The other Americans
Sam Sherraden’s photo essay “Crossing Paths in Mexico” (Sept. 19, pgs. 8-9) captures a reality some may find hard to swallow. It is only a glimpse, however, of the hardships that a destitute and poorly governed yet optimistic Mexican population tackles, even when directly juxtaposed against a nation to its north that squanders its luxuries.
This past March, the University’s own students educated themselves in the dynamic that exists on the Mexican side of the border. Host mothers and children detailed their dreams of crossing “la frontera.” Many in the village worked under poor, sometimes dangerous conditions in nearby U.S.-owned factories. With over half their pay contingent upon productivity bonuses, they’re lucky to make 500 pesos, or the equivalent of $50, in a six-day work week.
For what ends? To provide a better life for their families or to maybe one day pay a coyote to drive them over the border. It’s genuine desperation.
For the most part, it is only approached from one perspective: that they are infringing on the American economy. Yet, workers rights are being compromised daily in U.S.-owned factories that continue to be constructed in Mexican villages.
While Sam Sherraden is correct in saying that “the importance of appreciation and understanding from Americans” is imperative, so is being proactive, or at the very least, approaching “our beauty of differences” with a new perspective.
Law enforcement may not be the only methods of approaching the issue. Mexico’s history of economic recession, its marginally successful free trade agreement and defunct government have led to the migration endemic. All the while its citizens have been living directly south of a wealthy, economically strong, global superpower. Keeping one foot in that world wouldn’t do any harm; perhaps it would remind us that those neighbors to the south are also Americans.
-Jeffrey Scranton, junior
Not monopoly money
I was outraged when I read “Biggest Eaters in the GWorld” (Sept. 26, p. 7). These kids didn’t just go on an eating marathon, they went on an irresponsible spending binge of what one kid calls “monopoly money.” I can’t even verbalize how angry it makes me to hear students refer to Colonial Cash as something that isn’t “real.”
Not every student’s mommy and daddy are paying for them to attend this school. Every dollar I spend on GWorld is just as real to me as the cash in my wallet or the money in my bank account or the credit on my credit cards. Just because it isn’t green and you can’t feel it between your fingers does not mean it isn’t someone’s money that they worked hard to earn.
I personally resent the fact that I have to pay for a set amount of Colonial Cash every semester just because I live on campus. Why? Because as a responsible spender, there’s no possible way I can spend that much money in a year at the venues where GWorld is accepted. At the beginning of the year I tried to convince my younger brother who is a freshman at a community college back home to let me buy all of his art supplies with my GWorld and then he could pay me back in cash. (Unfortunately, he wouldn’t go along with the plan.) But, I need the cash because I can’t use GWorld to buy a $28 Chinatown bus ticket to Philadelphia or an $8 train ticket from Philly to Doylestown so I can get home, and I can’t use GWorld to buy books on or to buy a metro card.
So, if you ever want to go on another eating binge please call me. I’ll pay for it on my GWorld and you can reimburse me in cash, because they’re the same thing! Oh wait, no. For you it’s monopoly money. I forgot, never mind.
-Kate Sliwinski, junior