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Old 06-12-06, 02:56 PM   #1
Stacey
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Wiz wit.

City agency: Cheesesteak shop's English-only policy discriminates
Monday June 12, 2006
By PATRICK WALTERS
Associated Press Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) An English-only ordering policy at one of Philadelphia's most famous cheesesteak joints has prompted a city agency to pursue a discrimination complaint.

The city's Commission on Human Relations plans to file the complaint Monday, alleging 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 has posted two small signs at his shop, which is located in a diverse South Philadelphia neighborhood, telling customers, ``This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.''

In doing so, Lawton said, Vento is violating the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

``It's discouraging patronage by non-English speaking customers because of their national origin or ancestry,'' Lawton said. She said her staff would likely serve the complaint to Geno's on Monday.

Vento, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after coming over from Sicily in the 1920s, said Monday that he has no plans to budge.

``I don't think I'm doing anything that's racist or discriminating,'' said the fiery 66-year-old, who says no customer has ever been turned away because of the policy. ``I would say they would have to handcuff me and take me out because I'm not taking it down.''

Geno's and its chief rival across the street, Pat's King of Steaks, form the epicenter of an area described as ``ground zero for cheesesteaks.''

Vento said he posted the sign about six months ago because of concerns over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people from the area would could not order in English. The traditionally Italian community has become more diverse over the decades, with a growing number of immigrants from Asia and Latin America moving in.

After the city serves the discrimination complaint, Vento will get a chance to file a response. Lawton said the agency would hope to reach an agreement with Vento, but eventually he could be ordered to take down the signs or face fines.

If Geno's violates a city order, she said, the matter could end up in court.

``Let them do what they want to,'' Vento said. ``When it comes, then we'll deal with it.''


Geno's Steaks rocks!
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Old 06-12-06, 03:03 PM   #2
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This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.''
What the? How can that be taken in offense. Yeah its America and speaking the nations major language should be used, which makes things easier. And its not like theyre saying "this is america, speak english (certain ethnic group here)!!" Those Commission on Human Relations people need to lighten up.
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Old 06-12-06, 03:16 PM   #3
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I really do not see how this is against someone's race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

I am pretty sure if an Irishman came up and started speaking Gaelic, he would be told to get out of line until he follows procedure. After all, English is our national language.

Oh, and if you want fun...wait until you find a restaurant where nobody speaks any english...I was never so pissed off in my life....45mins after ordering my food did not arrive...so I went up to pay for the drink I had....the cashier could not understand that I did not want my food anymore, I wanted to pay for my drink and leave.

I finally ended up just leaving and having the cops called on me....the cop gave up and let me go after he failed to find a single person there that could comprehend anything more complicated than "I want a #2, and hot tea"...

I'm not being racist or anything of the sort....that place really was that bad.

It was also the last time I ever ate there...I was offended that any business could exist here where NOBODY speaks the national language to some degree of competancy.

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Old 06-12-06, 03:20 PM   #4
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Um, doesnt this break the First Amendment...Ya know, freedom of SPEECH?
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Old 06-12-06, 03:37 PM   #5
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No, not really. The management of Geno's isn't asking for a restriction on what people say, he's just asking them to say it in English. What's so difficult with that?

All this place sells is steak sandwiches, in one size with American, Provolone or Cheese-Wiz and with or w/o onions Do you think that someone who really wants a Geno's steak could construct the phrase "Wiz Wit" without much difficulty?

It's not like they're being asked to order Coquilles St Jacuqes in perfect French
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Old 06-12-06, 03:50 PM   #6
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Im gettin hungry now
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Old 06-12-06, 04:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Stacey
No, not really. The management of Geno's isn't asking for a restriction on what people say, he's just asking them to say it in English. What's so difficult with that?

All this place sells is steak sandwiches, in one size with American, Provolone or Cheese-Wiz and with or w/o onions Do you think that someone who really wants a Geno's steak could construct the phrase "Wiz Wit" without much difficulty?

It's not like they're being asked to order Coquilles St Jacuqes in perfect French
You're in Philly? If so...

This is nothing compared to the sign the guys that sell Christmas trees down on Oregon Avenue (a few blocks from my house, no less) used to have up...keeping in mind that this is the holiday season we're talking about... "Anyone caught stealing will be beaten to death with a bat!" Very Christmas-ish, I thought!

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Old 06-12-06, 04:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stacey
No, not really. The management of Geno's isn't asking for a restriction on what people say, he's just asking them to say it in English. What's so difficult with that?

All this place sells is steak sandwiches, in one size with American, Provolone or Cheese-Wiz and with or w/o onions Do you think that someone who really wants a Geno's steak could construct the phrase "Wiz Wit" without much difficulty?

It's not like they're being asked to order Coquilles St Jacuqes in perfect French
And this is true...
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Old 06-12-06, 04:32 PM   #9
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You're in Philly? If so...

This is nothing compared to the sign the guys that sell Christmas trees down on Oregon Avenue (a few blocks from my house, no less) used to have up...keeping in mind that this is the holiday season we're talking about... "Anyone caught stealing will be beaten to death with a bat!" Very Christmas-ish, I thought!

Quakertown really, but we get the Philly news.
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Old 06-12-06, 04:41 PM   #10
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Quakertown really, but we get the Philly news.
Good enough!

Yeah, the sign at Geno's is a little inkling of the tensions between the Italian, Irish, and Black long-time residents of South Philly, and the huge numbers of Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese/Mexican immigrants who have arrived much more recently. It'll all get worked out. South Philly is a true "melting pot", and things move along pretty smoothly overall (maniacal Christmas tree vendors notwithstanding ).


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Old 06-12-06, 04:58 PM   #11
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I don't see a problem with it. If someone comes into his shop speaking....Korean for example...and orders a sandwich in Korean...and this fellow Geno speaks English and not Korean....how does anyone expect him to make the sandwich!!!??? It's common sense people. If I walk into a Chinese restuarant and they have a sign that says orders must be placed in Chinese, I'm either going to speak Chinese, which I don't or go find a restuarant where I can order my food using English. Pretty simple if you ask me. Don't want to speak English??? make your own dam philly cheese steak sandwich.

I do think that if you are living here /a citizen of the U.S. you should be able to speak passable english. We shouldn't have to put up multi-lingual signs everywhere to accomodate you. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-12-06, 05:13 PM   #12
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Gooooooooooooo, Vento!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaaaahhahahahaahaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!
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Old 06-12-06, 07:17 PM   #13
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Gooooooooooooo, Vento!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaaaahhahahahaahaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!
You startled me!
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Old 06-12-06, 07:28 PM   #14
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bwhahahaha
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Old 06-12-06, 08:00 PM   #15
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Old 06-12-06, 08:14 PM   #16
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I really have no problem with any race. I do have problems with all the people who come to this country and don't take the time to learn english. It just makes things really hard. I'm used to it by now though, as the neighborhood I'm in there are way more non english speaking than english speaking.
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Old 06-12-06, 08:22 PM   #17
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Doesn't Geno come from behind the counter and kick your ass if you order the following: "May I please have a provolone cheesesteak with grilled onions?"
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Old 06-12-06, 08:25 PM   #18
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I agree. If I moved overseas, I would expect to learn the language, not expect people to speak the language of the country I left. I do think that our country should learn more than one language- we do deal with people from other countries regularly, but at the same time.... c'mon. When you move to a new country LEARN THE FRIGGIN LANGUAGE ALREADY. Personally, I'm getting tired of dealing with people who are supposed to be citizens and having to decipher their barely english- it's not up to me to get what they're saying- it's up to them to get what I'M saying.

Well, my rant's over... *sigh*

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Old 06-12-06, 08:50 PM   #19
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Dude can run his business any way he wants, as far as I'm concerned. Only thing is, I wonder how much of a problem he was actually having with people ordering in another language. It's not like he has a complicated menu. Sounds like he's mostly just a whiney little baby.

Not completely on topic, but what're you "speak english!" folks going to do if, in ~20 years, Spanish becomes the language of the majority?
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Old 06-12-06, 09:13 PM   #20
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Spanish shouldn't become the language of the majority. We need to enforce the "speak english" as people enter our country. If that happens, it won't ever be a problem.

Our problem in this country is that we don't insist that people learn english- we enable non-english speaking people to continue their non-english speaking ways by insisting on putting up signage and having people press "numero dos por espanole". There's one thing where people can speak both, but it helps having signage for both languages, and it's quite another when you just have signage up so that they can bypass the english speaking proces.

Uuugh, it's so irritating.

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Old 06-12-06, 09:39 PM   #21
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Dude can run his business any way he wants, as far as I'm concerned. Only thing is, I wonder how much of a problem he was actually having with people ordering in another language. It's not like he has a complicated menu. Sounds like he's mostly just a whiney little baby.

Not completely on topic, but what're you "speak english!" folks going to do if, in ~20 years, Spanish becomes the language of the majority?

I thank you for your opinon. It was constructed with sufficient grammer and spelling for me to comprehend the intent of your statements. In english.

As far as Vento being a whiney little baby, did you happen to read the part about him being Sicilian?

-YOU- go tell a Sicilian he is a whiney little baby. I'm sure his rebuttal will be something to hear. And feel.


As far as Spanish goes. The only ones who want Spanish to be the language are the illegals. I live in a area that has a large Hispanic population. Hell, one of my ex-wives is a Latina. We have a child together. My daughter is blonde with blue eyes, and speaks flawless Castillian. And -everybody- in my ex-wife's extended family speaks English. When I was married to her, everyone of her relatives who came to visit. they would want me to teach them English.

Stupidity and arrogance cross all lines of destinction. But so do intelligence and good moral codes.
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Old 06-12-06, 09:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Spanish shouldn't become the language of the majority. We need to enforce the "speak english" as people enter our country. If that happens, it won't ever be a problem.

Our problem in this country is that we don't insist that people learn english- we enable non-english speaking people to continue their non-english speaking ways by insisting on putting up signage and having people press "numero dos por espanole". There's one thing where people can speak both, but it helps having signage for both languages, and it's quite another when you just have signage up so that they can bypass the english speaking proces.

Uuugh, it's so irritating.

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Really. Why the heck do I have to press 1 for English?

And don't get me started on the ballots. That is what caused all the problems six years ago, and look where we are now......
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Old 06-13-06, 03:35 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Doesn't Geno come from behind the counter and kick your ass if you order the following: "May I please have a provolone cheesesteak with grilled onions?"
If you attempt to order in The Queen's English, he will not directly insult you. He will, however, rephrase your order in a streamlined, slang-ish manner, and demand that you affirm it in this form.

Example:

You: "I beg your pardon, sir, but might I order a single cheesesteak with fried onions?"

Geno: "You want one, wit?"

You: "Quite, actually"

Geno: (yelling to the guys at the grill) "ONE WIT!!!!"

You: "Splendid, I say!"
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Old 06-13-06, 04:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by explody pup
Dude can run his business any way he wants, as far as I'm concerned. Only thing is, I wonder how much of a problem he was actually having with people ordering in another language. It's not like he has a complicated menu. Sounds like he's mostly just a whiney little baby.

Not completely on topic, but what're you "speak english!" folks going to do if, in ~20 years, Spanish becomes the language of the majority?

Funny, I seem to recall a national bill in process that seeks to make English the national language.
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Old 06-13-06, 07:09 AM   #25
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I was getteting a hair cut. The lady couldn't speak english properly.
I ended up not hearing or understanding a single word she said and she didn't understand a word i said. The absoluytely most ufcking annoying thing in the world is having to pay for something and not getting what you want because somebody can't speak english. This is Anmerica. If you hbold an american citizen card and plan on working in america then you should speak english so that the people whom you are working for and the people whom you work for can comunicate with you properly.
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