Monday, 30 January 2017

The Last White at Foxconn

[Media prompt] By 2030, 85 per cent of population growth in the G7 economies could be from net migration.

The Last White at Foxconn

After graduating high school in 2049, my first job made a robot redundant. There aren’t many who can say that.

I had no choice about going to work; most universities were still closed after the war, and for people like me a job was the only option. Luckily, something came up in Seattle, where I’d grown up, and it was because I had studied Chinese in school, and spoke it well. My father’s generation might have given up the country to migrants, but at least he understood that one day the Chinese would take over the northwest. When they did, Marty and Kevin and a whole lot of the others went to the Free State of Montana, where they spent their lives fighting the Mexicans or Muslims; one or the other was always trying to chip away at the border. The Chinese were never interested in anything east of Yakima, and Spokane might as well have been on the moon. But they held and protected the western seaboard, from the old California border north to Vancouver, and for that alone we should be grateful, as the government often tells us.

My job, the one I got straight out of school, was a greeter, and I welcomed Chinese tourists to DisneyMart World out on Bainbridge Island. They had robots doing that as well, but the yellow race like to see a white bowing and scraping, so they hired me. I must have said “huanying lai dao dima” thousands of times a day; I lost count of tiger mums using me as an example to their kids about what the future held if they didn’t study.

After about two years, when I was almost twenty-one, Foxconn finished building the first dark factory down at Aberdeen, where the government built a deep-water port. By the time I put my name on a list, there were thousands in line for jobs. In the old days, a plant like that would hire thousands, but when I started it had just over two hundred employees. Later, I heard they took a chance on me because one of the bosses who visited DiMa World saw me greeting and thought it would be good publicity to hire me. I never left.

Now I’m the only white in the plant; I’m one of only three whites in the whole of Foxconn’s northwest operations. When I started we made implants, but these days we make vertebral systems and will be starting a cerebral cortex line in the spring. They said I can move to the new line if I want, but I’m thinking of retiring. Besides, the new hires don’t have much time for whites; not that the old generation did either. Maybe I’m just getting old.

My father told me once that Seattle used to be more than two-thirds white when he was a boy. Sometimes I wonder what that would have been like.

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