The following complaint letters appear in the June issue of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES.

Letter 1

I'm normally critical of what I view as hypersensitivity among many people today. Too often what would have been dismissed or ignored in the past is now viewed as a major affront. Having said this, however, I find Ricardo Gonzalez's two-part article, “Success With Hispanics,” SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES, March/April 2006, to be an extraordinary and insupportable generalization of a huge number of diverse people whose contribution to our industry is tremendous, especially in our part of the country. Although not of Hispanic origin, I am grossly offended by both the nature and tone of many of the assertions made by Mr. Gonzalez. How can he suggest (and how can you publish) that all Hispanics might bribe police, drive under the influence of alcohol, are too “macho” to follow normal safety training, might be poor leaders, and should be rewarded with a fiesta that includes breaking some piñatas and drinking tequila? Whether or not the views and opinions expressed by Mr. Gonzalez are shared by SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES (the usual disclaimer), you have provided valuable space and promoted his seminar. I believe this reflects poorly on your publication and, in turn, our industry. No matter how well-intentioned Mr. Gonzalez may be, I think his approach is not only insensitive but way off the mark. In many cases he refers specifically to “Mexicans,” by which he may or may not mean severely undereducated illegal immigrants from that country. He uses “Hispanics,” however, in his article and seminar titles. Would Mr. Gonzalez write an article or give a seminar entitled “Success With Anglos” and make similar sweeping generalizations?

Gregory N. Dangleis
Denver, CO

Letter 2

I am an immigrant from a Spanish-speaking country, which, by definition, puts me in the immense group of Hispanics now living in the United Sates. I have been part of the plumbing industry for 25 of the 35 years I have lived here.

Over the years, I have learned to endure unflattering comments and humor directed at Hispanics from many sources. However, I was unprepared for the offensive content and condescending tone of the two articles titled “Success With Hispanics” published in the March and April issues of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES. The author, Ricardo Gonzalez, blatantly slanders the whole Hispanic community both here and abroad. This man describes Hispanics using derogatory stereotypes, to elevate himself in the eyes of the readers. His purpose, it seems, is to profit by promoting himself as the man with all the answers and selling you a How To manual, but on what basis does he claim to be an authority on this subject? It would be unfortunate if non-Hispanic readers accept this man's self-serving views because he himself is Hispanic.

I find it insufferable that the author asserts that Hispanics think it is acceptable to drive drunk and to bribe a policeman, are unable to lead and are incapable of following safety directions due to their macho nature. This describes no one that I know personally as a friend, associate or employee.

Contrary to what the author says, I have had Hispanic employees who demonstrated excellent leadership abilities, dedication and always paid the highest attention to safety regulations. Above all, I would not even think of rewarding my employees with piñatas and tequila, as Mr. Gonzalez suggests. That would be so demeaning. The answer, which clearly eludes Mr. Gonzalez, is that Hispanics should be paid a fair salary and treated with the respect they deserve like any other employee.

I am disappointed to see that the magazine's publishing staff accepted without question this man's assertions and that SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES is partnering with and promoting a man whose unfair portrayal of Hispanics may lead to further discrimination by potential employers. Sadly, articles of this nature only contribute to the perpetuation of ugly generalizations which foster hate and intolerance.

Roberto B. Sanchez
Kunka-Sanchez Associates Manufacturers Representatives
Edison, NJ

Letter 3

I was amazed at the views published in the two recent articles in SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES related to Hispanics in the workforce. Everywhere we turn in business, there is training related to inclusion, cultural sensitivity and understanding. The two articles published recently do more to stereotype Hispanics than to explain or educate.

Had the title of the article been “Five Critical Training Needs With African-Americans” or perhaps, “Seven Special Days For Women,” the singling out of their “special needs” or behaviors would have “60 Minutes” at your doorstep.

Taking advantage of a low-cost labor source does not relieve an employer of his responsibility to train and protect his employees. We would be far better served to treat immigrants within our workforce much like we would like to be treated if we found ourselves far from home. The fact that your author uses his Hispanic surname to bolster his credibility shows an obvious disconnect between his heritage and his understanding.

Raymond E. Farley
Vice president
Myson Inc.
Colchester, VT

Letter 4

I am writing this letter in reference to the article, “Success With Hispanics” published in the March 2006 issue of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES. I respectfully disagree with the tone of the article and most specifically, Mr. Gonzalez' characterization of Hispanic people. It is my belief that in his well-intentioned efforts to enlighten us “Anglos” (as he referred to us) he has actually done more harm than good. His characterization of “Latinos” has furthered the stereotypes many Caucasian-Americans hold to be true. Believe it or not, there are some pretty passionate Irishmen with a lot of machismo out there who offer bribes to policemen.

The way in which certain cultural differences and lifestyles are portrayed means a lot. If he were to substitute “African-American” for Latino, Hispanic or Mexican in his article and apply a few commonly held stereotypes, I don't believe it would be very well received. Propagating stereotypes as factual does a disservice when it suggests that everyone from a certain ethnic group or country behaves in a certain way or shares the same experiences, background or beliefs just because of who they are or where they come from.

As his article suggests, the need to deal with this issue in the workplace is obviously real. I applaud his efforts to address that need. In retrospect, was it really necessary and wise to lump all Latinos who come here for employment into a single image? Whether intentionally or by accident, he did.

Jim Doerfler
Sales and marketing manager
Clean-Fit Division
The Mill-Rose Co.
Mentor, OH