‘American Crime:’ Americans Should Feel Guilty About Food, Clothing

This season of American Crime has been documenting (no pun intended) the plight of illegal immigrant farm workers as well as prostitution and drug use/addiction. In Sunday night’s episode, “Season Three: Episode Three,” all three issues were somehow tied together, as farm owners Jeanette (Felicity Huffman) and JD (Tim DeKay) attended a worker’s rally.

As Jeanette, who has longed to somehow put a stop to the deplorable living conditions and poor treatment of the workers, listens to the meeting, her ingénue eyes widen and blink with innocent concern, as the camera pans slowly away from her to create heightened emotion while the speaker concludes his speech.


If I told you the stories of lo que pasa in those fields, you'd say that we're making it up ... That it doesn't happen ... That it can't happen here. Another country, some other city ... But not here. What we're telling you is la verdad. The food on your table comes with a price that you can't see … But that somebody has to pay. Same with the clothes on your back. Same with the things in your house. You have to look at your life and ask, "What does it cost to live the way I do? Can I afford it?" Because other people can't. Now, you can choose to ignore it if you want. Sometimes we all do. All of us. But what you can't do is be ignorant. Thank you.

If you’re an American who eats food or wears clothing, do you feel guilty yet? Because you’re obviously supposed to after watching this.

And what exactly is the message here? That we should starve and be naked in order to be aware and sympathetic?

What do drug addicts and prostitutes have to do with farm workers’ conditions, other than throwing in one white, drug addicted worker (Coy) to prove it can happen to anyone, I suppose.

But panning to the young, pregnant prostitute Shae (Ana Mulvoy Ten) during the speech had to be done purely to create guilt, since her situation had absolutely nothing to do with the conditions on America’s farms.

In fact, if anything, her situation actually gives us the solution to the farm workers’ problems. Her story teaches us that when you are here in this country legally, guess what happens? You have the chance to be rescued and helped as she was. The person who is abusing and mistreating you (as her pimp was) gets held responsible and is sent to jail.

When you’re “undocumented” (as liberals love to say instead of “illegal,” just as abortion advocates love to say “choice” instead of “abortion.”), it’s much harder to find you when you go missing, as the son of main character Luis (Benito Martinez) has. It’s the reason Luis has come to America illegally to work in the deplorable conditions- to try to find his son Teo (Andrew Steven Hernandez) who went missing when he first came here illegally before him.

Yes, I’m sure these conditions do exist and yes, they should be looked into. No one wants to see any human being treated this way.

But let’s not forget that the people being mistreated in these conditions chose to come here illegally. They weren’t forced into these conditions. That’s one fact that’s conveniently left out of the sorrowful speech.

The solution to the “cry me a river” montage above isn’t workers’ rallies and liberal tears. The solution is to come here legally so that you can be protected as a United States citizen.


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