cking racial issue..all you wanna be Al Sharptons. The guy that cleans my workplace is from Mexico. He, two months ago became a legal, American citizen and was soooo proud! Illegals piss him off and why shouldn’t they? Again, someone works for something, while a parasite enjoys the same benefits.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Skeeter
    But they took rrrrrr jobs!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    tony
    True that, Guy. Tony, at some point all of our families were immigrants. The only difference is that they came here legally, learned the language, and assimilated into the culture. The Latinos should take a book out of the European book. Sure bigots will treat you like shit for the first few generations, but after awhile you can be running the place. That’s the way the system works. There was a scant 80 years between the time Irish were depicted as crazed ape men in newspapers and when we had one as president. An Irish man that is. Not a crazed ape man.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Guy
    Ha! “THEY took our jobs”. It’s funny you mention that. I watched a show the other night that talked about the Brunswick Bowling Co. They used to be the only bowling company making their goods in the USA. They outsourced their jobs to a plant in Mexico a few years ago. They were interviewing the Mexican workers about their feelings over their jobs soon ending due to their positions being outsourced to China.

    When will people wake up and see we have been screwed by politicians, who have been purchased by big business. I don’t blame the Mexican guy, looking to make money for his family…when you have American slaughterhouses advertising jobs in the US for 12 bucks an hour with a free ride. It isn’t his fault, but it has to stop. And it stops at the top in Washington.

  6. Anonymous says:

    MoCrash
    Flash for Tony: They’re not all “Mexican.” Hispanics living in Kansas City include Hondurans, Salvadorans, Panamanians and people from other Latin and South American nations, so referring to the entire Latino population is not only politically incorrect, but also factually inaccurate.

  7. Anonymous says:

    JAM
    Sorry, I don’t know single person who isn’t against racial profiling.

    Tony if you were against it – you wouldn’t have written this story – you wouldn’t be able to see the difference in skin color.

    Work on being a little color blind.

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