1101-391 Language and Identity.

Anima Anowar

      I believe my community thinks very highly of white collar jobs compared to blue collar jobs. My community involves immigrants from all over the world, this includes; (South) Asia, The Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. I think biases towards blue collar work came from, where one originated from (and from their environment.)

      My community is very concerned when it comes down to distinguishing between white and blue collar labor. This is because where my family is from, there weren’t many opportunities. My parents came from Bangladesh to give me and my siblings a better life and education in America. My father’s home country Bangladesh, there was a OP-1 Visa Program where you got to get your visas by lottery. Luckily in 1991, my father got chosen from the lottery and got to fly out to America. Later my father found a job in New York, he dealt with ice cream machines at Tasti D-Lite. My father left Bangladesh because he lived a very hard life there. Most of the jobs consisted of blue collared jobs, and it wasn’t enough to feed his family. This is why he opted out to be apart of this lottery. After he got chosen, he worked his butt off literally to send money to Bangladesh to his family and manage his own family as well. His job in New York was considered a blue collar job. My parents only got to finish their education up to high school. And the education system in Bangladesh wasn’t worth it at that time. The main reason my parents came to America was to get more opportunities and to pursue the American Dream. After eventually having me and my siblings their hopes and dream still till this day is that we become successful people, and that we don’t have to work as hard as them. And go through the struggles they went through. My community is my family and anyone that came as immigrants to America to pursue the American Dream. They know the struggle of leaving their home country to try and provide for their family. My parents did not come all the way to America so that their kids can work in the blue collar field and struggle the same way they did.

      I think that the biases towards blue collar work came from our country and the community my parents or where they lived in. The blood, sweat, and tears put into blue collared jobs in my country was horrible. And some even resulted in deaths. After my father came here, it was more of a “convenient” blue collar work. He got to see us every morning and night before going to bed, and spend time with us. My parents raised us so that way we learned from their struggles, and that blue collar work isn’t the way to go. If you become something in the white collar field, you’ll be living peacefully and won’t have so much to stress growing up. You’ll be making better money, and being able to do something that you want to do.

      In my community’s “mind” white collar is the only path you have to go in and you’ll be able to do that by working hard in school and getting good grades. As times changed, people from my community were soon working in banks, and hospitals and etc. This set a example for others and showed that with a good education in America you can do anything, and that is why people from our community value white collar jobs so much. They compare to Crawford’s biases because he goes on about to says that blue collar labor requires a certain extent of innovation, and concluding remarks on solidarity and self reliance. He points out to have a trade skill means having solidarity with other trade workers in the same field. And that it’s important to value both. But in my community, we value both but lead towards white collar because, blue collar reminds us where we came from but white collar shows us our future. In Crawford’s word’s “The man who works recognizes his own product in the World that has actually been transformed by his work: he recognizes himself in it, he sees in it his own human reality, in it he discovers and reveals to others the objective reality of his humanity, of the originally abstract and purely subjective idea he has of himself.” (page 9, lines 17-20) I disagree with Crawford, because not everyone has the ability to recognize themselves unless they are given the opportunity. My father came here, and works hard every day, but still manages to stress himself out. Sometimes, it’s just not enough. In order for one to truly transform himself he has to improve and go on to another level. Blue collar work didn’t allow you to move forward, it didn’t spark any type of hope that things will get better. To the people of our community it was more like, “I’m doing this job to provide for my family, and this way my kids will grow up to know how hard we worked and not have to do what we’re doing so they can live a better future.” To our community blue collar work felt like a liability they had to maintain.

      Crawford also mentions “Today, in our schools, the manual trades are given little honor. The egalitarian worry that has always attended tracking students into “college prep” and “vocational ed” is overlaid with another: the fear that acquiring a specific skill set means that one’s life is determined. In college, by contrast, many students don’t learn anything of particular application; college is the ticket to an open future. Craftsmanship entails learning to do one thing really well, while the ideal of the new economy is to be able to learn new things, celebrating potential rather than achievement.” (page 11, lines 4-11) I partially agree with this quote, because college is not just a ticket to a “open” future, it’s a educational institution that targets and prepares you for the real world. Yes indeed, we do learn about a particular application but only towards the field we want to work in. Manual trades aren’t given little honor, or little value. It reminds us where we came from and pushes us to go beyond our capabilities.

My community stresses working hard so much because of the environment they grew up in. Their opportunities were very limited, and had no choice but work hard where they came from and in the United States as well. To them blue collar work has always been the only choice. My community has definitely seen the different privileges between blue and white collar work. And this is why we lean towards white collared jobs.


Tags: Crawford

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