This Huffington Post blog by Eva Longoria is in response to Tanisha L. Ramirez's Huffington Post blog ("Eva Longoria's Devious Maids Is a Wasted Opportunity"). Eva reminds me of other rich people who make efforts to help the poor. The following is my response to Eva's post.
Portraying Latino women as maids is not a "stereotype", it's a fact. The hospitality industry in the U.S. overwhelmingly hires immigrants (mostly from Latino countries, who often speak very little English) because the labor supply is abundant and nearby, because they are hired to meet corporate "diversity" quotas, because they are often referred by others who are currently employed, because the department heads are often Latino themselves, and because these Latino women are willing to do the hard work.
But who says maids are not successful --- or that we perceive them to be at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale? In Las Vegas, most hotel housekeeping jobs are union jobs and pay a reasonable wage with healthcare and other benefits (although, the CEOs do over-work them).
Many Latino women also work as bartenders, cocktail waitresses and food servers --- all good jobs --- especially if they work in a union hotel, as compared to working in places like Wal-Mart, McDonald's or a carwash.
Many Latino men also have these good jobs, and that's why the Las Vegas casinos (and other U.S. hotels) don't need to hire long-term unemployed 50-year-old white men to fill jobs, because the labor market is saturated.
When you said "domestic workers are an integral part of the American fabric" and that they raise our children and clean our homes, you must be referring to wealthy people. Most Americans can’t afford to hire "domestic workers" when they themselves are struggling (50% of the U.S. labor force nets $27,000 a year or less.) That's why so many women (Latino, or otherwise) work --- to help pay the rent --- because wages are low, CEOs are greedy, and our government is weak and corrupted by corporate interests.
If a Latino woman is a maid in America, she is one of the luckier women in the world. She could be working in a Microsoft or Nike sweatshop in Vietnam or China.
Obama just nominated billionaire Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary --- she is part of the family that owns Hyatt Hotels and was the target of the AFL-CIO who had called for a global boycott of Hyatt for their anti-union activities. The union's list of what they considered the four top reasons:
- "Hyatt is engaging in subcontracting that is destroying good jobs and exploiting immigrant workers.”
- “Hyatt housekeepers suffer abuse and face dangerous workloads."
- “Hyatt has refused to remain neutral as non-union hotel workers organize.”
- "Hyatt turned heat lamps on striking workers during a brutal heat wave.”
But if a hotel housekeeper (aka maid) is not in a union house, then of all the "blue-collar" hotel jobs, they are often paid the least, but work the hardest. But some, if they work for a wealthy family in New York City, could be paid much better than a worker at a GM plant in Michigan (unless of course, they work for a cheap bastard like Mitt Romney).
Does Eva Longoria hire maids, cooks, chauffeurs, butlers, pool boys, or gardeners? And if so, are they Latino, and how much does she pay her "domestic workers"? Just curious.
Maybe in your circle of friends there are some that might consider maids unsuccessful or perceive them to be at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale; but not in mine. I worked in the hospitality business for 30 years, from New York to Las Vegas, and I always considered maids to be my "co-workers".
I liked the movie "Maid in Manhattan" starring Jennifer Lopez. She was fantastic.