The Missouri town that boasts the Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction hosted a “Hispanics 101” class aimed at learning how to understand their Latino workforce.
Splinter reported Thursday that the town of Branson, Missouri was strapped with a 10 percent unemployment rate in their tourism-based economy when they began recruiting workers from another area with a high jobless population — Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, “some of Branson’s 11,400 residents have the usual racist fears that the influx of Puerto Ricans would lead to lower wages, crime and violence.”
To learn how to relate to their workers from a different culture, employers in Branson paid $40 a head to attend a “Hispanics 101” workshop led by self-described “Millennial Advocate” and “HR Disruptor” Miguel Joey Aviles.
Hosted by The Branson Tri-Lakes Human Resources Association, Aviles’ class promised the town’s employers he’d “teach tangible strategies & tools to understand the fundamental characteristics of Hispanic culture & their implications in the workplace.”
Employers in Branson, which according to the Washington Post has many Confederate flag-adorned shop windows and a billboard touting “White Pride Radio,” were encouraged to “ask [Latino employees] about their mothers and request that grocery stores in the area sell plantains and Goya coconut water.”
The need for the class in the town that’s more than 90 percent white, it appears, was not unfounded. Juanita Vazquez, a 35-year-old woman originally from San Juan who is the general manager at a luxury resort, told the Post that after Hurricane Maria, she heard a guest at the hotel disparage the humanitarian crisis the storm created.
“Why are we giving money to Puerto Rico?” the man said over breakfast. “They’re so lazy.”