T Nation

Discriminatory Sign?

PHILADELPHIA (March 20) - The owner of a famous cheesesteak shop did not discriminate when he posted signs asking customers to speak English, a city panel ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 vote, a Commission on Human Relations panel found that two signs at Geno’s Steaks telling customers, “This is America: WHEN ORDERING ‘PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH,’” do not violate the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.

Shop owner Joe Vento has said he posted the signs in October 2005 because of concerns over immigration reform and an increasing number of people in the area who could not order in English.

Vento has said he never refused service to anyone because they couldn’t speak English. But critics argued that the signs discourage customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop.

Commissioners Roxanne E. Covington and Burt Siegel voted to dismiss the complaint, finding that the sign does not communicate that business will be “refused, withheld or denied.”

In a dissenting opinion, Commissioner Joseph J. Centeno said he thought the signs did discourage some customers.

“The sign appeared immediately above another sign that had the following words: ‘Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Service,’” Centeno wrote.

Geno’s and its chief rival across the street, Pat’s King of Steaks, are two of the city’s best known cheesesteak venues. A growing number of Asian and Latin American immigrants have moved into the traditionally Italian neighborhood in recent years.

Vento had threatened to go to court if he lost. His attorney, Albert G. Weiss, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by Wednesday’s decision.

“We expected that this was not going to go our way,” Weiss said.

In February 2007, the commission found probable cause against Geno’s for discrimination, alleging that the policy discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there.

The case went to a public hearing, where an attorney for the commission argued that the sign was about intimidation, not political speech. The matter then went to the three-member panel for a ruling.

W. Nick Taliaferro, the commission’s executive director, said he would not appeal.

My opinion:
It is completely fair. People should learn english. Although it may be hard, if you cannot talk that well, you still should be able to order. My parents cannot communicate perfectly in english, but they can still hold good enough conversations to maintain their jobs and to do all the tasks that they need to do.

It’s only fair anyway. All other countries require you to learn the language if you want to live their, so why should the US be any different??

[quote]ukrainian wrote:
http://news.aol.com/story/_a/speak-english-signs-ok-at-philly-shop/20080320083809990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

PHILADELPHIA (March 20) - The owner of a famous cheesesteak shop did not discriminate when he posted signs asking customers to speak English, a city panel ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 vote, a Commission on Human Relations panel found that two signs at Geno’s Steaks telling customers, “This is America: WHEN ORDERING ‘PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH,’” do not violate the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.

Shop owner Joe Vento has said he posted the signs in October 2005 because of concerns over immigration reform and an increasing number of people in the area who could not order in English.

Vento has said he never refused service to anyone because they couldn’t speak English. But critics argued that the signs discourage customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop.

Commissioners Roxanne E. Covington and Burt Siegel voted to dismiss the complaint, finding that the sign does not communicate that business will be “refused, withheld or denied.”

In a dissenting opinion, Commissioner Joseph J. Centeno said he thought the signs did discourage some customers.

“The sign appeared immediately above another sign that had the following words: ‘Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Service,’” Centeno wrote.

Geno’s and its chief rival across the street, Pat’s King of Steaks, are two of the city’s best known cheesesteak venues. A growing number of Asian and Latin American immigrants have moved into the traditionally Italian neighborhood in recent years.

Vento had threatened to go to court if he lost. His attorney, Albert G. Weiss, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by Wednesday’s decision.

“We expected that this was not going to go our way,” Weiss said.

In February 2007, the commission found probable cause against Geno’s for discrimination, alleging that the policy discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there.

The case went to a public hearing, where an attorney for the commission argued that the sign was about intimidation, not political speech. The matter then went to the three-member panel for a ruling.

W. Nick Taliaferro, the commission’s executive director, said he would not appeal.

My opinion:
It is completely fair. People should learn english. Although it may be hard, if you cannot talk that well, you still should be able to order. My parents cannot communicate perfectly in english, but they can still hold good enough conversations to maintain their jobs and to do all the tasks that they need to do. It’s only fair anyway. All other countries require you to learn the language if you want to live their, so why should the US be any different?
[/quote]

Agreed. I don’t see why this caused a problem at all.

[quote]tom63 wrote:
All other countries require you to learn the language if you want to live their, so why should the US be any different?

[/quote]

Because our country has no official language, unlike other countries. If english was the official language, this wouldn’t be an issue.

To be fair, I don’t believe the US has an official language. English is de facto, if I remember correctly. Of course, if you can’t manage the words ‘cheese steak please’, then you have other problems not limited to lingustic difficulties.

Or, what he said.

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
tom63 wrote:
All other countries require you to learn the language if you want to live their, so why should the US be any different?

Because our country has no official language, unlike other countries. If english was the official language, this wouldn’t be an issue.

[/quote]

English is the de facto language of the United States and anyone who denies that is kidding themselves. Over 30 states have adapted English as their “offical language” and it is the most spoken language here.

It’s a private business, it’s not the DMV.

[quote]Dirty_Bulk wrote:
It’s a private business, it’s not the DMV.[/quote]

And that’s what it all boils down to.

A private business has the right to request that their customers order in English.

This would be a non-issue if the States just accepted English as their official language. What’s taking so long to get that done anyway?

– ElbowStrike

I agree that people in the states should learn English, but I don’t like that the owner of the shop said he never denied anyone service if they couldn’t order. Since he did this, it looks to me like he was just trying to get attention for his restaurant, not fighting some worthy cause. He should have denied service or not put a sign up at all.

[quote]SouthernGypsy wrote:
I agree that people in the states should learn English, but I don’t like that the owner of the shop said he never denied anyone service if they couldn’t order. Since he did this, it looks to me like he was just trying to get attention for his restaurant, not fighting some worthy cause. [/quote]

You do realize denying service means less money in his pocket, don’t you?

[quote]lixy wrote:
SouthernGypsy wrote:
I agree that people in the states should learn English, but I don’t like that the owner of the shop said he never denied anyone service if they couldn’t order. Since he did this, it looks to me like he was just trying to get attention for his restaurant, not fighting some worthy cause.

You do realize denying service means less money in his pocket, don’t you?[/quote]

Rhetorical not answered

So then why put the sign up in the first place?

[quote]SouthernGypsy wrote:
lixy wrote:
SouthernGypsy wrote:
I agree that people in the states should learn English, but I don’t like that the owner of the shop said he never denied anyone service if they couldn’t order. Since he did this, it looks to me like he was just trying to get attention for his restaurant, not fighting some worthy cause.

You do realize denying service means less money in his pocket, don’t you?

Rhetorical not answered

So then why put the sign up in the first place?[/quote]

Because he can.

[quote]SouthernGypsy wrote:
lixy wrote:
SouthernGypsy wrote:
I agree that people in the states should learn English, but I don’t like that the owner of the shop said he never denied anyone service if they couldn’t order. Since he did this, it looks to me like he was just trying to get attention for his restaurant, not fighting some worthy cause.

You do realize denying service means less money in his pocket, don’t you?

Rhetorical not answered

So then why put the sign up in the first place?[/quote]

Maybe because it matters to him to voice his opinion. Frankly, I agree with him. I work out of two different medical offices and in one, I barely speak English all day long. I actually have no problem accommodating some people because I would like to better my own attempt at that language, but it does get irritating when people have been living here for a decade yet they still don’t speak English and neither do their children. I personally don’t understand how someone can even survive in this country that long without knowing the language at all and I feel it is a disservice to their children.

Many of these patients are completely clueless about simple health care and their children are suffering as a result.

These are the same kids filling up ESL classes in school districts across Texas and they go home to no enforcement of the predominant language so that they can do better in life.

Depending on where you live, Spanish is slowly becoming a major language in this country.

I’m from Tampa, Fl.

Spanish IS a major language.

Go a few hours south to Miami (where my Cuban roommate is from).

Forget about speaking English, at least according to my buddy (the roommate).

Even up in Denver, the amount of spanish-speakers is increasing so much that knowing spanish will soon be almost a necessity. You might get along without it, but once you learn spanish, then it would be a lot easier. But still, all immigrants should learn some English. Enough to get by without any problems.

In my humble opinion, I think the sign was tasteless. Instead of saying, “This is America: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH” it should have read “Please order in English”.

A little tact goes a long way(in preventing stupid townhall meetings).

I completely understand what ya’ll are saying, and certainly, the owner has the legal right to post the sign, but, sometimes things go beyond rules and regulations, and begin to get into right and wrong.

What I am trying to get across, is that at times, we as a society talk about our rights, but what about the other side of the coin, just being a decent person. I certainly do not know this man, but, to me, putting that sign up just seems to be a real jackass thing to do.

[quote]SouthernGypsy wrote:
I completely understand what ya’ll are saying, and certainly, the owner has the legal right to post the sign, but, sometimes things go beyond rules and regulations, and begin to get into right and wrong.

What I am trying to get across, is that at times, we as a society talk about our rights, but what about the other side of the coin, just being a decent person. I certainly do not know this man, but, to me, putting that sign up just seems to be a real jackass thing to do.[/quote]

It depends on your perspective. On one hand, you have people acting like our borders need a wall in front of them, yet on the other, every morning to work I see about 80 Hispanics sitting in a gas station parking lot on the Southwest side of Houston waiting for those looking for cheap labor. It is very blatant and out in the open.

Whether we like it or not, America is quickly becoming “North Mexico”.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Whether we like it or not, America is quickly becoming “North Mexico”.

[/quote]

As I am sitting in my apartment on Memorial Drive right now, I agree with this statement completely.

X,I sent you a PM.

[quote]Big_Boss wrote:
X,I sent you a PM.[/quote]

I’ve tried responding to you twice but they won’t go through.

Edit:
your pm’s are turned off. I just clicked on your name and the pm option doesn’t pop up.