The city's Commission on Human Relations planned to argue that the policy at Geno's Steaks discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director.
Geno's owner Joseph Vento posted two small signs at his shop in south Philadelphia proclaiming: "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.'"
Lawton said that violates the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing.
"It's discouraging patronage by non-English speaking customers because of their national origin or ancestry," Lawton said.
First of all this is not an employment, public accommodation nor housing issue so I'm not sure what Lawton is blabbering about. Secondly, she says it "discourages patronage" from non-English speakers. Who give a crap if it discourages patronage. A business doesn't have a right to operate as it sees fit? Where is the outrage over the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" signs or the black tie only events that won't let you in unless properly dressed? I mean those discourage patronage.
At a City Council meeting Thursday, Councilman Jim Kenney asked Geno's Steaks to take down its sign that says, "This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING SPEAK ENGLISH."
In the last 10 years, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Mexican immigrants - many of them here illegally, community leaders say - have settled in South Philly.
The City Council should be more worried about the 10's of thousands of illegal aliens who have broken the law and moved into their community than attacking a private businesses first amendment rights and rights as a private business to refuse service.
Of course every race card playing group is coming out of the woodwork to try and trump up a lawsuit against Geno's. For instance this "Latino activist" group -- that is clearly racist by the way since they are not equally supporting rights for all races, but just those of Hispanics -- plans to send a mass of Spanish speakers in there and then cry racism when they are denied service.
This is how these groups work, pure extortion.
Juntos, a neighborhood organization that advocates for Latino communities, said it plans to send people to Geno's to try to order in Spanish. Depending on what happens, the group may pursue court action, said Peter Bloom, the group's director.
Get the other side of the news..
It is a disgrace to turn your back, and forget were you come from when others are still trying to catch up to you in hopes of one day also capturing the American dream.
Every Spanish, Russian, or any people I know that do not speak the “Perfect English” are all trying, and wish they did.
They know that in America the land of the free…they would need the English language to survive.
We are all immigrants, remember we murdered the natives, rape their women, and called this America, are we going back to those times? Or are we going to live the American dream, and let other struggle for the same opportunity?
I think Geno is a hypocrite, and a racist. I just have one question for him, Geno my friend, if a little old lady speaking Italian comes to your counter and ask for a cheese steak, would you flag her? Or do you only flag those that speak Spanish. Any businessman that has concern over language would go and hire someone that speaks it.
How many Latinos work at Geno’s?
Posted by: G V on June 17, 2006 11:58 AM
Who said anything about "perfect English"? He simply wants them to be able to say "one cheesteak with a Coke", is that too freakin hard to ask? You freakin people are blowing this crap way out of proportion.
I never raped and murdered indians so I will never feel guilty of the conquest of the native peoples of my great country called AMERICA !!
Perhaps you are guilty of some atrocisty, but the rest of us are not.
I sleep great at night knowing that many savages bit the big one so that I can call my countrty America !!
Posted by: American on August 20, 2007 03:07 PM
The Unites States of America does NOT have an official lauguage, though English is spoken by about 80% of the population. That being said, if Geno wants to automatically remove 20% of his potential market off the bat, let him. One of the great things about being in America, is that I'm free do business where I choose to. I already boycot the establishment because of rude service, this just gives me one more reason. I have the right to never go there again, and I have the right to tell everyone I know to not do business there, too. I choose to NOT give one penny to racists, hypocrites, and jerks. God bless America!
I say that he shouldn't be required to remove the sign. It's a great way to identify who I will never do business with. Hopefully, there are more people that think the same way.
One more thing... I've had much better cheesesteaks elsewhere!
Posted by: ColombiTexan on December 17, 2007 09:37 PM
I can understand if it just stated "order in english", but to also put "This is America" in front of it, just mocks those that speak another language. Our country is extremely diverse with people and restaurants of all ethnicities. How would you feel if a Mexican Restaurant had a sign that stated "This is a Mexican restaurant, order in Spanish". Philadelphia is a tourist spot, and being that Geno is so popular, they should appreciate that popularity and respect all of their paying patrons. And since they obviously don't by posting this sign, they will lose their name and flow of traffic. They are completely rude and RACIST. YES, the racist card is pulled here and completely plausible. And for you idiots that cant understand this, keep eating your racist cheesesteaks, while the rest of us go to JIMS on south street. =)
Posted by: Maria on June 27, 2008 01:22 PM
It is a racist sign and shows how insanely stupid the owners of Geno's are. Before I go into why, one of the signs say "management has the right to refuse service." Guess what? Not true. You can't just refuse service because you feel like it without reason. If it's a public restaurant (guess what? Geno's is) then you have to allow service to anyone who asks for it but can refuse service if they do not have the ability to give an order to the clerk.
Regarding the sign: if someone really cared about making a "Speak English" sign, they should put it in multiple languages. What is the purpose of telling people to speak English who already speak English?
Why is the sign racist? Because if a person says "cheesesteak" in Chinese, no one will know what they are saying anyway. And as a result, you can't serve them anyway. Adding a sign does nothing. People already know that if you don't speak English in the US that they will have trouble ordering anyway. No need for such a sign - it legally does not add any less liability. Rather, it makes Geno's feel better if they turn down service for a Spanish-speaking customer for not learning English, even if they are saying "Uno cheesesteak, por favor."
There are multiple forms of racism and this one is by proxy. Although I don't think their sign can in any way be considered "illegal" and Geno's is celebrating their ability to use free speech, they're only communicating to me that they hate Mexicans who do not speak English. But again, I don't think such signs should be illegal.
Posted by: Kristian on July 18, 2008 10:30 AM
I would like to say a few things, take away the fact that they are offending people who are immigrants and are learning how to speak English (weren’t their ancestors immigrants?? hello!), and ALSO take away the fact that the first thing you see on the corner of the building is a huge sign in memory of the fallen police that makes a huge point of saying who he was killed by (please honor your policeman but why make a point of this controversial issue already?- it just seems way too racist) (interesting,I didn’t see one African American the whole time I was there) (not to mention it, but I didn’t see many people other than “good American speaking perfect philly English caucasians” hmmm, interesting). Take away the fact that they have those signs about speaking English and thanking the marines that we speak English. (golly, are we beating a dead horse yet???)
TAKE ALL THAT AWAY and what do we still have? I ordered lunch there just today with a friend. The four workers at Geno’s that we spoke or dealt with did not ONCE: smile, say thank-you, or answer our questions kindly, they were all downright so-should-not-be in the service industry rude!(a cute punked out kid who didn’t smile and took our money but really probably wished he was somewhere else or was forced to work there to pay off his student loans, a mother type woman, no smile and handed us our soda sullenly and macho tattooed steak maker who couldn’t even answer our question courteously about what is the most popular cheese to put on a steak) It was a rather hostile environment and didn’t really make that could-have-bypassed-all that make-a-statement stuff on your walls- yummy cheese steak taste go down very easily. I actually was on my second half of a cheese steak having just had a half at PAT’S, and boy can I tell you the next time I come to Philly to do a cheese steak comparison it will be PAT’S again and some other cheese steak place that is on the best cheese steaks in Philly website.
YOU GUYS AREN’T ALL THAT AND it’s a crying shame you think you are!!
I agree with what columbitexan said!!!
Posted by: absolutelyridiculous on August 14, 2008 11:02 PM
We haf enuf of black and brown in America. We don't nid anymore stinking imigrants who keep on takeing our jobs and so. I want to eat a sanwish made by all white American hands. Is that to much to ask for? I do not come to this country as proud American like if Africa or Mexico. I come to America as proud and english only and so. If you cant speak good English, well we Americans will tell you to go away to your no English speaking countre. Good by and God bless this countre.
Posted by: JackR on September 29, 2008 02:12 AM
Hey JackR learn how to spell fucking bitch
Posted by: unknown on February 12, 2009 01:17 AM
Sad to see so many ignorant and racist fucks like you and some of the commenters.
Gringo land is now becoming a third world country, You deserve it.
As a democratic liberal, Ican speak whatever- yes we can, no you can't, I say- when good wisen peoplespeak we will win ! We have one. I will order in englesh and mexicono, so I can eat Too
Posted by: wayne on July 8, 2010 10:48 AM
I second what Maria said--yes, they have the right to recommend that their customers to speak English, not so much by federal law but as a helpful suggestion for their patrons. BUT, their sign is simply a racist rant. As the other commenters have pointed out, if it REALLY were a recommendation to non-English speakers to please speak in the language the workers could understand, it would be translated for the non-English speakers. But again, it's a racist attack against those who don't speak English fluently (which is extremely ignorant and hypocritical if you really think about it). Also, this IS America, yes, but contrary to what the signs at Geno's says, America is defined by the diverse cultures that have shaped it throughout history, and the people who represent establishments like Geno are EXACTLY the reason there are so many things wrong with the country--because they're ignorant morons who talk a whole lot of useless dribble.
Posted by: Tsk, tsk on July 21, 2010 11:12 PM
My family came from Italy the LEGAL way. We speak ENGLISH whenever we are AROUND ANYONE that is not our family. I think it is RUDE to speak anything BUT English when you are outside of your home, unless invited to speak your native language when out somewhere, ENGLISH should be the only language you hear on the streets, in the stores, in school. Why must we cater to these IGNORANT CRIMINALS!!!
As the saying goes "America-Love it or leave it!"
Posted by: mike v on October 13, 2010 10:35 AM
This is AMERICA, not CENTRAL AMERICA. The language here is English, if you can't speak it, get a book, if you can't understand, than you might be suited for a place where the walls are high and the words are stern.
This is the xeonphobia that exists here in the USA. If we were able to speak other languages, we could make progress in marketing our products and services to overseas markets. In addition, we could also market them here to immigrants here in America. They're trying to become Americans, too, and we could help them by learning their languages.
Posted by: Richard Clifford on June 13, 2011 02:08 PM