The July 31 front-page article “When the majority is in the minority” vividly described the experiences of Heaven Engle, a young white worker in a chicken-processing facility, one of the few English speakers there. It detailed her feelings of isolation and a growing sense of losing ground as demographic trends in the United States move toward a nonwhite majority.
While I empathized with Ms. Engle’s sense of loss and feeling disadvantaged in her job, she should look to the cause of this situation — profit-seeking corporations that consign workers to low-paying, dead-end jobs without benefits or hope — rather than blame her equally desperate immigrant co-workers.
As long as we fail to focus on the protection of worker rights, our economy will continue to benefit companies where employees are treated as disposable resources, leaving everyone, white and nonwhite alike, vulnerable. We should be improving the economic conditions for all workers rather than blaming one segment or pitting one worker against another.
Irene Napora, Reston
I read with shock and disgust the July 31 front-page article about white workers in a Pennsylvania chicken plant. Not only was the piece primarily about uncontextualized racism and xenophobia — the subjects were allowed to opine at length about their racial discomfort — but it also failed as journalism. Why not probe beyond the white workers’ isolation to the worldview or ideology that led to their feelings? Why not talk to plant workers who might have connected better with their Spanish-speaking colleagues?
Kathryn Conner Bennett, Newport News, Va.
Friendship is a two-way street. Learn to say “Hola! ¿Cómo estás?” Put on a big smile. See what happens. The woman in the article is in self-exile, and only she can change that.