Immigration and Race Attitudes
Chapter 15: Occupational Complexes
Emory S. Bogardus
Persons in different occupations make different racial contacts. In certain occupations one immigrant race is more frequently found than in another. Temperament and other inherited behavior patterns, for instance, permit the Slavs to work in steel mills, but keep the Jews and Italians out. An American who works in a steel mill will have first-hand experiences with Slavs, but only hearsay or derivative impressions of Italians or Jews. His attitudes toward all Slavs will be built out of contacts with unlettered Slavs; hence, race misunderstandings may grow out of the fact that one culture level of a given race may be employed in unskilled occupations while another level of the same race is engaged in business and the professions. One person may get his impressions of Slavs as fellow workers, whereas another person may contact them as customers in his store. The priest will contact them as worshippers; the teacher will not contact them, but their children. Thus the same group of unlettered Slavs may be contacted in a dozen or more different connections and become the source of as many different impressions of them. Hence, Americans in the different occupations in which Slavs figure in one way or another will develop different sets of attitudes toward Slavs, and no one of these sets of attitudes will be more than partial. Each will be biased. No one will be entirely representative.
It is not possible or necessary here to discuss the racial attitudes characteristic of each of the six, seven, or more. hundred occupations. Only a few occupational
( 194) types will be selected; for example, the unskilled worker, the business man, the social worker, the teacher, and the preacher.
Unskilled Labor Contacts. —An American professional man, a business man, or an American woman of middle class or higher status is likely to gain an unfavorable impression when first contacting an unskilled immigrant laborer. To the extent that the latter is uncouth and unkempt humanity in the rough, so far will there be unfavorable reactions. Moreover, his point of view in many things is likely to be narrow and hence repelling. If he has developed a " defeat " psychology and has become disgruntled, he makes an unfavorable impression.
Moreover, even Americans of unskilled labor status will turn against him because of his " foreign " ways, his queer European or oriental customs, his broken English, his garlic-tinged breath, or his wife-beating habits. If the immigrant " works longer hours for less money " than the native-born workman, then the latter's status is invaded, and the immigrant becomes especially repulsive.
Sometimes, the unskilled American works for immigrants who have suddenly or otherwise become wealthy and who display the worst phases of their nature in their contacts with him. Such experiences are especially repelling, for the status of a native who must needs submit to arbitrary control by immigrants is often held in question by his fellow natives.
Unskilled labor contacts frequently lead to racial prejudice because (1) of cultural differences and (2) of invasion of status. People of a higher culture usually harbor feelings of superiority and hence of vertical distance toward those on lower culture levels. An unskilled immigrant labor supply will sooner or later be viewed competitively by native workmen, and thus fear of loss of economic and social status will arise. An American workman reports that he had a job
( 195) where Negroes were employed and that he was asked to work beside a Negro at the same bench, but that the particular Negro's attitude of arrogance and superiority soon turned him against the Negro. " His low ideals of morality as evidenced by the stories and experiences he told gave me the impression that all Negroes were bad." An American employed in a mountain recreation camp came in contact as a waiter with a number of "got-rich-quick " Jews. His prejudice was aroused against them, because they were " far from backward and would monopolize every evening of the week with their silly rabblings if they were permitted, and were continually fussing about their accommodations and about getting their money's worth." The manager could not talk to them, " for they were so wishy-washy that they would squirm out of everything." Thus the account runs and reveals a rising tide of antagonism towards all Jews.108. For three summers I worked on a section gang of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad; so naturally I worked with a lot of Mexicans and Italians. It was during these two summers that my dislike for the Mexicans arose. They are, in the first place, very dirty. Their cars are never clean. Their women are not only immoral but just as dirty as the men. At least, this is the case with those with whom I have had some association. I do not mean to say that there were not some good Mexicans, but I believe that the general run of them that migrate to the United States are of the type I have known. One summer, that of 1925, I worked in a wire mill at Sterling, Illinois, where I again worked alongside of Mexicans and had a chance to see their living conditions. They were the same as the ones I noted in the section gang. There is another reason why I don't like them; they are very illiterate. They do not learn English any more than they have to. Their women will learn just so much, enough so that they can tell the butcher or grocer what they want.
109. As long as I can remember, my father has always taught me never to draw the line between any of the races or creeds, mainly because we are of a persecuted race and because men should he judged by what they are worth as men rather than by their
( 196) race. Therefore, it is a difficult task for me to tell of my increased dislike for any race in the last five years.
This summer my father gave me a job in his plant as a common day laborer to work by the side of all types of men and races. While working I came to care less for the Mexicans than I did before. It was for this reason: They knew I was a boss's son who was on their own plane during the working period and that in many cases I had to take advice from them, so they saw to it that they would demonstrate to me how clever they were as compared to me. If I had a job to perform with a Mexican, he would grab for the easiest the first thing and force me to struggle with something he knew more about than I.
I would not have noticed this in them if all the men in my father's shop were that way, but the white men always told me in a pleasing manner and sought to show me the ways and means, whereas the Mexicans always sneered at me and wanted me to know I was subordinate to them. As a matter of fact, I never minded the whole situation, because I had a purpose in my work, that of learning the routine at bottom, and also a chance to size up men. My conclusion was that I am not as prone to trust the " peon " Mexican as I was before this summer.
Business and Employer Contacts. —Business men con tact immigrants on levels of trade where each party looks out for himself, where each thinks in buying or selling, where material interests are usually in the foreground. Consequently the American business man does not always gain a fair impression of immigrants. It is as a profit-maker that he makes his contacts with them, and hence they do not always disclose their best nature to him.
Business men in dealing with immigrants who are in business often report unpleasant relationships. American customers in trading with immigrant merchants often react against them. Jews, Syrians, Armenians, and others are criticized for having two or more prices for the same piece of merchandise. " They have to be jewed down, you cannot trust them, they are ` foreigners.' " In these remarks, great social distance is evident. There has been little or no at
( 197) -tempt to understand the immigrant's culture and the reasons for his "many prices." Moreover, Americans who have worked for immigrant merchants have turned against the " shrewd " type. The immigrant in business situations is easily misunderstood, and is likely to show his " worst " nature, or perhaps unwittingly creates antipathy against his race.
Competition, underselling, and loss of business status are often experienced by American business men when the immigrant sets himself up in business. Considerable prejudice against the Jewish business man arises in this way. On the whole, however, the main factor figuring in wide racial distances that develop in business relations is difference in cultures.110. I actually hate to see the majority of them (Jews) come into the store. They expect you to wait on them first, and let the others go. No matter what you do for them they are never satisfied. They enter the store with a sarcastic expression on their faces that makes you want to throw them out. They usually get excited and become very insulting.
The most puzzling of all to me is the fact that they can't get along among themselves. I may have been rather hasty in forming this opinion; but I have lived all my life in one racial group to which I belong, and my bitter experiences with the Jewish people this winter have forced this conclusion upon me.
I have many Jewish friends that I like very much, but the group that I have criticized is the race as a whole as I see them and deal with them every day. I hate to hold such a feeling toward any race and I hope that time will overcome it.
111. It was my experience while working for a concern that I came in contact with the Russian Jews, and because of this I have formed a very unfavorable opinion and dislike for them. My acquaintance with the Russian Jews happened to be in the grocery business at L. Their peculiarities are very similar to the regular type that most of us have come in contact with at one time or other. They are very shrewd in business, especially in the buying part of the business. If you could show them a profit or give them
( 198) a discount, you could always sell them by explaining in detail the principle of profit. Their temper was very easily aroused, and one would have to use tact in order not to say anything that dealt with their nationality or with their personal nature. They are not a pleasant people to carry on a conversation with, because they never have anything to talk about, except business and their hard luck. They lack sociability and are backward in adopting new customs.
The Russian Jews appreciate service but never return it. Service and profit are the two things which can gain their confidence. Once having their confidence, you can carry on very successful business dealings.
These Jewish people generally have three or four children playing in their place of business, and the parents are very strict regarding the obedience of their children. They are very religious and never fail to live up to their customs and traditions. The Russian Jews are very unneat in appearance and lack the principles of hygiene. The main objection of having them in this country is that they control most of the large manufacturing concerns and that the American merchant cannot face their competition because of their close dealings 
Still another angle is represented by the business man who breaks across social distances and learns to understand the immigrants with whom he deals. Where rapport is once established, then the merchant-immigrant contacts become freer, defense mechanisms are relaxed, and race attitudes become favorable. Behind these favorable reactions, as a rule, are behavior patterns of race friendliness. Many business men are accustomed to treat all comers on a racial brotherhood basis and to overlook or to discount racial peculiarities. A business man of broad outlook and kindly insight reports that he has sold Ford cars to many Japanese and that, in dealing with them, he finds that on the whole they are very serious and that they try hard to meet their payments. When they have a crop failure, they come at once to him and ask for an extension of time. " At no time in the past years of my business connections and dealings
( 199) with them, have I known a Japanese to run away with a car or in any way to try to escape paying the bill."
112. Although I have not had very close contact with Japanese in southern California, they have impressed me as being a far better race than they are credited with being. Arriving in Los Angeles six years ago, I was told about the attempts of Japanese to obtain a foothold in southern California. I pictured them as aggressive land-grabbers who were seeking to drive out the Californians through trickery. I now have much respect for the Japanese who come to this country.
I began to reverse my attitude towards the Japs when I was an employee for a laundry company during the summer months. I delivered to many Japanese and Mexicans, besides Americans. In collecting bills the Japs were always prompt and honest; they wanted to pay all they owed. The Mexicans, however, avoided their bills and often attempted to cheat me. The honesty of the Japs soon became apparent.
I have watched the Japs work in their fields; they are hard workers and are deserving of every cent they make. Americans would never work as the Japs do. Vegetables raised by Japs are cheaper, too, than those raised by Americans.
A few months ago, in a time of great need, I was obliged to call on a Japanese girl to do some work for me. I had been warned previously that the girl was lazy and would not be of much use. I decided to take a chance on her. After telling her the importance of haste and quality in her work, I put her on her own initiative and encouraged her to use her own ideas. The result was that the girl did her work on time and did more than she was asked. I found her as fine a co-worker as any American girl could have been. I found the Jap girl to be as human as any of my own race and that by giving my best to her she was more than willing to give her best to me.
113. Probably the most vivid experiences were with the Greeks whom I came in contact with in business relations. Last year I was out of school and worked in a grocery store of a small Kansas town of seven thousand inhabitants. Now there were in the town two Greek-owned confectionaries, one Greek café, and two Greek-owned billiard parlors.
In the course of my clerking I found ready and shrewd customers
( 200) in the owners of this café, who to my surprise were willing to purchase canned goods and vegetables of the better qualities if the right price were quoted to them. And, too, as I sold goods to these patrons, I soon realized that it was the rule at their café to buy the best for their money.
So when I would wish to eat out at some café, I would go to their café to eat and soon grow to understand the much-abused Greek and found that he is ardently persistent in attempting to learn our language and to become an American citizen; he is willing to do many favors for any one who aids him.
Then, too, I learned also that the Greek, contrary to popular opinion, is always willing to back community enterprises and boost the town by aiding financially and otherwise in the promotion of civic festivities.
As for the actual household trading with the Greeks who ran the confectionaries and cafés, I also found the Greek willing to try to adapt himself to the American standard of living, though he seems to have a particular liking to vegetables and fruits in preference to canned goods. Contrary to what people generally think, the Greek even in his household trading, seems to prefer quality before quantity.
And too, in course of conversations with the Greeks while doing their trading, I found that they were quite normal, though shy, and resented very much any reference to the fact that the posting of their old national flag and emblems in their businesses with Old Glory meant that they still owed their allegiance to their " Fatherland." 
Social Work Contacts. — Social workers, engaged in what is primarily a " nonprofit-giving " occupation, are, on the whole, of a friendly sort. The immigrant when in need is in a receptive, not in a defensive mood. The social worker's contact with him is, as a rule, on a more favorable side than the business man's contact. He is seen in a suppressed, defeated rôle, needing and responding to help. He reacts to the social worker somewhat in the same way that a sick person does to a physician. Thus, the social worker develops favorable racial attitudes. Moreover, the social worker goes out to meet his clients, with friendly expectancy. His pre-
(201) -vailing attitudes, barring accident, will naturally arouse friendly responses.
On the other hand, the social worker may be taken advantage of by pseudosocial immigrants. A certain percentage of charity recipients are " fakers " and deliberately seek to take advantage of the social worker. In immigrant cases of this type the social worker is likely to react adversely. Hence the social worker's contacts with immigrants may lead to race antipathy.
114. Since childhood I had a fixed notion that all Mexicans were bad. As I grew older, " Mexican " to me meant " undesirable." Since coming to California three years ago, I have concluded that the only excuse for my opinion of these people was my ignorance. One of the first things that impressed me in working with the Mexicans is the wonderful loyalty they show toward the family or friends in trouble. Another thing, while they never save a penny, the majority make some provisions for the rainy day, through small insurance or in buying a home. As a rule they have " grit," too; they will stand a lot of pain without a groan. As compared with other classes there are few cases of child desertion; they are devoted to their children, although they may be ignorant of ways for promoting their health and happiness. And so after three years observation I must say the Mexican has more good in him than I ever thought .
115. Upon coming to California, I believed the Mexicans to be immoral and lazy and dirty. In my five years as social-case worker my vision has become more tolerant. In fact I am fond of the race —" with all their faults I love them still." To me they are a race of emotional, brown people who bury their emotions partly from pride and partly from shyness of the Americans. Great loyalty and love of family are manifest, with the men caressing and caring deeply for their children, sharing their last tortilla with even a stranger in the home.
A large percentage of my Mexican mothers are clean housekeepers, but they do not feel it necessary to rally themselves to any effort outside of their simple home duties. They like to use spare time crocheting elaborate and useless tidies, but of course that is due to their protected home life, no matter how poverty stricken they may he.
One great surprise this winter was given the welfare bureau when our unemployed Mexican men came regularly and promptly at 8 A.M. to go to the city wood pile for work in exchange for their food and rent. A surprising issue in two instances where the men were particularly reticent is that we learned that they were sensitive because they had to receive relief. We often believe these people have but little humor, but there is a keen sense of clean, wholesome humor in their lives.
Teacher Contacts. — Teachers are not only in a " nonprofit-giving " occupation, but they are dealing chiefly with children rather than with adults. As contrasted with social workers who often give money and temporary relief and thus may be deliberately " worked," the teacher usually has only instruction to give. The teacher in dealing with children gains more favorable race impressions on the whole than if he were working with the rank and file of adult immigrants. Children are developing, while parents are more likely to have fixed habits.
Immigrant parents are grateful to teachers for the interest that the latter take in their children, and thus teachers may easily develop favorable racial attitudes. Little children whatever their race are often judged " cute " and interesting, and hence teachers may receive appreciative expressions from almost any race and in turn develop friendly attitudes toward that race. In their occupational training and outlook, teachers develop friendly behavior patterns. These serve as excellent mechanisms for making friendly responses to immigrants.
A teacher reports that she has the most friendly feeling toward the Japanese because of her fondness for Japanese children. " Their cuteness appeals to me." Later, she had some Japanese boys in her room at school and found them " most easy to work with and so willing to study their lessons. A teacher just can't help loving a child who always tries to get his lessons." Later she became acquainted with
( 203) adult Japanese; and although they do not have " that likableness in them that there is in the children, they do all they can to please you, and you soon find as I did that they are very desirable friends." Of all occupational groups public-school teachers report the greatest fondness for immigrant children. Immigrant children of certain races, such as Japanese children, are more courteous than American-born or American-reared children, and consequently teachers respond to them more extensively.
A public-school teacher suddenly found herself in charge of a room of twenty-nine Mexican and two Russian children in a sixth-grade classroom. Up to that time she had never given Mexicans any thought and had no particular reactions. They were foreign to her past life. She soon became fond of her Mexican children, at first on the grounds of pity more than for any other reason. When she visited their homes and found a family of ten living in one small room which contained one old bed, an old broken-down stove, and no other furniture, she was moved to help them out. They seemed very appreciative and showed that appreciation by doing things for the school in return. They were found to have a " peculiar " disposition, but " if one learns how to handle them, one can make true friends of them." In this statement notice that the wish to make friends with them is present. " I guess that just coming in contact with these people, becoming acquainted with the families, working with them, has made me like them."
116. The first Japanese child I became acquainted with was a Japanese boy who was about fourteen years of age. He arrived at school one morning able to speak only a few words of our language. He was a fine-looking lad, very muscular and indeed physically well fit. The teacher who was very young was indeed having a new experience in teaching, as I know this was her first attempt in teaching a foreign pupil from Japan. The boy was here to learn, to become a citizen, and to be a loyal American man right from the start, because the first thing he wanted our teacher to do
(204) was to give him an English given name; and she did. She named him George. George started in at first grade and within a short time was in high school. It seems like a fairy tale but a true one, as he had that spirit of success that will make any one gain in this work if the right perseverance is ever present. George was a perfectly normal boy, not a bookworm but of that type who works when he should work and plays when he should play. He became a brother to us all. He entered in all our games. We children never even thought that he should play by himself and live in a place in the world away from us. This racial conflict did not enter into our lives. He helped and respected us, and we helped and respected him. I can always remember George as a true and faithful worker, because, if our teacher ever wanted anything done in the school room or school grounds, George's hand was one of the first to be noticed.
117. I had an unfavorable attitude toward the colored population until I was assigned to teach a colored class in an evening school. I had expected the class to be of foreigners; and when the principal told me that it was of colored people, I should have resigned had I not wanted the salary too badly. It was hard to keep the tears back at first. Then I overheard one woman say to another, " I'se says to her." It brought to me recollections of the soft drawl of mother's old colored coachman. I had delighted in his society as a child. Surely I could find some element of interest in this colored class.
I deliberately set to work to unlearn all the lessons my mother had taught me about the Negroes. They were so responsive that they stimulated me to further efforts in their behalf, and before I realized it I was supremely happy among " my people " in the night school.
There were a group of colored boys in the neighborhood who had served in the last war. They had gotten away from their local neighborhood and had become accustomed to something better. It was decidedly distasteful to them to return to their previous occupations and unsanitary ways of living. Together we made a survey of the kinds and qualities of occupations open to colored men in L. at that time. Civil-service positions as postmen seemed to offer the brightest future. Therefore, my class definitely took up the task of preparing those boys to pass the civil-service examinations for such positions.
Today I often meet one of " my boys " in the uniform of a
( 205) United States postman. It is difficult to tell which of us is most delighted by such a meeting.The rôle played by basic behavior patterns of type is seen in the following case. The sudden contact with repulsive living conditions of the given immigrants was fatal to favorable responses. The unfavorable reactions became " fixated." Behind this fixation was, of course, a narrow life pattern.
118. I have the most dislike for the Mexicans, and I believe the reason for this is that, when I was doing my cadet teaching in the normal school, I was sent to A. Street School one and one-half hours daily to do my practice teaching. My training teacher believed I should have a variety of experiences. I had a B1 class of fifty, mostly Mexicans, a few Russians, etc., mixed in, but not a single white. Part of my daily work was to go to the homes of the absent ones and look up the reasons for such, and never in my life did I see such filth and poverty —children sleeping in heaps of dirty rags on floors with rats running across, and not a single window for ventilation, and babies chewing crusts and dirty bits of food picked out of the gutters. Well, after these visits, I certainly felt like a thorough cleaning up for myself. Back at school, once each week, I had to help scrub the little ones, get them out of their clothes in which they were sewed-up, de-animalize their heads by various methods, etc. I suppose now I am glad for those early experiences and a look into the seamy side of life, but it has turned me against the Mexicans for all times. Of course, I see many nice clean ones, but cannot help thinking of my first experiences with the race. They seem to be a people who do not wish to be bettered much. They live from hand to mouth, and are good beggars, and will accept all you give them, and then some. They are very childlike and dependable, and are quite contented in their filth and poverty. I do not feel we can do much for them.
The racial reactions of a case group of young clergymen are the most favorable of all. The actual experiences of the young minister with immigrant races may be very limited, but in such as have occurred, he has approached the im-
(206) -migrant in a markedly idealistic attitude. The immigrant has responded with special deference. To him a religious representative is one to bow down before, or else to keep entirely away from. Thus the contacts of the minister have often occurred when the minister has been most idealistic in his behavior and the immigrant has been most deferent. Each meets the other on a superior plane of conduct. The young minister's friendly attitudes are especially noticeable, but these are partly explained by a desire to study the immigrant or possibly even to proselyte him. The limited antipathy is an expression of the brotherhood-of-man doctrine and of an unwillingness to exclude from one's country a whole race purely on racial grounds. The rôle that ministers' opinions, as contrasted with their attitudes, has played in these cases has not been easy to determine.
Occupational divisions and racial cleavages often occur along the same lines. The members of the races against which prejudice is most frequently expressed are debarred from certain occupations, particularly from the professions. As a result, they first grow discouraged and then antagonistic toward the social order that is holding them back. About the best, for instance, that a colored boy may look forward to in many cities is that of being a janitor or an elevator boy at eighty or ninety dollars a month; but " if there is any family at all, this income is not sufficient, and the wife must work while the children go to the devil."
119. The colored boy comes back worse oftener than better. The reason for this is that the white boy is taught a trade, but the colored fellow is taught to be a cook or a porter on the pullman. This does not appeal to the colored boy. He wants to do the same thing that the others do; and when he can't, he loses heart and gets discouraged, and goes from bad to worse. He gets indifferent to punishment or to social disapproval, and when he gets out he is reckless. Prison has no terrors for him. Why should he worry? There is no future for him anyway.
120. There's very little advancement for me. A chum of mine has been working for years for an air compressor company. He started out as a delivery boy, and never worked up. He is an expert mechanic, but he is still at the salary of a delivery boy. The boss tells him when there is an opening next time he'll be promoted, but many next times have come and gone and he is still a delivery boy. Oh, education is all right at any time; but I think that when I graduate from high school, I'll go in business with my father and brother. I work after school, but the only thing I can get working for a white man is washing cars. You have no idea how it feels to know that people look down upon you. I don't always remember it. I don't carry it with me all the time, but it stares me in the face, and people demonstrate their prejudice in many ways.
As the demand for laborers varies, the racial reactions vary. As unemployment increases, competition develops and prejudice multiplies. Restrictions are made on racial bases.121. There are a number of reasons for the unemployment. Whenever work for the whites becomes scarce, they crowd over and take our jobs and put us out of work. Many of our positions are now filled with white men and women. The maids in the big department stores used to be Negroes, but are now white girls; the waiters in the big restaurants used to be colored, but are now white, and so on through the list. We do not complain, but it is very hard not to be able to get work to buy food to eat.
As occupations vary, so racial attitudes are different. Invasion of the status of natives is an offense that any ambitious immigrant is likely to commit—without knowing it. As the types of social relationships vary from occupation to occupation, so special or peculiar racial attitudes will crop out. To understand and to cope with these attitudes adequately, it is necessary to know the occupational attitudes and values characteristic of each occupation. Racial attitudes are often to he accounted for in terms of the occupa-
(208) -tional contacts of natives with immigrants. It is not the immigrant per se so much as it is the occupational relationships which he holds to the natives that explain his racial prejudice or friendliness.
1. Interview a number of persons in a selected occupation concerning their new experiences, and analyze the results.
2. Compare occupational variations in race attitudes with regional distinctions in as many ways as possible.
3. Compare the occupational attitudes of a business man whom you know, at as many points as possible with those of a college or university teacher, also of your acquaintance.
4. Choose some one person, and analyze the relationships between his occupational and his domestic or family attitudes.
5. Analyze the connections between a selected person's occupational and religious attitudes of life.
6. Select an occupation not discussed in this chapter, and make a study of occupational attitudes peculiar to it.
7. Choose a definite occupational attitude of a selected person and write its " life history."
CHICAGO COMMISSION OF RACE RELATIONS, The Negro in Chicago, Chap. VIII. University of Chicago Press, 1922.
DANIELS, JOHN, America Via the Neighborhood, Chaps. X, XI. Harper, 1920.
DAVIS, JEROME, The Russian Immigrant, Chap. III. Macmillan, 1922.
JENKS, J. W., AND LAUCK, W. J., The Immigration Problem, Chap. XII. Funk and Wagnalls, 6th edit., 1926.
LEISERSON, WILLIAM M., Adjusting Immigrant and Industry. Harper, 1924.
MACLEAN, ANNIE M., Our Neighbors, Chaps. III-V, VII. Macmillan, 1922.
STEINER, E. A., From Alien to Citizen, Chaps. XIII, XVIII, XIX. Revell, 1914.
——, The Japanese Invasion, Chap. VII. McClurg, 1917.