Saturday, December 15, 2007

Philadelphia commission: limiting the language a shop conducts its business in is "hate"

Philadelphia is my home town. The cheesesteak is one of its hallmark foods. In 2005, Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's, one of the two biggest tourist-trap cheesesteak shops, posted signs in the shop's window which read "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH." Vento is now being charged with "discrimination" by an ominous-sounding entity called the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. According to the Associated Press article,
After extensive publicity in 2006, the commission began investigating whether Vento violated a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

In February, the commission found probable cause against Geno's Steaks for discrimination, alleging that the policy at the shop discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there.
First of all, there should not even be a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing, for such prohibitions interfere with our right to freedom of association. Even so, on what basis does this ordinance forbid a business owner from insisting that business in his store be conducted in English? Is ordering a cheesesteak from a private business now a form of "public accommodation?" Here we are seeing the leftist tendency to eliminate the private and make all things public.

Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken [sic] back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

"The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded," Charles said.

So we see that liberals want to use the power of government to forbid people from doing anything that might make other people feel unwelcome and excluded. I suppose if I had a party and didn't invite the guy upstairs, he might feel unwelcome and excluded. Should I then be prosecuted for "discrimination?"

Or if I went to France, and encountered a sign in a sandwich shop which read (in French) "This is France: When ordering please speak French," would I have a legitimate grievance against the owner?

Well, at least Professor Charles didn't mention Hitler. Maybe that would have been too trite.

I hear that Philadelphia, like most northeastern cities, has been deluged by Hispanic illegal aliens over the past ten or fifteen years. Indeed, to borrow Professor Charles's terminology, they are not welcome here, and should be excluded. I applaud Joe Vento's effort to maintain America's identity as an English-speaking society, and I hope this case is thrown out.

(Note: I see upon spell-check that either Professor Charles or Bob Lentz the AP writer do not know how to spell the word "hearken." A sign of the deterioration of English in our society, perhaps?)


Scott said...

Hey I am as liberal as they come. But even I beleive that it is his shop and he is not depriving service to anyone. He is just trying to keep his business running smoothly. So this Camille Charles should just mind her own busness and leave the poor man alone. I two beleive that english should be spoken here in the U.S. My Mom came to this country in 1946 from Cuba. She has never spoken any thing but english. Except, when visiting her family in Miami. This is America. Melting Pot or not. We speak ENGLISH.

Dan Kurt said...

Re: "Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania"

Professor Charles no doubt is another affirmative action hire in a low cognitive discipline: sociology ( It sure ain't rocket science. ). However, Penn once had a rather bright Professor of Sociology who wrote a book well worth reading by you Hermes* titled The Unheavenly City and its revision The Unheavenly City Revisited ( by Edward C. Banfield ). He was actually driven out of the Penn Campus and ended his career at Harvard. I was a student at Penn at the time and still am troubled by the cowardice of the Administration and Faculty concerning the affair.
* Where you would get the time to read the book is a mystery to me.

Dan Kurt

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