Saturday, December 15, 2007
Late night snacking with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• The Philadelphia cheesesteak shop owner who placed English-only ordering signs in his store insisted he never intended to offend anyone (pictured above; see Essay 672). The man testified at a public hearing initiated by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the organization that filed a complaint. “This country is a melting pot, but what makes it work is the English language,” said the shop owner. “I’m not stupid. I would never put a sign out to hurt my business.” Opponents argued the signs were reminiscent of “Whites Only” postings from the Jim Crow era. A sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania said, “The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded.” The shop owner’s lawyers said the signs were created in part to keep customer lines moving in the busy restaurant. “The case should, without question, be dismissed,” said one attorney. “There is a legitimate business purpose for this sign.” Perhaps the signs will ultimately achieve their objective by reducing the customer lines.
• During a telephone press conference to hype NBC’s “Clash of the Choirs,” Patti LaBelle revealed how she inspired her group to sing better. “I said, ‘Scream like a woman with a Black man chasing you, trying to get your purse,’” announced LaBelle, also adding, “I have more White than Black [in the choir she assembled]. So I’m not prejudiced. I don’t have no racial thing going through this.” Somewhere, Michael Richards and Don Imus are quietly complaining.
• Ford Motor Company lifted the freeze on raises for its salaried employees. The typical white-collar worker will get a 2.7 percent salary increase in April. That measly amount should inspire some bold moves—to jump ship.
• A new report by the Congressional Budget Office says the rich are getting richer faster. The jump in incomes from the top 1 percent of Americans (recorded from 2003 to 2005) exceeded the complete income of the poorest 20 percent of our citizens. Robin Hood would have a field day with this scenario.