“I want us to be super careful when we use the language “hard worker.” I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work really looks like.”
After being asked by a fan what he thought, Mike Rowe responded:
“First of all, slavery is not “hard work;” it’s forced labor. There’s a big difference. Likewise, slaves are not workers; they are by definition, property. They have no freedom, no hope, and no rights.
Yes, they work hard, obviously. But there can be no “work ethic” among slaves, because the slave has no choice in the matter.
Workers on the other hand, have free will. They are free to work as hard as they wish. Or not. The choice is theirs. And their decision to work hard, or not, is not a function of compliance or coercion; it’s a reflection of character and ambition.
This business of conflating hard work with forced labor not only minimizes the importance of a decent work ethic, it diminishes the unspeakable horror of slavery.”
He included a picture of himself with the added comment:
I, too, keep a picture on my wall.
That’s me, squatting next to the most disappointing toilet I’ve ever encountered, preparing to clean it out with a garden trowel. I keep it there to remind me of what happens when you need a plumber but can’t find one.
Though most applauded Rowe’s comments, there was one lone detractor:
— Headshakers (@headshakers) October 30, 2015
And one who just stopped by to flirt:
— Barbara Bagley (@Barb711) October 30, 2015
Rowe concluded by once again referencing his own photo and reminding Ms. Harris-Perry that a job security is far greater for good plumbers than for news anchors.