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Monday, 17 November 2014

PC Run Amok, or a Lack of Empathy?

I did a review once with a soprano who was reluctant to sing "Alabamy Bound" because she was sure the lyric "heebie-jeebies" was anti-Semitic.

I have been in conversational groups when someone gasped aloud at the word "niggardly."
(Actually, now that I think of it, someone watching a mini-series of Jane Eyre with me recently may have started slightly.)

But I also know from experience that I am not the first to acknowledge that someone who is sensitive to a perceived slight may actually have a point, I tend to roll my eyes like a heather and say, or at least think, oh, get over yourself.

Which is all a long-winded way to ask, Is "illegal" a racial slur?

Is it true of a restaurant with the word in its name, that, "this is a place that's going to instill violence in our community"?

The restaurant is going to instill violence?
Three weeks shy of opening his newest Illegal Pete's in Old Town Fort Collins, restaurant owner Pete Turner came to Fort Collins on Wednesday to listen to a crowd of concerned residents who asked that he change his business' name.
The Boulder-based restaurant with six locations in Boulder and Denver is modeled after Mexican food from San Francisco's Mission District, specifically over-sized burritos. The name Illegal Pete's, Turner said, is a literary reference to a bar in a novel he read as an English major in Boulder. "Pete" also refers to his own name and his father's. When he started the restaurant in 1995, Turner hoped the name would be ambiguous enough to spark people's interest, perhaps referring to counterculture activity.
But on Wednesday, 30 or so community members explained the negative context of the word illegal, or the "I-word," as some referred to it, and its importance, down to its use as the name of a restaurant.
"Since I know the context, and I have been labeled with (the word illegal), it makes a huge difference to me," said Lucy Gonzalez, 25. As part of a wider effort to "drop the I-word," Gonzalez and others believe that any use of the word "illegal" connected to people should be stopped.
Maybe it's just my background, but coming from a family with generations of alcoholics, I would assume a restaurant/bar with called "Illegal Whatever's" would be pursuing a speakeasy or roadhouse vibe.

I don't know, I've had a discussion, a disagreement? more than once in which I tried to explain that my expressing an opinion/preference/dislike in many, if not most cases was not to be seen as even the slightest hint that said opinion/preference/dislike should have any bearing whatsoever on the actions of another.

This may be related to the topic at hand, or I may need a nap.

Oh, and just to let you know, although I alos have been insulted, I have been labeled -- with one syllable of your name, my beloved restaurant, don't change a thing for me, (your burgers sing for me.....)

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