March 20, 2008, - 3:44 pm

English Only?: Lauded “Victory” of Philly Cheese Steak Store is No Victory

By Debbie Schlussel
Many commentators and others are lauding the decision, yesterday, by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, that allows “Geno’s Steaks” owner Joe Vento to continue to allow him to post signs that say:


But, in fact, it’s no victory at all. That Vento and his restaurant were hauled before a government commission and told what they could and couldn’t say, is already a defeat. That he was forced to defend himself and that statement, in the very first place, is a stunning defeat. And that one of three commissioners on this Philadelphia city commission voted against Vento is a huge defeat. Vento was only “victorious” by one vote.


That this goes on, today, in 2008 America–that a man cannot demand that customers speak our standard language, because that is alleged to be illegal “discrimination”–is no victory. Again, make no mistake–it’s a huge DEFEAT.

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. [DS: That’s too bad. How did they communicate-charades?] 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. [DS: Yes, the background of those who don’t want to live as Americans.]
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.

Like I said, this isn’t a victory. It’s a defeat, and yet another step in the constant harassment of law-abiding, proud Americans by interloping America-haters.

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5 Responses

Having been censored by damn near everybody… being the latest, now you can see why i’ve always been against all this PC crap!!!

EminemsRevenge on March 20, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Its the American equivalent of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions harassing journalist Mark Steyn.
How would you like the leftist thought police that runs those Star Chambers to haul you before them to determine if your speech is allowed?
Alas, the most prized right in Western society today is the right not to be offended. It takes precedence over all the rest.

NormanF on March 20, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I think it’s a mixed decision. You’re right that he shouldn’t have had to fight, but the fact that someone fought back against the PC police is, in itself a plus. I think the fact that he fought back in a PC center like Philadelphia & won does salvage the situation somewhat. The only way PC is ever going to be beaten is for people to fight back, and that is how victory starts, by people not just sitting & taking it, but by fighting back. To me, that is a small victory.

c f on March 20, 2008 at 6:05 pm

oh it’s gonna take more than this to fight the death buster movement(must I always use those references!) in this country. Gotta fight back and say hell no.

Squirrel3D on March 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Here, despite all support to the Italian owner, I dare to disagree in the tone of the case. It was necessary to state by the owner that he, supposedly, having very limited capabilities to catch different broken English dialects and, even less, any foreign language, CANNOT UNDERSTAND customer unless this one is speaking standard English. USA in their constitution do not have any special provision for the state/federal language. In time of American constitution it was immaterial. The constitution must be changed to support such claim. When living in another city I was one of the appointed to defend Jewish and non-Jewish alike immigrants from frmr. Soviet Union on this basis in media. The elderly ones have been denied citizenship – and with it lost all their miserable SS benefits. The case has been won not in court but through the actions of their commities and media. Some people can easily get languages, like Mozart did, and some cannot take it even in their youth. But people cannot be left to die on the streets of hunger just because they cannot take English. From the prospective of immigrants of the first generation and their younger family members this looks exactly like a racism. And I had seen it myself among people, many of them Jews, as I said, who otherwise came to America to support it till their last breath.

AppleCider123 on March 20, 2008 at 10:26 pm

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