Imagine waking up one morning to find that your whole world had changed. You discover that your husband has disappeared; your son is missing.
To make matters worse, your maid, the Latino woman, who you count on to clean your house, prepare the meals, help raise the kids and run errands, has not shown up for work. A call to the police brings the news that this is happening all over California. All the Mexicans have disappeared.
This is the theme of the comedy-with-a-message, “A Day Without A Mexican.”
A calamity has descended upon California. Not only maids, but those who pick our crops, wash our cars, clean our hotel rooms, make our clothing, work in restaurants as cooks, bus boys, waiters and waitresses – in short, all those Mexicans who work at jobs that are considered menial and unimportant by many “Anglos” have all disappeared.
It makes for a funny and entertaining movie. The message is that we should appreciate these Mexican workers because we really can’t get along without them. The film makes that point well.
What’s missing is any mention of what drives these workers from their countries (all people from the different countries of Central and South America are called Mexicans by many non-Latino Californians) to come to the United States. No mention is made of the poverty and high unemployment that our Central American neighbors live under. Also not shown are the hardship, sacrifice and dangers that these immigrants face in their attempts to reach our country.
Missing, also, is any mention of the low wages and the terrible sweatshop conditions that many of these immigrants are forced to work under. Those who are undocumented have no way to protest because they are under the constant threat of deportation.
But, hey, it’s a comedy, and the drama part is held to a minimum. Besides, any movie that gives some exposure to the problems that Latino immigrants face is worthwhile. So, gather up your kids and go see it, they – and you – may learn something.
Armando Ramirez is a member of the Mexican American
Equality Commission of the Communist Party USA.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.