Summary, Blue Collar

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In America most people generally think that blue collar workers are less intelligent than white collar or professional workers. Sadly this commonly held belief is just as prevalent today as it has ever been. In spite of the fact that there is evidence to the contrary this assumption still causes people to be stereotyped and treated differently.

Mike Rose, in his article “Blue-Collar Brilliance”, reprinted in “They Say, I Say”, provides both personal examples and results of clinical tests that dispute this long held misconception. Rose relates his observations of watching his mother master the skill of waiting on tables in various restaurants during his childhood years. The author details his observations of his mother developing memory skills to keep orders delivered correctly and using movements efficiently. Rose states “… and (I) have come to understand how much my mother’s kind of work demands of both body and brain” clearly recognizing that simply physical work requires thought and planning to enable effective use of tasks and movements. The energetic waitress also found great interest in studying the moods and feelings of customers which not only enabled her to earn higher tips because of the way she learned to treat people but helped her deal with difficult customers. Rose speaks of his academic struggles in high school and the high school English teacher that made a difference in his life by inspiring him to go to college. Another interesting personal study that the author discusses is the experience of his uncle Joe who started working on the assembly line at a car factory with little formal education but retired as the manager of the entire body and paint shop. His uncle had the ability to learn from experience and Rose states that his uncle believed that working on the line was “… like schooling, he said, a place where you’re constantly learning” which demonstrate that his uncle was the type of person who was looking for opportunity in...
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