April 5, 2007

Jimmy Santiago Baca: “So Mexicans are Taking Jobs from Americans”

Posted in Poetry at 8:00 am by The Lizard Queen

So Mexicans are Taking Jobs from Americans

O Yes? Do they come on horses
with rifles, and say,

Ese gringo, gimmee your job?

And do you, gringo, take off your ring,
drop your wallet into a blanket
spread over the ground, and walk away?

I hear Mexicans are taking your jobs away.
Do they sneak into town at night,
and as you’re walking home with a whore,
do they mug you, a knife at your throat,
saying, I want your job?

Even on TV, an asthmatic leader
crawls turtle heavy, leaning on an assistant,
and from a nest of wrinkles on his face,
a tongue paddles through flashing waves
of lightbulbs, of cameramen, rasping
“They’re taking our jobs away.”

Well, I’ve gone about trying to find them,
asking just where the hell are these fighters.
The rifles I hear sound in the night
are white farmers shooting blacks and browns
whose ribs I see jutting out
and starving children,
I see the poor marching for a little work,
I see small white farmers selling out
to clean-suited farmers living in New York,
who’ve never been on a farm,
don’t know the look of a hoof or the smell
of a woman’s body bending all day long in fields.

I see this, and I hear only a few people
got all the money in this world, the rest
count their pennies to buy bread and butter.

Below that cool green sea of money,
millions and millions of people fight to live,
search for pearls in the darkest depths
of their dreams, hold their breath for years
trying to cross poverty to just having something.

The children are dead already. We are killing them,
that is what America should be saying;
on TV, in the streets, in offices, should be saying,
“We aren’t giving the children a chance to live.”

Mexicans are taking our jobs, they say instead.
What they really say is, let them die,
and the children too.

–Jimmy Santiago Baca, 1977

48 Comments »

  1. Mishka P said,

    contrary to popular belief this man is not my cousin…

  2. kk said,

    very racist…and pathetic to resort to that

  3. kk: Not that I expect you’ll actually come back here to see if anyone responded to you, but what, exactly, are you calling racist here? The poem, the attitude it’s responding to, Mishka’s comment…?

    • jovanny mejia said,

      fuck u u racist god is brown u bitch duh… isreal is very brown and arab u bitch and i know for a fact u are not full red white and blue because this country is full immigrant bitch

      • Hello, Jovanny! Sure and it’s a pleasure to have you drop by! You know what you might want to try before leaving comments like this? ACTUALLY READING THE FUCKING POST.

        Kisses,
        LQ

      • Oak said,

        What a douche ..

        Jovanny, you probably just proved what pure ignorance truly is.

      • Benito said,

        Lol, wow. Some people.

      • Annette said,

        Jovanny I think what Jimmy is stating is that Mexicans get all the jobs, and maybe it is true because they are hard workers and they will settle for less than any other race, and that is a known fact. What employer wouldn’t hire any race who would get the job done right and for little pay? It isn’t the Mexicans fault that they know how to obtain a job. Put the blame on these cold hearted employers who are taking full advantage of the Mexicans, blacks, whites, asians, etc.. Jimmy may not be racist because he could have used blacks, asians, jews, and so forth.

    • Justin D said,

      Agreed that this is not a racist poem. I actually find it quit nice, the nice man below who gave such a wonderful and heart filled response must not have actually read the poem.

    • Carlos Echeverria said,

      I found the part “The rifles I hear sound in the night
      are white farmers shooting blacks and browns” to be a little to close for comfort when it came to racism. I’d like to know what you were feeling/thinking when writing that.

  4. the new said,

    im writing an essay over this poem for my college english class and im having a little trouble getting the words out right. i agree with what jimmy is saying and his stand on the whole thing. i guess i just dont know where to take my audience.

  5. ryan said,

    kk: if a poem criticising white-on-hispanic racism is so racist to you, perhaps you should add another k onto your name.

  6. Ruth said,

    Wonderful poem!
    By the way, kk, perhaps you could appreciate this poem if you ponder this: When some people look into the mirror and see just how ugly the face staring back is, they suddenly think the mirror is at fault; in this case, they think the mirror is racist.

  7. Tammy said,

    Here’s my own personal “study”…Warning: these comments are not for the faint of heart… Here’s the problem: Unless you are Latino and of course, speak Spanish, you don’t have much of a chance at landing a job, not even a “menial” one. They are taken.. and will be in the future, until some changes occur. I have experienced this first hand, in my futile attempts to search for work. In addition, if you have any formal education, you can just forget it all together. Companies do not want an educated, experienced employee to work for them… all they want is someone who speaks Spanish, in order to appeal and or cater to the majority of the population, (which is Latino, where I happen to live). Companies also want individuals who are not highly educated for the simple reason that they will not be able to demand as much in salary. Not so complicated. When did you ever remember having to press “1” just to hear instructions in English, in order to get some information from your banking institution??? Also, someone needs to go into the companies H.R. Dept. and confiscate all applications turned in, if they haven’t been shredded already. You may see that someone who has a Spanish surname was chosen for the job over someone who did not. Just look around, next time you are at your local store… who is working? Also, look at the job internet boards.. notice how many companies are not only requesting, but requiring that applicants be BILINGUAL, and they make it clear that it is SPANISH that they want.

    • George said,

      I just came around this poem, and after reading your “study” and other comments, I find we do the first thing that comes around which is critize. One of the things to keep in mind is that the author who wrote this is possibly talking from personal experience. We live the truth of what is going on around us, but we don’t see the harsh truth of things that are going on across every border of the U.S.. The United States has been proclaimed as a prosperous country, one that has suffered very little compared to almost every other country in the world. In regards to this poem I believe it relates to the present day, but is more revelant to the situation a few years back.

      Now going into this transition regarding jobs, I had a CEO tell me that they go along this transition not because there is a growth, but because they want to take advantage of whatever income they can bring. To them making money through whatever means is fine. So ultimately is not so much the race or language what’s moving jobs is the money. Is that not the reason why many are crossing, because of need of income, and is that not the reason why almost everything moves. Very few is “progress” many times is investments that account as progress. … Think about how changes moves great numbers in earnings, and less in the better living of EVERYONE!

    • MT said,

      Really Tammy? Are you standing in the field picking lines? Are you standing in the underpaid construction workers lines? Are you standing in line for the low paying fast food jobs? If there are blacks and hispanics being chosen for jobs over white people that is because WHITE men put into action the law that says a certain percentage of people hired MUST be minorities. Yes it was black people who fought for this but it is WHITE men that keep this law alive.
      You really need to think first before you go around showing how racist you really are.

  8. […] events, Poetry, Politics, Racial issues at 4:29 pm by The Lizard Queen A few years ago I posted a poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca entitled “So Mexicans Are Taking Jobs from Americans,” and that post remains one of the most-viewed posts on this blog. I like that, because the poet is a […]

  9. luaphacim said,

    Yes! How dare those companies hire people who are actually suited for the jobs being filled! This is truly outrageous and I intend to file a complaint with the GOVERNMENT.

  10. gye nyame said,

    dearest LQ,
    I’ve read this poem a few times on your blog, and even heard JSB read it – and it still gives me chills.

    Thank you for introducing me to his work (It was because of your recommendation that I started going to his readings in ABQ)

    with love,
    gye

  11. Alicia said,

    i dont think that poem is all that ,and like that other person mentioned sounds personel .as many mexicans do is come to steal the jobs and make babies .I am so sick and tired of seeing seeing these people you cant go nowhere without them over populaiton our schools are parks .and of course our jobs .something needs to done about these people that continue to came .FUCK OBAMA AND HIS ADMISTRATION WE NEED TO GET THEM DEMS OUT ,I CANT IMAGINE THIS COUNTRY IN 5 YEARS FROM NOW .MORE SCREWED UP AND OF COURSE MORE MEXICAN TO TAKE MORE JOBS ,I JUST LIKE TO KNOW WHATS GOING TO HAPPENED TO OUR AMERICAN CHILDREN THAT WILL BE LOOKING FOR A SUMMER JOB AT MICKI D AND BURGER KING THE MEXICAN WILL FOR SURE HAVE IT .

    • Yareli said,

      Not all HISPANICS are here illegally. If your so worried about Hispanics taking your jobs then complain to the government about the factories they have overseas and in Latin America. There could be a lot more jobs if they weren’t hacing children do them in other countries.

      This AMAZING Country was made of immigrants. The true natives are the Native Americans.

      Many of the areas that are densely populated by Mexicans are in the south. Read a history book. Most of the south west was at one point Mexico. It was then turned into America after a war. What did you expect? Many of those people had been living there for generations. Did you expect them to say oh okay you won this land fair and square I’ll just move my family and start my whole life over from scratch. That’s ridiculous.

      I am a PROUD American and if my speaking Spanish makes me more qualified than another fellow American that cant speak Spanish then I am from the bottom of my heart sorry. Take classes. It is a beautiful thing to be cultured. I love this country for that exact reason. I have friends from all back grounds.

    • Ruben said,

      You racist BH people like you don’t deserve this Country. It doesn’t matter were you come from what matters is where you are going. I see you are going to Burger King and McD wow! is that what you can afford. I feel sorry for you. Not all Mexicans are Screwed ups many of us are Successful. Not like You. Educate your self i recommend it.

    • neon.art said,

      First of all, you have a lot of grammatical errors. If you have children and misspell this bad then I see why you lost your job to a Mexican(or anyone who actually had an education). Another thing you need to know is not a lot of people care for your hateful opinion on a poem, you are only making people see how much of a bitch you really are.

      If you have a problem with Mexican’s having summer jobs to either feed themselves, have money to spend on themselves, or just to be productive, then don’t make your kids work and just leave. Most people that get a job do it for themselves not because they’re mom wants them out of the house.

      If you think Mexican’s are ‘stealing’ your jobs, I’m sorry to tell you that they got the job because they can do it better than you, or anyone else who didn’t get it for that matter. Mexican or not, the better person will get the job if the company want to do a good job and not just cheap labor. If that is the case then isn’t the company at fault and not the Mexican’s you are so hatefully bitching about?

      If you don’t like it here leave or kill yourself, it’s that simple. :)

    • Baby mama said,

      Sounds like that’s the only place you can land a job at.

    • Arturo said,

      All people in the United States were and are immigrants. People like you are so ignorant to that fact. Mexicans are not taking jobs away from Americans but are simply taking advantage of the resources and opportunities given to them. Americans feel like they are obligated to jobs eventhough they do not fit it. Mexicans do jobs that Americans think they are to good for. I guarantee if a farmer put up a sign for farm work that involved picking weeds out of a field or planting a field by hand, There would be more mexicans show up than americans. And who are you to say who needs not to be here. You or your ancestors were once immigrants you idiot, so get over yourself and got to school yourself because just by reading your post, I felt dumber by the moment.

    • P Corona said,

      Dear Alicia,
      Maybe the reason why the Mexicans are being hired over you is because you are ignorant and uneducated. I wish you were in front of me so that I could throw an english dictionary at your face!
      Love, an educated Hispanic :)

    • grisel murillo said,

      get the facts straight you idiot…first do you know how much it cost to raise a baby..more than assisstance from the government..i am mexican and work at burger king…but hey moron do you know how many white people work with me…more than mexicans..oh and obama…..dont get me started with politics because i will bring your side down..get a lfe and stop hating because you feel you need to bring a minority group down.

  12. Matthew said,

    Here we go again, Truth is out there for you to see and just so everyone knows they are sneaking in at night and some do have guns but there not here to take anything they supposedly want to earn it. But in the process yes they are taking from us in many, many ways. If they can’t find work they need help and once they find out how easy we have made it for them to get it they use every bit of it. I live smack dab in the heart of the area they have populated here, and I talk to them all the time. I play like I’m on there side and let them believe I think what they are doing is ok with me and because of that one lie I get the truth from THEM and they are and I mean at this moment doing everything they can from taking Americans jobs to getting there people in as many public offices as possible so they can make changes to America and take as much and more as they can. Don’t fool your self if you think its all going to be ok it isn’t. They hate us and Americans are more and more starting to hate them so the big fight is coming and when America starts to try to remove them or stop services to them like they did to the poor in this country your going to see all hell break out and the guns they are hiding will all come out and they will be pushed right in your face. Call me what you like but I’ve been saying this all along and everything I’ve said has come to pass so far. If you don’t believe me go out and look for your self. Walk in the areas they populate and see for your self then tell me you feel safe and welcome in your own country when you can’t even read the writing they have on all the stores and any other place they have. I’m not raciest in any manner I just see the truth. But I also know many only want a better life and when you see how they live in Mexico I can’t blame them. But they have developed this underground system most Americans have no idea is running right under there noses and I’m worried for my children and grandchildren that what My Grandfather, Father, and brothers have fought and died for is being sliced into pieces and given away by people who only want to get so filthy rich even god cant touch them to yet another group who doesn’t care what they have to do to get what they want or how they have to do it to get it.

    • neon.art said,

      You are a racist hypocrite and you are putting everyone under one label. People like you believe ‘they know one, they know them all’. I’m not racist and I don’t hate American’s, heck I’m an American, I just don’t like people who automatically believe they are better than the world. Mexican’s do go through hardship too, you know? They are people that feel just the same as you and me. To add to that there are bad people, that doesn’t necessarily make them Mexican’s, it just makes them bad people (no matter what race or ethnicity).

    • Nancy Burke said,

      I truly agree with you. I have to admit, that I have been ignorant to fact of how badly the Mexicans’ are increasingly inflowing into this country and obtaining jobs. Recently, I worked for a temporary agency at a warehouse. As you can guess it was employed by mostly Mexicans. There were many Blacks there to work. The Mexicans are always chosen first to work. The Blacks workers were given jobs only when all the Mexicans had been given work. The leftover positions was then passed along to the Blacks. The Blacks workers were there on time willing to work. By my own witness they did just as good of a job then the Mexicans. They worked hard as hell, too. People say that Americans are lazy and don’t want to work. I strongly disagree. Look all around and see the work of American people on display.

  13. V.E.G. said,

    Wait a minute, one man of Mexican descent did not take away jobs from Americans. Eugene Winston Castle founder of Castle Films, himself of Mexican descent won hearts of millions and his name is connected to the home movie industry.

  14. Georgette said,

    What is your ethnicity? I am African born in America. Parts of USA formerly known as Mexico they are the whole states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as well as parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas.
    so who is taking/took who’s jobs, country & heritage. 85% of us are descendants of immigrants who came by, Airplane, boat, or even slave ships, some by choice some not, but we are all here now. Learn to live with it. No one can take anything you don’t leave to be taken…. Make a way, stop making an excuse……. While you run to those Mexican food restaurants enjoying their contribution to the US, thank God they are willing to do the work and receive the pay you aren’t. And as you spend your money on Non-American made luxurious products, be happy you don’t have to support your other family members (send them money, as if you would) where ever they are.

  15. V.E.G. said,

    Jeremiah Alvin Neitz, a man of partial Mexican ancestry, saved many lives in the Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting. Neitz is a hero for many years to come and we wish him well.

  16. **PLEASE NOTE**

    Traditionally I have not moderated comments on this blog, but there have been entirely too many racist and vitriolic comments on this post for me to continue to let them go. From now on any comments spewing hatred toward immigrants will be deleted.

  17. Alicia said,

    I am Mexian American and I do not believe that Mexicans are taking “your” jobs. Who said that they were “yours” to begin with?? we are all equal in this country and there is a whole constitution who enforces that. Racism is a blindness and many of you who commented seem to be blind. Mexicans work hard and if there is any problem you can blame the people of the past who didnt let them get well educated. I love bein a Mexican American and yes mathafuckers were TAKING OVER!!!!!

    • Olga said,

      Whenever the economy turns sour, we look for scapegoats, for reasons why we aren’t good enough to get the jobs, the salaries. In the 30’s in Germany that scapegoat were the the Jews. They were blamed for everything that was going wrong. Now in the US we blame not just immigrants, but Mexicans in particular. This poem was written in the 70s and now 40 years later we are still blaming Mexicans. You’d think that by now everyone non-Mexican would be homeless and starving. Alabama just passed a law against immigrants that has made hundreds of Mexicans flee the state. Now businesses there are struggling to find employees because Americans aren’t willing to do back-breaking jobs that pay almost nothing. This was on the news last month. I have yet to see where exactly Mexicans are taking away the jobs of Americans. Americans are unemployed because corporations are interested only in making high profits, and so are either hiring only a few employees to do the job of many, or are taking the jobs to countries where they pay workers almost nothing. Immigrants are not taking away our jobs. Corporate greed is doing that. But we keep seeing this as good old American Capitalism, and blame the victim–as always. Finally, though, we are fighting back against Wall Street. Finally, we are steering our anger in the right direction.

  18. Peepsmuhgee said,

    Lol. Y’all are a bunch of tits. Get over it.

  19. Gerald Bravo said,

    Hell no we come here to take the jobs they don’t want who clean their houses,yards,cooks the breakfast, who wash the dishes at the restaurants, we always end up getting what the don’t wanna do, because 90% of them don’t have an education but yet want to make top dollars or they don’t work, you see them in a brand new car gold chains gold tooth, but paying with a freaking EBT card or stand at the gas station asking for a buck, we don’t do that shit we work for our money…

  20. “Jimmy Santiago Baca: So Mexicans are Taking Jobs from Americans I am the Lizard Queen!
    ” was a splendid posting, cannot wait to read through even more of your posts.
    Time to squander several time on the internet haha. Thanks a lot
    ,Dewitt

  21. keith trammell said,

    Revolution can take place North and South of the border. Why is it always what Americans need to do and never what people should stay home and do for themselves? (at least ,get in line and enter legally)

    • olga abella said,

      Do you have a clue what it is like to live without any resources and in fear of saying anything because you will be killed? We don’t live in that kind of fear in this country, and yet we don’t revolt against the poverty in which so many Americans live. We have been brainwashed into believing that what we have is enough. Look at what is happening in this country, such as in Indiana, one of the “right to work states”, where you can be fired without notice for anything: being a woman who refuses sexual advances, being gay, being of color, etc. And yet we are complacent. How easy is it really to unite in revolution–especially if you live in fear of immediate retribution.

      • bkt said,

        “Anyone unwilling to risk their life for freedom or liberty , deserves neither.”(Thomas Jefferson)And ,no,I have never had to face this dilemma in person, thanks to Mr. Jefferson and others like him.Since all men are created equal ,I see no difference.
        Anyone fired for the reasons listed in your response has a federal case.(except,possibly, for the homo.. and even that is changing because people have been fighting).
        It is not my desire to condemn or judge those in whom’s shoes I have not walked.My question is still..where is the moral outrage over the deplorable social values of Mexican civilization. If we are correct in believing that all men are equal ,then surely they can do more for themselves. If they need help waging the revolution against the corrupt,ruling minority, then why are they not getting it?Why do Americans have to listen to Mexico’s leaders attack our unwillingness to bankrupt a social security system by providing benefits to Mexico’s refugees.Americans who have built up that fund deserve to see it securely in place.If Mexico does so much more than America then what kind of idiot would leave Mexico?
        The English conquered N America and made it the envy of the world.The Spanish conquered Mexico and made it what it is today.The Mexican people had all the help they needed during the Spanish -American War. They chose to have the country that they have.Sitting back and doing nothing is just as bad as doing the wrong yourself.

  22. Nicole said,

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate
    you writing this post and the rest of the site is very good.

  23. Jeanie said,

    Hey, this spark a lot of attention. It is all of what a person concept and feeling are based on. It is all so stero-typed though so manyand the biggest problem is the companies who allowed the situation to go on. Speaking of under paying Mexicans to do the job when the salary pays munch morer. It is not racist speaking of the Mexicans, race it just you all should expect more for your skills. I can say Mexicans, do get the job done do not sell yourself short, Be BLESS!

  24. Cleveland said,

    Hey there are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up
    my own. Do you need any coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  25. V.E.G. said,

    Actually, Jeremiah Alvin Neitz is part Spanish. Just saying.

  26. […] link to the poem […]


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