Friday, November 21, 2008

Holy Cross Social Justice: Demeaning to blue-collar workers

Megan Skwirz, '12, wrote in the Oct. 31st issue of the Crusader about Mountaintop Mining in Appalachia. Her article "The Human Side of the Coal Debate" has several interesting paragraphs, which I doubt she means to be as demeaning as they come across. Miss Skwirz says:

"The residents of the often poor and marginalized mining communities in Appalachia, many of which Holy Cross students have met on Spring Break trips to Appalachia, are for whom we should be the most concerned."

and then goes on later to say:

"Toxins released into public water supplies during MTR (Mountain top removal) processes also plague these communities. Not only do these toxins exterminate all life in local river ecosystems, but the same residents that work in the mines, making a living the only way they know how, turn on their faucets in the morning to a black sludge. Others take a dozen prescription medications to stay alive."

Not only are people in Appalachia not ones whom you should reference as being scenery during your vacation, these are certainly not the "only jobs" they "know how" to do. Social Justice teaching at the school ought to reinforce the inherent dignity not only of every man and woman but also of every job and every profession. There is certainly dignity in every job, and we should always be careful not to denigrate the living of anyone, no matter where they live or how foreign their trade.

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