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Monday, August 06, 2012

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Although Hispanic is a problematic category, I've never encountered anyone I thought as Hispanic panhandling, or Asian. I'd say my experience with race is more even than yours-- higher percentage of whites, although not quite even.

A problem with this kind of question is that it involves a really tricky kind of hindsight. A joke version of that kind of hindsight goes like this:

Adult to young person: DId you know that blue jays go to hell on Fridays?

Young person: No they don't.

Adult: Well, did you ever see a blue jay on Friday?

Of course the young person can't remember. Later, driving the point home, the adult will say: "Hey, you said you were going to remember and check. I'll bet you've still not seen a blue jay on Friday." (This was enough of a standing joke in my family growing up that I will still make a mental note when I see a blue jay on Friday. A few weeks ago, four flew out of my fig bushes on a Friday...).

The point is, that if you weren't watching for something, you may not have noticed and (at least I would ) have trouble being really certain it had never occurred. That said, I'd be startled if I've ever seen an Asian panhandler, and am moderately certain I've not seen Hispanic panhandlers.

Hope the blue jay digression didn't wander too far.

There are many panhandlers, of many races and persuasions in our cities and towns. To say that one has never seen a(n) Hispanic panhandler, is, in itself misleading. Why? Because not all Hispanics LOOK like Mexican; Guatemalan; Nicaraguan or other "typically regarded" peoples of Hispanic heritage. Hispanics also hail (hale?) from the Dominican Republic; Haiti; Trinidad and Jamaica---and many of them LOOK black.

Hispanic people also come from places like Argentina and Ecuador and many of those folks have fair skin---even blonde hair.

Finally, there may be other reasons why we believe we have never seen Hispanic panhandlers. One of those might be this: There are many "undocumented immigrants" in these United States. Or, if you prefer: illegal aliens. Such individuals do not want to call undue attention to themselves or their families. Deportation is not a desirable alternative---unless, of course, one is broke and has little or nothing to lose.

I just thought I'd straighten out the record a bit.

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