Archive for May 3rd, 2008

“You better believe Black teens looking for summer jobs are feeling the impact of immigration,” said Gomez. It’s worrisome because Blacks are suffering more from the invasion than whites because they (generally) have fewer resources with which to run away from immigration.”

Black Teens Feel the Chill of ‘Bilingual Preferred’
Black Voice News
April 30, 2008

Don’t speak Spanish?can’t get the job?’

When San Bernardino High School teens Jazanique Jackson, Ashanae Brown and Kimyen Hawkins decided they wanted to work this summer, they left nothing to chance.

They knew the rules: plan ahead; role play; be positive; adapt; relate and encourage.

So when they hit the streets to start their summer job search they were prepared for virtually every eventuality except one.

¿No habla ingles? Can’t speak Spanish.

“We were shocked. We applied at places like McDonalds, Burger King and Jack in the Box. We went to shoe stores, pizza parlors and convenience stores. The workers were overwhelmingly Spanish speaking. Pretty much they always ask us, ‘Do you speak Spanish?’ They said we prefer bilingual,” says Jazanique. And, as an American who only speaks English, her answer leaves her without the job.

“It’s hard when you can’t even get an interview because you don’t speak Spanish,” said Jazanique.

For Jazanique, Ashanae and Kimyen the job hunting experience is both frustrating and sobering. The unemployment rate among African-American teens is shockingly six times the national rate. This according to the U.S. Department of Labor translates into approximately 296,000 African-American teenagers actively seeking employment who are finding it difficult to secure a job.

It does seem strange to Kimyen who grew up believing jobs are plentiful if you’re flexible, motivated and willing to work hard.

“It’s like three strikes…Black, young and non-Spanish speaking. I’m mad but there is nothing I can do about it. It’s not fair.”…..

“It’s a very stressful and difficult dilemma. Sometimes you feel like you’re straddling two nations, on one hand you strive for diversity, on the other you are forced to hire people who are best equipped to serve your core customer base. Sometimes that boils down to bilingual preferred,” says fast food manager Kevin Ellis who is biracial (Latino/Black) speaks some Spanish and does everything from hire workers to taking customer’s orders, cooking food, assembling sandwiches and handing orders to customers.

For Jazanique, Ashanae and Kimyen that reality comes as more teens prepare to seek summer jobs. Citing rising gasoline and food prices among other things, Junior Achievement released the results of an annual survey showing a 22% increase in the number of teens who want to work this summer, says a spokesperson for the nonprofit.

“The job chill is not limited to the fast food industry,” insists Miki Nelson who had to apply at 19 different businesses before he got a summer job stocking books at a national retailer.

“In most cases I was asked. ‘Do you speak Spanish’? We are being pushed out of minimum wage jobs on every front. Employers are under intense pressure to capture every dollar that comes in the door. Customers want cheap, fast, hassle free everything. What happens to Black inner city kids - whether they get summer jobs or not - is not on their radar,” said Nelson.

“When we look in the want ads for jobs we qualify for, they say ‘Bilingual, bilingual, bilingual preferred’!” said Nelson. Which he and other Black teens have learned translates into, “If you aren’t bilingual, don’t bother applying.”

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BRIDGETON — The last of six illegal immigrants charged with picking up a 13-year-old girl at an Irving Avenue dollar store, then sexually assaulting her multiple times before she turned up 24 hours later, pleaded guilty Friday.

Vincente Rodriguez, 26, of Hopewell Township, pleaded guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child in exchange for a three-year prison sentence.

Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen, admitted through a Spanish-speaking translator to Superior Court Judge Richard Geiger that he fondled the victim’s breasts during the August 2006 abduction.

“Did you have an encounter with a girl under the age of 16?” Geiger asked.

“Si,” Rodriguez replied.

Rodriguez was originally offered a plea deal of eight years in state prison if he pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Earlier in the day, 19-year-old Edson Leontes was sentenced to a state prison term after pleading guilty earlier this year to aggravated sexual assault in the case.

Both Rodriguez and Leontes were farm laborers at Brookside Nursery, in Hopewell Township, one of three locations where prosecutors believe the underage victim was assaulted.

Read more.

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