Friday, May 20, 2005

reefer madness

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, has new book out called Reefer Madness; a collection of three essays on the American underground. The topics covered are pot, illegal migrant labor, and porno. Most interesting to me was the essay on illegal labor in the strawberry farms of California, where the bulk of the illegals are Mixtec Indians from western Oaxaca (where I lived last year). Schlosser calls the Mixtecs "some of the poorest and most exploited people in the Western Hemisphere," and after reading about their treatment by the strawberry growers, it was easy to understand why the Mixtecs didn't seem to be all that crazy about Americans.

Some of my students at UTM once gave a presentation on NAFTA in which they claimed that 85% of Mixtecan men between the ages of 18 and 40 had worked at one time picking fruit in the states. I had thought that the number sounded high, but maybe they were right after all. Gives me second thoughts now on having flunked them on the presentation. (just kidding!)

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