December 2, 2020

American Savage: No More Pedro

Pedro is my gardener. I’m going to fire Pedro. He trims hedges and mows my grass; he keeps my pristine lawn weed-free during the unpredictable Missouri weather. My gated community is complete with armed guards, attack dogs and night vision security cameras — these things keep my community safe, and I like that.

But Pedro has to go, and I doubt my neighborhood will miss him. You see Pedro is a minority, a Mexican, if I’m not mistaken, people that speak Spanish are Mexican, right? And that means he has certain “rights.” Under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), I cannot fire Pedro regarding his ethnicity as a contributing factor. In fact, the law says that if I fire Pedro for his Mexicanity, I can be sued in a criminal or civil court and forced to pay damages.

And even though leaf blowing after 4 p.m. is a big no-no in my whites-only neighborhood, I can’t fire him if reason No. 2 is “Mexicans give me the willies.” The MHRA specifically prohibits discrimination based on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability.

But, my colleagues and fellow loving Christians in the Missouri GOP are fixing that. A proposed change to the MHRA, brought by Missouri Senate Republicans, would make it much easier to fire Pedro. Under the new law, I now have several avenues through which I could fire Pedro, lawsuit free (not that a poorly-paid landscaper makes enough to afford an attorney) and without worry of being labeled as a filthy racist.

The new changes would exempt, “seasonal employers,” from any of the MHRA’s finer points. It would place a cap on the damages a court can award anyone who successfully sues me for discrimination. And, for the cherry on the pie, it requires Pedro to prove his race was a, “motivating factor,” in his termination.

After extensive conversations with my legal counsel, I’m told that Pedro can’t sue me for discrimination so long as I don’t shout “wetback” as he leaves my property, humiliated. Thank the Lord above. Finally, I can treat my freeloading Mexican worker like everyone else I encounter outside of my hermetically sealed environment: as a terrifying outsider begging to be punished, broken and robbed.

See, I’m not firing Pedro because he is Mexican. I’m firing him because I can’t understand him, he has beady little eyes and he just happens to be Mexican. My motivating factor is money, sanctimonious self-interest and white pride, not race.

Heavens to Betsy, what a law! And only high-minded, well-educated, critical-thinkers like the Missouri GOP could get my back on something like this. I can’t tell you how expensive and time-consuming it is every time I get sued for arbitrarily firing blacks, women and Muslims: as if race or gender — and not my own unbridled ignorance — were the cause.

The GOP is the party of family, character and values. They understand minorities don’t have character, value or families, or human rights (ha!). I was terrified I’d have to hire a gay landscaper, just so I could fire him, courtroom free.

See, the MHRA doesn’t provide human rights for homosexuals and I was this close to hiring Pedro’s prancing cousin just so I could have the joy of firing him.

But once again, the GOP came through for me in the clutch. Finally, the party is getting back in touch with our slave-holding roots. They will legislate us back into a kinder, simpler time.

A time when you could wander the streets and not have to worry about a black man making eye contact with you.

A time when you could assault and maim a gay teenager in order to set him straight.

A time when you could slap a woman’s ass in the workplace and she would immediately thank you for the compliment.

Thanks for the help, GOP.

Pedro, we have to talk.

"American Savage" is a weekly column written by Journal contributing writer Collin Reischman.

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