“Once They Start Speaking English They Are Ruined”: The White Racial Frame, Exploitation Discourse, and Neutralizations White Employers Use for Hiring Undocumented Latino Workers
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This research explores the racial framing, exploitation discourse, and neutralizations used by white employers that manage white, black, and undocumented Latino workers. White employers are uniquely situated to provide insights into the operation of systemic racism, capitalism, and, more specifically, the racial oppression of undocumented Latino laborers. Drawing from 26 in-depth interviews, this work analyzes the views of white and minority employers across several businesses including restaurants and construction firms in Texas. The research finds that employers have in-depth racial framing concerning white, black, and Latino immigrant workers that reinforces a racial hierarchy found in labor-intensive work. Employers engage in pro-immigrant racial framing based on the perceived work ethic of undocumented Latino immigrants that justifies their exploitability. This racial framing justifies low wages, barriers to promotions, and a discouragement of reporting injuries. This research also finds employers use the techniques of neutralization to rationalize hiring undocumented immigrants and breaking immigration laws. Employers adopt pro-immigrant and anti-government regulation views that are predominately fueled by their interests in the continual capitalist exploitation of undocumented Latino laborers. A major point of interest convergence exists where the white employers’ interest overlaps with the fight for legalization of Latino immigrants that may provide a catalyst for immigration reform. This study calls for further research into the views of white employers for understanding race and racism, labor rights, and the potential of immigration reform.
Techniques of Neutralization
Salinas, Juan (2017). “Once They Start Speaking English They Are Ruined”: The White Racial Frame, Exploitation Discourse, and Neutralizations White Employers Use for Hiring Undocumented Latino Workers. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from