I wasn’t going to do another post this week, but there is a local story with national implications going on. If you watched Good Morning America this morning (don’t worry, I won’t think any less of ya), you may have seen the owner of Geno’s Steaks interviewed regarding a sign he put up in his establishment. Now, on the face, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal – an owner who puts a sign up in his place of business.
However, this particular sign has created a disturbance. You see, the sign says, “Please order in English.” Obviously, this is a lightning rod. I’m guessing some political races could be decided on which side of the fence each candidate is on. At the risk of alienating some of you, I will share my opinion.
I understand the arguments that are made for people who do not speak English in this country. Many are poor, can’t afford to learn the language, and have no time to learn because they are working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. That is a fair and just defense. However, I believe that in order for one to move upward in society (in this country), one needs to learn English. I think it is not only a cool thing to know two languages, but it gives one a valuable edge in the workplace. It should be encouraged, no, mandated by this country (just my opinion – you are free to have your own, as well).
On another level, I think the owner of a mom-and-pop establishment, like Geno’s, should be allowed to make any rules (within reason) that he or she pleases. Besides, Pat’s Steaks is across the street, and if some people have a problem with Geno’s rules, go next door – that is your right (and his).
On a third level – when my parents came to America, they HAD to learn English in order to gain citizenship. What happened to make this change? Did you know, you can take your citizenship test in another language? Hunh???? How did this happen? Look, I encourage learning another language – heck, the way things are going, students in the U.S. will be REQUIRED to learn Spanish before too long. So, it should only be fair that American citizens be required to learn English. Again, just my opinion.
I just think this whirlwind against Geno’s is a waste of time. Let the owner do what he wants – stop sticking your fingers in everybody’s pie … for once!