ART BY TIFFANY CHAN
By ADRIAN HERNANDEZ
Every job has a place in everyday society, even if the job is back-breaking or filthy. Yet, why does society constantly look upon blue-collar jobs?
In society, people often assume that all blue-collar workers are uneducated and unskilled and tend to place white-collar jobs, such as doctor and business managers, on a pedestal. Unfortunately, these delusive stereotypes cement widespread discrimination against full-time blue-collar workers in society, and has created an illusion that people with blue-collar jobs are inferior to other working-classes.
A common stereotype about people who have blue-collar jobs is that they are unskilled and unintelligent, but this is not the case. Due to their own financial and personal problems, some may be limited to pursuing factory or construction jobs. Many students who could have gone into white-collar jobs may be forced into the blue-collar workforce because they either have started a family or do not have the funds. People need to see that blue-collar workers cannot pursue their particular career for multiple other reasons than being unskilled in academics.
For instance, my uncle is a truck driver and my aunt works in a factory. Because they were raised in poverty, they did not have the time or money to acquire the education to go into prestigious professions. As a result, they became blue-collar workers and they still work the same jobs to this day to provide better education, life and job for my cousins.
According to Mike Rose, a faculty member of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the author of The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker, stated that the United States measures people’s intelligence based on how well they do in school, so a blue-collar will seem unintelligent to society. However, the tests do not measure how well people do with skills other than academics, like a plumber or waitress, so to say that a blue-collar worker is not smart because they did not pass in academics does not show their true abilities.
Ultimately, the stereotypes that apply to blue-collar and white-collar workers should not determine one person’s value. Although some workers that align with these blue-collar and white-collar stereotypes, not every blue-collar worker is simple-minded and carefree, and not every white-collar employee is intelligent and virtuous. There can be an amazing waiter who works hard and a terrible, lazy doctor who does not care about his clients or vice versa. There will always be unmotivated people in any workplace and everyone needs to realize that a group of people in a company will never work if everyone is lazy and unmotivated.
Even though blue-collar jobs are seen as extremely unwanted jobs in society, it does not mean they do not require professional skill and deserve the respect. Construction workers, farmers, plumbers and other manual workers require important skills that they need to do their jobs correctly and efficiently. Many aspects of society are carried out by blue-collar workers from building infrastructure to maintaining public services. Blue-collar workers’ hard work, endurance and dedication in pursuing manual labor professions are some of their impressive commitments to their job. A doctor’s hard work can result many lives being saved, but this could not happen with the work that blue-collar put into faculties and equipment that doctors use to save these lives.
However, people will still make the argument that blue-collar workers who are in poverty deserve the life that they have and discrimination they receive from society because they chose that life and job. This can the reason for some of the blue-collar workers, but that is a huge generalization. As stated before, people can be forced into these jobs because of circumstances that are out of their control, such as family, poverty, or disability These people do not deserve their financial hardships and are hardworking employees who work as hard as anyone else for the same reasons: to provide for their loved ones.
Overall, people must not rely on these societal stereotypes on blue-collar workers to judge their capacity. Everyone is in the same boat; the prestige of jobs only creates an illusive distinction. If people assume things about people without learning anything about them, then they are essentially basing their opinions on something as arbitrary as the color of someone’s skin.