Letter to the editor | Mark J. Thomas

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Dear editor,

As a veterinarian who is proficient in Spanish, I work very closely with the Hispanic population. Additionally I travel to Mexico on an annual basis to provide advocacy to our local workers.  I was therefore a bit concerned with the article entitled “Understanding Your Hispanic Workforce” in the January issue.

I know and respect Tom Fuhrmann and see that a native Mexican, Gumaro Gonzalez, added his comments.  I think, however, that there are many generalizations that can be taken out of context.  I don’t routinely see many of these characteristics when working with our local population and feel that some of the “qualities” are quite negative.  Here are a few examples:

“Hispanics are socialistic- everyone is equal and generally satisfied where they are.”  I ask why would they would leave their families and take the risks they do if they were satisfied where they were.

“If you don’t cheat, you don’t get ahead.”  I do not see this attitude on a regular basis and this is a very negative comment.

“Education is not a high priority.”   Many of the workers here are trying to make life better at home by giving their children the chance for an education.  Many build homes in more developed areas so their children do not need to walk one hour each way to secondary school.

There are also many valid points made in the article.  I’m just concerned when we make generalized, stereotypical comments about a certain population.  Just as in the USA, there are plenty of Mexicans with a strong drive to succeed and plenty of Americans who would fit the same negative characteristics mentioned in this article.

Thanks for listening.

Mark J. Thomas, Lowville, NY



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