Monday, December 09, 2002

First and second generation immigrants are quite different. Mel says that at her school where almost everybody is Latino, there aren't interracial tensions. The biggest tensions are between first-gen and second-gen.

First generation: Forget the white kids with the studs in the tongue," Riz says. "Indians are gonna work for you. At the beginning, they work for minimum wage. Then little raise, little raise, slowly, slowly. Everyone live together; they are saving money, six people in household working, they bank 80 percent of their money and use 20 percent for expenses. They don't drink, no clubs, no fancy clothes. Suddenly, they have $60,000 in the bank. Then they will buy the Subway or the Blimpie.

Second generation: Riz worries about the second generation... his cousin, Ali Momin, 22... unlike Riz when Riz started out, Ali won't wear $3 shirts from K-Mart. His cologne is Dreamer by Versace. His savings account is zero. "Riz tells me a whole buncha times, 'Don't be wasting money,' " Ali says. "I keep that in my head for a couple of days, then it goes away."

From a Washington Post article on labour in the Old South (link via Mars or Bust).

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