Shock: Geno’s wins discrimination case, allowed to keep “speak English” sign

posted at 12:55 pm on March 20, 2008 by Allahpundit

21 months of investigation. A seven-hour hearing. “Hundreds” of billable hours spent lawyering. And no evidence from what I can tell that they ever actually refused to serve anyone.

A city agency yesterday dismissed a discrimination complaint against Geno’s Steaks for its speak-English sign, halting a case that thrust shop owner Joey Vento into the national spotlight of the contentious immigration debate.

A split three-member panel of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations ruled that a sign in the South Philadelphia cheesesteak shop did not convey a message that service would be refused to non-English speakers…

Had the commission ruled against Geno’s, it could have imposed fines and have moved to revoke Vento’s business license…

Joseph J. Centeno, a lawyer who chaired the panel, dissented and said the commission had met its burden to prove discrimination, citing testimony from several witnesses at the December hearing that they felt intimidated and unwelcomed by the sign’s message.

One witness, University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Camille Z. Charles, likened the “speak English” signs to “whites only” signs from the Jim Crow era.

Don’t celebrate too much. Here’s the relevant part of the statute at issue, the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance. They simply didn’t have a category available to them to rule the way they would have liked. But statutes can be changed and I’m guessing this one probably will be.

philly.jpg

Does anything good come out of this, aside from a little blog content and a momentary reprieve from anti-assimilationism? Just one thing. Exit question: How hard is it if you don’t speak English to learn how to point and say “cheesesteak”?


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This is a melting pot so melt damnit!!

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 20, 2008 at 1:02 PM

How hard is it if you don’t speak English to learn how to point and say “cheesesteak”?

If you can’t point to the picture and say cheesesteak; where are you getting the money to buy one in the first place?

lorien1973 on March 20, 2008 at 1:02 PM

This is a melting pot so melt damnit!!

First post and the BEST.

TroubledMonkey on March 20, 2008 at 1:06 PM

If you can’t point to the picture and say cheesesteak; where are you getting the money to buy one in the first place?

lorien1973 on March 20, 2008 at 1:02 PM

The Home Depot parking lot.

James on March 20, 2008 at 1:06 PM

I went into an ice cream shop in Perugia which is famous for it’s Italian language schools. They guy assumed I was a student and insisted I speak Italian. He even had a little sign which said, speak Italian (in italian, of course). How hard is it to say “gelato”? Not hard at all. However, the numbers were a bit difficult. He didn’t care. He kept saying he was going to make me learn Italian.

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Exit question: How hard is it if you don’t speak English to learn how to point and say “cheesesteak”?

Que?

saltydogg14 on March 20, 2008 at 1:08 PM

How dare English be spoken in the United States.

The audacity of English.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 20, 2008 at 1:08 PM

I die a little inside every time I go into a place of business and everyone is conducting business in Spanish. It happens very very frequently here in Southern California.

Having said that, there is a long established history in this country, rooted in ancient common law, which finds that refusal of service in common carriers, accommodations, and restaurants based on non-business factors to be repugnant.

Nessuno on March 20, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Well, if there’s no actual evidence they never refused service – then the sign merely falls into the “hurt widdle feewings” category.

So, would there have been such a snit if the sign had insisted that customers speak Italian when ordering?

Wind Rider on March 20, 2008 at 1:09 PM

The goal posts have moved…

The assimilation imperative is back in vogue. Not really but this is a good first step.

Theworldisnotenough on March 20, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Cheesesteak to lawyers: Bite me.

Dan Collins on March 20, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Well, if there’s no actual evidence they never refused service – then the sign merely falls into the “hurt widdle feewings” category.

No, not really. Note the second part of the statute. A “whites only” sign would be a violation even if it wasn’t enforced.

Allahpundit on March 20, 2008 at 1:12 PM

Ya, or “I’m allergic to penicillin”. I know what you mean!

Watchman on March 20, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Exit question: How hard is it if you don’t speak English to learn how to point and say “cheesesteak”?

Ask Americans who travel abroad and overwhelmingly expect to be able to be served in English. That being said, there’s no discrimination in this case. What if servers simply don’t speak any other language?

freevillage on March 20, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Just put up a sign that says “This restaurant proudly provides service in:”

And then follow it with a list of languages. If only English is on the list, is that a crime? How about English and Spanish, is that a crime against Hmong and Austrians?

How freaking ridiculous is it that you have to go to court to prove its LEGAL to tell your customers what language you speak?

These PC people need to find a desert island somewhere they can go and not be offended by reality.

Merovign on March 20, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Geno’s is the best cheesesteak in the city, Jerry. The BEST! And I’m glad this guy won’t get raked over the coals by political correctness.

RWLA on March 20, 2008 at 1:17 PM

How did these particular plaintiffs feel intimidated by the sign, which was in English, if they couldn’t speak English?

If they could speak English, why are they bitching?

Mark V. on March 20, 2008 at 1:18 PM

I wonder why Andrew Zimmern, on Bizarre Foods, can go to any country in the world, point to something and get served?

I guess that it’s that good, ol’ American knowhow. If you can’t speak the language, point to the damn food.

The audacity of finger pointing.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 20, 2008 at 1:19 PM

They guy assumed I was a student and insisted I speak Italian.

Crescendo poco a poco. Allegro ma non troppo. De capo al fine. Siempre legato.

Just some of the smattering of Italian I learned as a byproduct of piano lessons.

Bigfoot on March 20, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Exit question: How hard is it if you don’t speak English to learn how to point and say “cheesesteak”?

It’s not, but that is not the point. I’ve been to Geno’s and when it not busy the line is 30 people long. You order by saying “wid or wid out” [onions] and then you pick a cheese. Provolone, American or “whiz” (cheese whiz). “Wid provolone”. Wid out whiz” etc. Do you tolerate translating the process when the line wraps around the block? I guess Joe Vento got tired of people coming to the window and not knowing how to order, or caring to learn the language. Which is not unexpected. Italian immigrants were rigorously assimilated. So much so that many immigrants would not teach their children Italian. I can understand the frustration.

Theworldisnotenough on March 20, 2008 at 1:20 PM

And across the street at Pat’s, if you say ‘Ummm’ they say “NEXT!”

Tony737 on March 20, 2008 at 1:20 PM

It’s not, but that is not the point. I’ve been to Geno’s and when it not busy the line is 30 people long. You order by saying “wid or wid out” [onions] and then you pick a cheese. Provolone, American or “whiz” (cheese whiz). “Wid provolone”. Wid out whiz” etc. Do you tolerate translating the process when the line wraps around the block? I guess Joe Vento got tired of people coming to the window and not knowing how to order, or caring to learn the language. Which is not unexpected. Italian immigrants were rigorously assimilated. So much so that many immigrants would not teach their children Italian. I can understand the frustration.

Theworldisnotenough on March 20, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Cheesesteak Nazi?

OhEssYouCowboys on March 20, 2008 at 1:21 PM

Um, isn’t section b) a direct violation of the First Amendment? I’m just saying…

eclark1849 on March 20, 2008 at 1:22 PM

What if servers simply don’t speak any other language?

What if they do speak another language, but happen to be feeling a little stuffy (bigoted) that day, how would we know? We need something like an offensive-temperament-scanner…

-

deesine on March 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM

How can you “serve” someone if you do not know what they are trying to order? Just give ‘em any old thing off the menu I guess.

Are the menus at Geno’s posted in English? If so, how would a non-speaker know his/her language’s equivalent to a cheeseteak sub with onions? Unless they could read it in the first place. Nevermind. Probably has pictures.

ej_pez on March 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Good for Geno. Hope other businesses do the same. America is an English laungage country.
L

letget on March 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

I’ve been in many countries where I have not spoke the language. I have gotten by quite nicely by pantomiming, pointing, and just being polite. People often had a laugh at my expense but were helpful and pleasant. Geno has long lines that he is trying to move along. Additionally, cheesesteak is not difficult for a Spanish speaking person to pronounce.

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

One witness, University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Camille Z. Charles, likened the “speak English” signs to “whites only” signs from the Jim Crow era.

You’d think a professor wouldn’t be so stupid or clueless.

Afterimage on March 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Oh, and I was a tourist, not someone who lived in these countries and refused to learn a smattering of the language.

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Additionally, cheesesteak is not difficult for a Spanish speaking person to pronounce.

“Elcheeso, elsteako” should do it.

RWLA on March 20, 2008 at 1:26 PM

That’s the point. The “English only” sign is interpreted strictly as “We could just as easily serve you in any other language, but we make a point of not to”. Why? It could mean “We don’t know other languages. Sorry.”

freevillage on March 20, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Oh, and I was a tourist, not someone who lived in these countries and refused to learn a smattering of the language.

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Why should that matter?

Just kidding. Stop making sense.

ej_pez on March 20, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Closing Geno’s over this would have causing rioting; that street is one of the primary reasons to ever visit Philly. What they speak in that place is ‘Cheesestakese’, done at the speed of lightning; no other language or linguistic pase is permitted.

An East Texas good ol’ boy would starve to death in Philly.

michaelo on March 20, 2008 at 1:29 PM

You order by saying “wid or wid out” – TheWorld

Exactly right, they don’t have time for that crap.

Tony737 on March 20, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Also, if someone orders a taco, but Geno’s doesn’t give them one, would that be considered refusing service? I’m just saying that law can be considered awfully broad.

eclark1849 on March 20, 2008 at 1:31 PM

You’d think a professor wouldn’t be so stupid or clueless.

Afterimage on March 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

On the contrary, there’s a rebuttable presumption that most college eggheads are lacking in common-sense, conservatism, logic and clues.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 20, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Down here in S. Cal, the ‘immigrants’ would ignore such a sign. I’m sorry to report that many of them can’t read Spanish either, but it’s not their fault, our tax dollars ran out and 1000s of non-citizens were and still are left behind.
Say goodbye to mom and her apple pie.

Christine on March 20, 2008 at 1:32 PM

You’d think a professor wouldn’t be so stupid or clueless.

Afterimage on March 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

They seem to be the most stupid and cluesless. They are the ones poisoning our youth with all the liberal and PC crap in the first place.

brtex on March 20, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Queso bistec quiero!

Queso Wiz ponen, en serio!!

Kini on March 20, 2008 at 1:37 PM

The sign was in English, right?

geckomon on March 20, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Why should that matter?
Just kidding. Stop making sense.

I did try. But, often when I tried to speak a language people would make these awful faces and say, Please stop assaulting our language. lol!

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 1:39 PM

It’s not so much the “speak English” sign that’s so bad…it’s that he had a “Management reserves the right to refuse service” sign right under it. Now, that would make one think service would be refused if one didn’t speak English…

I mean, I’m glad the guy won on this…and very surprised…Now, if the government can just make English the official language these kind of cases would be unnecessary.

JetBoy on March 20, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Christine on March 20, 2008 at 1:32 PM

That’s one of the (many) things that bugs me here in LA. All the signs at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, etc., are all in Spanish and English. Even the freaking Natural History Museum has its display explanations in both languages. (I’m offended; why not in Chinese as well? Not that I can read Chinese, but what does that matter? /sarc) I always wondered what percentage of the Spanish speaking population could actually read the the signs. I can, with my high school level Spanish, but I doubt very much of the rest of the population can. I also hate that whenever I (rarely) go to a fast food restaurant I feel like I have to order in Spanish. (Except for In N Out. It’s almost shocking that they speak English there.)

Good for Geno. If I ever go to Philly, I’ll make it a point to give him my business.

wherestherum on March 20, 2008 at 1:41 PM

This reminds me of Ohio, where Fire Team Captains are required to speak they language of any crew member, rather than the crew member learning English. So seasoned Captains were fired or demoted! What happens when you have 5 different tongues on the team, wouldn’t it be better for all of them to speak English? Say, just like the World Banking Industry, Air Lines and most other GLOBAL industries? We are losing both the battles and the war, but this little WIN does make an AMERICAN feel a little better, even for only 5 minutes.

rgranger on March 20, 2008 at 1:41 PM

O/T, but the New York City Department of Education has confirmed David Patterson got the $65,000 job for his mistress.

amerpundit on March 20, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Ask Americans who travel abroad and overwhelmingly expect to be able to be served in English. That being said, there’s no discrimination in this case. What if servers simply don’t speak any other language?

freevillage on March 20, 2008 at 1:14 PM

I have family still living in Italy and when I was there last I NEVER expected to be served in English. It’s difficult at first when you are not fluent in the native language however if you immerse yourself (work at learning the native customs, language, culture, etc.) it does two things; One, it shows the natives you are making an effort to assimilate and two; in doing so they are more forgiving of your errors as they see you are making an effort to learn.

After only a month visiting my brother I was beginning to follow the language and picked up enough (again in just one month) to get by with the basics. In my opinion the situation that has been created by the PC police here in the USA has created an environment whereby you are viewed as somehow being “racist” if you encourage foreigners to assimilate to the culture of the country they chose to live in. It has in effect created a culture of enablers for those that refuse to place their new host country first instead of second to their native country.

My mother was born and raised in Naples Italy and when she moved here with my father after WWII she was PROUD to assimilate by learning our culture, customs, and LANGUAGE which is ENGLISH!

Nuff said…

Liberty or Death on March 20, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Afterimage on March 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

This is a sociology professor at an Ivy League university. It would be newsworthy if she actually said anyting that made sense.

Travis Bickle on March 20, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Why? It could mean “We don’t know other languages. Sorry.”

freevillage on March 20, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Because the sign also says “this is America” which to the assimilation=death crowd means “In. Your. Face!”

inviolet on March 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM

That’s the point. The “English only” sign is interpreted strictly as “We could just as easily serve you in any other language, but we make a point of not to”. Why? It could mean “We don’t know other languages. Sorry.”

freevillage on March 20, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Which is probably what he means by it more than anything, that and the time factor. Geno’s is constantly flooded with customers, because of the insane amount of business they do, its barely controlled chaos as it is, if the staff there spent time trying to figure out what people want, the lines would grow out of control in a flash, and they’d probably lose a lot of money in the process. That place is a well oiled machine, it has to be, and they don’t have time to play around.

doubleplusundead on March 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM

My God, there IS Intelligent life out there after all!

Way to Go Joey!!!!!

pilamaye on March 20, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Dios mio!

Vote Sauron 08 on March 20, 2008 at 1:50 PM

There are signs all over the place around these parts that I find discriminatory. They say, “No shoes, no shirt, no service”. How offensive!

Well wait, on second thought I suppose that it isn’t discriminatory because unlike skin color, which cannot be changed, shoes, shirts and languages can be.

FloatingRock on March 20, 2008 at 1:52 PM

I found myself dropped in rural Greece as a young man where no one spoke English, and had to get by by pointing and saying a little word here and there.

The most embarrassing was when I would go to the bigger cities and start using my newly learned Greek words and the locals would say “It’d be easier for both of us if you would speak English”.

tlynch001 on March 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

There are signs all over the place around these parts that I find discriminatory. They say, “No shoes, no shirt, no service”.

Not in Jacksonville, FL.

tlynch001 on March 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

being Cherokee, I wonder why America’s second language isn’t Tsalagi instead of spanish. oh yeah… the Cherokee People were not allowed to teach their children their native language in reservation schools, english only.

I don’t know where that should put me on this subject, but I say speak engrish damnit.

Kaptain Amerika on March 20, 2008 at 2:01 PM

Bistec con queso, por favor. No?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 20, 2008 at 2:02 PM

If you don’t know English how could you be offended by the sign?

deewhybee on March 20, 2008 at 2:08 PM

“It’d be easier for both of us if you would speak English”.

tlynch001 on March 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Heh.

Theworldisnotenough on March 20, 2008 at 2:09 PM

O/T, but the New York City Department of Education has confirmed David Patterson got the $65,000 job for his mistress.

Puta! Mamon!

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 2:19 PM

When I want a burrito, I say, burrito. I don’t say one of those flat flour things filled with beef and beans. Again, it’s not hard to say, cheese steak. It was very difficult for me to count out lira in Italian, but I did it because I wanted the gelato and the guy was trying to help me.

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Good for America.

Now, if we can only get rid of those pesky “press 2 for spanish” messages on the phones.

madmonkphotog on March 20, 2008 at 2:26 PM

“citing testimony from several witnesses at the December hearing that they felt intimidated and unwelcomed by the sign’s message”

I feel the same way every time I am asked to “press #1 for English” in the United States of America.

Seven Percent Solution on March 20, 2008 at 2:40 PM

You know………. I look pretty stupid when I post something that I think is clever that someone just posted before me because I am reading coments that are five minutes old………..

Seven Percent Solution on March 20, 2008 at 2:42 PM

This makes me want a cheese steak even more!

azcop on March 20, 2008 at 2:52 PM

One witness, University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Camille Z. Charles, likened the “speak English” signs to “whites only” signs from the Jim Crow era.

Witness? I’m Philly born and raised, and I can’t imagine a UPenn professor of Sociology going down to 9th and Passyunk for anything. I guess I could be mistaken, what with the rash of sexual deviants and murderers they’ve had on faculty there recently.

budorob on March 20, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Que?

saltydogg14 on March 20, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Queso… con panna?

ihasurnominashun on March 20, 2008 at 2:55 PM

The assumption by Camille Z. Charles that the sign means “whites only” is close-minded, racist and bigoted.

Because from her point of view that can be the ONLY explanation for an American of Italian descent to post a sign like this….

Is it not obvious to her he simply opposes Ebonics? [/sarcsam]

jcrue on March 20, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations

I didn’t know Philadelphia was in Canada.

I didn’t anywhere in Section 9-1105 that specified a language or English only as a violation and probably can’t.

If I remember correctly Geno’s offered to help anyone who walked up to order in English and therefore no one would be refused service.

Speakup on March 20, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Minorities of every stripe have a way of totally blurring communication when it suits the immediate purpose. My deaf friends bring this to an art form. It’s easily enough reversed.

Una bocadillo Filadelfia con queso, por favor

Wut?

Una bocadillo, por favor.

I’m sorry, I don’t understand you. Can. you. speak. more. clearly. please?

Yo no hablo Inglés, Una bocadillo, por favor.

Sorry. Still don’t get it. Are you from New Jersey or something?

Una bocadillo, por favor.

Wut?

Una bocadillo!

A broken armadillo?

Una bocadillo!

Wut?

Oh se olvida la. Cabron!

Cheers.

bour3 on March 20, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Grande cheesesteak Por favor

RobCon on March 20, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Many of the folks in the Italian section of Philadelphia can speak both Italian and English, but are just so darn proud of their country that they do business in English. They also work hard, own their own businesses and are proud of their ancestry. They also don’t take any crap.

Deposits from South of the border…….take note.

Hening on March 20, 2008 at 3:29 PM

The most embarrassing was when I would go to the bigger cities and start using my newly learned Greek words and the locals would say “It’d be easier for both of us if you would speak English”.

tlynch001 on March 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

I had some snooty Frenchman tell me to stop murdering his language and speak English.

Hening on March 20, 2008 at 3:33 PM

Looks like a violation of the statute to me. The sign telling the patrons to speak English at least indirectly and possibly directly communicated to patrons that the accommodations would be refused based on national origin, or at least communicated that their business was not welcome.

You can argue that English is not determinative of national origin, but that loses the “come on” argument. We all know who the sign was addressed towards — those non-Americans from South of the Border way.

tommylotto on March 20, 2008 at 3:47 PM

“You speaka no English? We breaka you face.”

Akzed on March 20, 2008 at 3:47 PM

I heard Joey (the owner) on the radio this morning. He said that the dope on the city council who started this crap five months after the sign went up said that it made people who can’t speak English feel bad, leaving unexplained how people who can’t speak English could read the sign.

Akzed on March 20, 2008 at 3:49 PM

Now, if we can only get rid of those pesky “press 2 for spanish” messages on the phones.
madmonkphotog on March 20, 2008 at 2:26 PM

Considering the current crop of candidates it seems more likely we’ll have to get used to, “press 2 for English”.

FloatingRock on March 20, 2008 at 3:59 PM

Jules
You know what they call a cheesesteak in France?

BRETT
No.

JULES
Tell ‘em, Vincent.

VINCENT
Surrender with Cheese.

JULES
Surrender with Cheese, you know why they call it that?

BRETT
Because they enjoy surrendering so much?

JULES
Check out the big brain on Brett.

Akzed on March 20, 2008 at 4:07 PM

We all know who the sign was addressed towards — those non-Americans from South of the Border way.

tommylotto on March 20, 2008 at 3:47 PM

Your argument loses the “come on” test because the sign was in English and “those non-American’s from south of the border”, would be oblivious to it’s meaning.

The sign was obviously intended for an English literate audience, making it a form of political speech. Those who can read the sign are perfectly capable of ordering in English, and those who are oblivious to the sign would have completed their transaction, ate their food and left the establishment never the wiser… at least until some smarmy lawyer probably brought it to their attention.

If the sign were in Spanish then maybe your argument would have some merit, but if the sign were in Spanish and said, “This is America, please speak English”, making it a request, I think it should still be legal, IMO.

FloatingRock on March 20, 2008 at 4:22 PM

Akzed on March 20, 2008 at 4:07 PM

ROFL!!!

LimeyGeek on March 20, 2008 at 4:26 PM

I think it should still be legal, IMO.

I think this whole debate is crazy. The very legislation that insists a business serve everyone regardless is an horrific violation of property rights, freedom of association etc.

A private business owner should always reserve the right to refuse service. This is not something the government has any legitimate say in.

Yes, this means I think it is perfectly legitimate to have a “whites only” sign in your window – but if you’re that much of a knuckledragging bigoted retard you’ll probably be too witless to understand why your business dries up and blows away before your very eyes.

LimeyGeek on March 20, 2008 at 4:31 PM

I live in Pittsburgh and there is a chain sandwich store near me whose name escapes me at the moment. It has a sign on the wall “Hippies Use Back Door”. This sign seems to be part of the chain’s decor. When is this chain going to be sued? Or is it that Hippies refer to white, English speakers and so you are allowed to discriminate them? (I know that most people here don’t like Hippies, but still.)

Since it is a chain, this store could quite well be in Philly.

thuja on March 20, 2008 at 4:36 PM

LimeyGeek, INDEED. Under the Constitution we had that right.

I would also point out however, that as a Christian I do NOT have the right to make a brother in Christ explain to his son why he isn’t good enough to eat at my lunch counter. Therefore, the LORD used the Communist-inspired civil rights movement as he also used the Babylonians against Judah – to punish disobedience to His law.

We were not ready for the system of government bequeathed to us. Maybe we’ll grow into in time. Barack Hussein O’Jesus has probably set us back somewhat in that effort, if anything.

Akzed on March 20, 2008 at 4:40 PM

One witness, University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Camille Z. Charles, likened the “speak English” signs to “whites only” signs from the Jim Crow era.

What an apt analogy! Because after all, only white people speak English. Other races are incapable of it, right Mr. useless profession? Furthermore, it totally doesn’t cheapen the suffering of those who lived under Jim Crow.

Grayson on March 20, 2008 at 5:12 PM

Ask Americans who travel abroad and overwhelmingly expect to be able to be served in English.

Key word here is, “travel”, as in vacation or business trip. In those cases, Americans are expecting help with ordering due to the language barrier and they probably aren’t rude or demanding about it, they just need help. However, when Americans are stationed or move to another country, they realize that they should, or must, learn some of the language of that nation. So, don’t play dumb here, we know we’re talking about persons that are coming here on a permanent or semi-permanent status and expecting businesses to assimilate to their culture, which is an impossibility (you cannot possibly hire UN interpreters for every language at every business…duh!). As a citizen located in central Florida, I can tell you that Disney (among other businesses) go a long way to cater to their foreign clients that are there on vacation, which is perfectly sensible.

Adjusting our culture for others that move here however, is asinine. No nation can assimilate to all other cultures, each new citizen must assimilate to the native culture and small adjustments can be made (a perfect example is our food choices). To believe otherwise is very telling about the persons expecting to be catered to, very egotistical.

If I were a sleazy lawyer, I’d go find a person from an obscure country with a obscure language. Then, I’d go around and sue every business that couldn’t accomodate my language needs. I’m sure many would rather pay a pretty penny than have to fight a legal battle on a subject that gets so much negative attention (anti-PC) from morons that think its somehow discrimination. How about a simple sign that just reads, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”? Maybe that would be all that Gino’s needs?

BTW, I love their cheesesteaks, but I have to have it with onions and cheeze-whiz now. Then, watch a little basketball or softball while you enjoy the night and traffic. Pat’s is too “flashy” for my tastes, too much neon.

Geministorm on March 20, 2008 at 5:24 PM

I used to visit relatives in Alabama during the “whites only” sign days. As someone growing up in California I found them offensive. However, someone who is another race than white cannot change who they are and shouldn’t want to but someone who doesn’t know the language can learn. A big difference.

Rose on March 20, 2008 at 5:53 PM

If you don’t know English how could you be offended by the sign?

Faux Offended. OMG, did I just use French?

Geministorm on March 20, 2008 at 5:55 PM

This is great news! Back when this public hearing was announced here, I sent a flame mail to the various people on the board. Can you guess how many responses I got?

Mooseman on March 20, 2008 at 6:16 PM

“PC” is a meaningless concept and should never be mentioned again.

Constant Parrhesia on March 20, 2008 at 7:18 PM

Yet Having “Must Speak Spanish” for job applicants is ok? Wonder if that case would last more then 1 week.

Rbastid on March 20, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Was ist los?

Johan Klaus on March 20, 2008 at 11:46 PM

The truth is,, English speaking law abiding tax paying Americans are the ones being discriminated against.

JellyToast on March 21, 2008 at 8:28 AM