A little slack

While commuting to my job back in the early 1980s, I happened to sit next to a woman who scowled when she heard two Hmong women speaking their native language and started railing about all the “Vietnamese” immigrants who lived in crowded apartments and were on welfare and “refused” to learn English.

I suggested that they should be given a little slack, seeing that they had arrived only months before.

She sniffed, “They could find jobs if they wanted to. There are plenty of jobs out there, even for people who don’t speak English. Why, when my grandfather came over from Sweden, he had a job within 24 hours of arriving in Minneapolis.”

I asked what kind of a job he had found.

“Mucking out stalls in a livery stable,” she said proudly. “I don’t see why some of those Vietnamese couldn’t do that.”

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