I received an email from a co-worker yesterday entitled "immigrants", it was a poem about immigrants taking advantage of the welfare system and not paying taxes. I was offended by this email and found it racist in nature. I didn't know how to respond except for deleting it from my email system. I didn't want to keep a copy, all though I wish I would have because I am sure it would have violated email policies.
All last night I tossed and turned trying to figure out how I should deal with my co-worker. She is a work friend, not someone that I would hang out with outside of work but we chit chat and have lunch on a regular basis. I didn't want to hurt the good working relationship we have together but I felt like I needed to say something to her. I decided that the best thing was to send her an email in response that read:
I wanted to let you know that I appreciate the jokes you forward to me, they really brighten the work day. I wanted to raise an issue about the one you sent yesterday "Immigrants." Having many friends as well as in-laws who are immigrants I was offended by the hurtful nature of the poem. It cast a very negative view of immigrants, grouping them all into a group of people that are out to make a buck off of the US. I understand that there may be a few individuals that do these things but that can be said of US citizens as well. I have never met an immigrant who came to the US to manipulate the system, but I have met plenty of folks from the US that have. It pains me to see this kind of material sent out to further prejudice this group of people. After all if you go back far enough we are all immigrants.
Just wanted to let you know my viewpoint.
So what do you think? I haven't received a response from her yet, and I can say I am a little bit of a chicken shit to go and talk to her about it. Do you think I should just let this email speak for itself?
I also bring up this topic because I have become increasingly concerned that this attack on immigrants is really thinly veiled racism. Any thoughts on this?
Okay, stepping off the soapbox now, but I figured I would just start the discussion.
Update: I am not calling anyone a racist I am reacting to the poem that was of a racist nature and discussed the US as the white man land (nice huh?). So from a certain fringe of the population this is a racial issue.
I would like to think that most people who come here would like to become US citizens, but it is often very hard when you do not speak the language, are just trying to survive. I am all for trying to fix the system which I know is broken but I also don't believe the answer is to demonize a large group of people as criminals.
I realize that no matter what I say this issue can not be dealt with in a simple blog post but because of the email it sparked something in me that I needed to get out.