Monday, April 16, 2007

Worked for the same wages

I'm watching a show on the History Channel about the cattle trail days of Dodge City, Kansas. A short segment was on black cowboys.

The claim was that the black cowboys on the trial were treated the same as the white cowboys, while in town they were segregated and treated very poorly. There was one funny line, about how in town the blacks only had the lowest menial jobs -- as if cowboying was high status.

But the line that triggered this post is that black cowboys and white cowboys did the same job and worked for the same wages.

I suspect that's complete bullshit.

In one of his books, J. Frank Dobie wrote of his youth as a South Texas cowboy early in the Twentieth Century. He talked about the difference in pay between anglo cowboys and Mexican cowboys. They weren't paid the same. The rancher's claim was that the pay differential was based on whether the cowboy owned his own horse or used a ranch horse. Dobie pointed out the he used a ranch horse, but was paid the same as the anglo cowboys who used their own horses.

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