Work and Racism
My dad once spoke to me while he was irrigating his farm under a ninety-degree sun in Haiti.
“You know what, son? “ he asked as he turned around, looking at me with a bucket full of tomatoes in his hand.
“What, Dad?” I asked.
“The color blue does not attract the sun’s rays like the other colors,” my dad said. He put the tomatoes down, grabbed his big shovel, and dug into the ground, making way for the water to go plant to plant in his tomatoes farm.
“Of course not, Dad; it’s light color,“ I told him, looking at the sweat dripping down his forehead like the fountain water that drips water on the wall at the Aqualina hotel where I used to work.
I never really know why my dad would wear his long- sleeve blue shirt to work most days. I didn’t have any idea at all until June 2006, when I had to wear that white helmet, a light-blue long-sleeve shirt, some Wrangler jeans, some big boots, and a big belt that held a wheel of wire, and some pliers to start my new construction job in Miami, Florida. It was tough. At first, I didn’t want to do it. But watching my dad working during all those years to put food on the table and take care of us, I understand I needed to do it to feed myself and take care of my family.
E. B . Construction is one of the largest construction companies in south Florida and the third company I worked for in the United States. When I moved to the United States, downtown Miami was just starting to be built. A friend of mine suggested that I work in the industry. So I got job in construction to help rebuild south Florida. If you ever travel to downtown Miami, most of the high-rises you see there, I built them, or should I say I was part of the projects.
I chose to talk about my third because of all the hard work I had put in to help rebuild Florida, and all the racism, prejudice, and discrimination I faced while I was helping. For a minute, I had thought the United States didn’t have a place for me.
E.B. Construction is a large and well-known company; as I said, it is one the biggest construction company in south Florida. Ninety-five percent of its employees were immigrants. Does that mean only immigrants construction in America?
No. It simply means that when it comes to building infrastructure in the United States, immigrants have always played an important part. And this is the history of America and its future; it will never change.