“When Ordering, Speak English”

by Ryan on December 16, 2007

in Culture,Politics

In today’s Culture Wars battlefield, even speaking the common language is a concept under assault by the Left and foes of the kind of assimilation that for over 200 years has aided new Americans in achieving the American Dream. 

I’ve driven by, but have never been to, Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia.  In the window is a conspicuous sign stating, “This is America.  When ordering ‘Speak English.’”  Geno’s Owner Joe Vento is defending the sign even though he’s getting a lot of criticisms, especially accusations of the sign being discriminatory.  Vento believes that its a legitimate business practice since so many people have not been ordering in English over the last few years and he wants to make money by getting the lines to move faster.  Lawyers for the Commission on Human Relations believe the sign to be “intimidating,” hearkening back to the days of “Whites Only” signs in the Jim Crow South.

Congress needs to pass a law making English as the official language of government.  Then, private business and other non-government groups will have the freedom to choose the best business model without all the discrimination from liberal groups.  I have about ten Spanish-speaking channels on my cable plan.  I don’t want them, but my cable network is not a la carte so I have no choice but to pay for those stations that I will never watch.  Why isn’t that discrimination against English-speaking cable viewers that don’t want to pay for channels they don’t want? 

Because I can change the station to one that speaks the common tongue.  If you don’t want to order a cheesesteak in English at Geno’s, then don’t eat at Geno’s.  It’s Philadelphia, and I’m telling you, other places sell cheesesteaks!  Why do we need a lawsuit against Joe Vento when one can freely choose to boycott the restaurant?  ”Whites Only” was the articulation of a policy that was mandated by the state and unfortunately sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 1896.  “Speak English” is a concept quite ignored by our politicians.  In my opinion, the state should leave Geno’s alone and those upset about the sign should eat somewhere else. 

AP photo.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

baptizedbyice December 16, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Okay, here’s my question, honestly out of only wanting to know your answer. America is collection of almost every culture in the world, many of which have languages other than English. Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French…The Question: Do you believe that it would benefit Americans in general to broaden their understanding of the people they interact with all the time now by occasionally looking at the Spanish netorks, etc?

With the question out of the way. At this point, I agree that the official language of America needs to be English. It would make life easier. However, when I traveled to other countries, I tried as hard as possible to speak their language as a courtesy, but many people (I guess I looked America, oops), initiated conversations in English for my benefit. So, while I believe the official language should be English, I think that America is a lot more harsh on foreigners than other places. It’s a two way street. People who come here should try to speak the common language out of respect, but the people here should be a little more forgiving. I guess that is why that sign got so much press, it was a little hard around the edges, sort of a slap in the face, not a polite, effective sign. Just my opinion. Thanks for bringing attention to the language issue though.


Ryan December 16, 2007 at 4:44 pm

I guess some people are frustrated that native Americans (those born and raised American in this case) feel as if they have to change their normal way of life because newcomers aren’t learning the language and culture out of respect.

Their sentiment would be: why should I have learn Spanish, Italian, Chinese, or Russian, or even have to alter my business or livelihood to accomodate visitors who aren’t gracious enough to facilitate assimilation into the new culture they have entered? It seems rude on the part of the immigrants.

There’s another issue when dealing with cable. If I want to immerse myself in another culture I can choose to do it however I’m able. I love a dizzy St. Patrick’s Day, a canoli on St. Joseph’s Day, an obligatory swig or two on Cinco de Mayo, and a good brat from time to time. Why? Because aspects of those non-American cultures have an allure and have even become a part of our culture. If I don’t want to weave a cultural tapestry, then I don’t have to– it’s my freedom as an American to choose.


Chris December 17, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Another reason to go to Geno’s…go Joe! And another reason to go to Geno’s over Pat’s…not only because it’s the better cheesesteak joint on Passyunk, but because he is more in line with our values…if you happen to go to both, you see more pics of Democrat politicians visiting Pat’s and more Repubican politicians visiting Geno’s….GENO’S RULE!!!


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