[lg policy] Over Language: Telemundo Reviles Latino Restaurateur as Race Traitor

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Jun 9 10:13:02 EDT 2018


 Over Language: Telemundo Reviles Latino Restaurateur as Race Traitor
By Garvin Oliver <https://www.newsbusters.org/author/garvin-oliver> and Ken
Oliver <https://www.newsbusters.org/author/ken-oliver> | June 8, 2018 12:27
PM EDT

A well-known Las Vegas restaurant, Jamms Breakfast and Lunch Diner, is
getting lambasted by Telemundo for a new work rule that simply prohibits
its employees from speaking Spanish in front of customers who don’t speak
Spanish.

In response to what probably the vast majority of Americans would consider
an entirely reasonable customer service language policy, Telemundo host
María Celeste Arrarás expressed her indignation that the rule was
implemented by* a Latino owner no less*.

In a report on her afternoon show *Al Rojo Vivo*, Arrarás was also quick to
completely mischaracterize the rule as one that impedes what language
customers can use while at the restaurant, in addition to calling on *Jamms
<http://www.jammsrestaurant.com/>*’ co-owner Antonio Gamboa to change the
rule.





MARÍA CELESTE ARRARÁS, HOST, AL ROJO VIVO, TELEMUNDO: *Let's hope the owner
of the restaurant reconsiders his position*. Many Latino customers
patronize his establishment, and have all the right in the world to
communicate with the employees in Spanish, or in whatever language they
desire to.

Both Arrarás’s introduction to the report on the controversy, as well as
her concluding commentary, were actually belied by facts within the report
itself. As Jamms’ co-owner Antonio Gamboa himself told Telemundo reporter
Michelle Rodríguez, the restaurant’s new language policy was instituted
only after a non-Spanish speaking customer at the restaurant mistakenly
believed he was being verbally disparaged by a Jamms’ employee in Spanish.

As Gamboa explained, contrary to the customer’s assumption, the employees
were not disparaging the customer, but as a result management decided to
make an employee language policy change in order to avoid such situations
in the future. Gamboa specifically tells Telemundo that “We made the
decision, and told them not to speak Spanish when they have customers in
front of them who do not speak Spanish.”

*In reality, the restaurant’s rule was born not out of an ethos of
discrimination, but one of inclusion*: to be more inclusive, welcoming, and
mindful of all of the restaurant’s customer base. However, Arrarás & Co.
shape-shifted the facts of the matter in order to present it as some kind
of monstrous anti-Hispanic, Spanish speaking ban for everyone.

In comments to Rodríguez, another restaurant employee also testified to
experiencing no discrimination in the establishment, in which 75% of the
employees are Latino. In addition, the reporter noted Jamms also has a
commendable track record as a sponsor of cultural events in the area’s
Hispanic community.

As indicated, at the end of the segment Arrarás calls on the restaurant
owner to change the rule and declares that Hispanics “have all the right in
the world to communicate with the employees in Spanish or in whatever
language they desire to.” She is oblivious to the fact that the rule is
only enforceable on the employees, as in any other business. Nowhere in the
wording does the rule ban customers from speaking whatever language they
please.

*The episode is illustrative of the kind of divisive, erroneous and
irresponsible racial grievance-based reporting that appears way too often
in the national Hispanic media*. When the perpetrator of the alleged
anti-Hispanic act is Latino, as in this case, the “race traitor” angle is
also added for good measure.

Below is the complete transcript of the above-referenced report, as aired
during the May 30, 2018 edition of Telemundo’s *Al Rojo Vivo*, con María
Celeste Arrarás.

MARIA CELESTE ARRARÁS, HOST, AL ROJO VIVO, TELEMUNDO: A restaurant in Las
Vegas is making headlines after placing a sign forbidding its employees to
speak Spanish in front of customers. *And listen to this: the owner is
Latino*. Michelle Rodríguez has the controversy, and the owner's comments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CLIENT: This restaurant is very close to my house. We
have eaten several times, but this will be the last.

MICHELLE RODRÍGUEZ, REPORTER, TELEMUNDO: This announcement, which spread
like a wildfire on social media, is causing outrage among the Hispanic
community. It is a note in English that tells the employees of a restaurant
that they cannot speak Spanish while they are around customers. It was
placed in the employee break room of the Jamms Restaurant, near Charleston
and Rainbow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CLIENT: It is definitely very sad because we continue
promoting racism, discrimination, class differences and everything, and I
think we are free to speak what we want to speak.

RODRIGUEZ: Nevertheless, one of the owners of this restaurant, who by the
way is a Hispanic man, defends the policy, assuring that it is so that
customers who do not speak Spanish do not feel isolated or insulted.

ANTONIO GAMBOA, CO-OWNER, JAMMS RESTAURANT: What happened was that there
was a customer at the bar and one of our employees was speaking Spanish
with another employee. The customer felt bad, like offended, thinking that
they were talking about him. The employees were never talking about the
customer, they were simply just talking amongst themselves. *We made the
decision, and told them not to speak Spanish when they have customers in
front of them who do not speak Spanish*.

RODRÍGUEZ: To carry out the order, they put a sign on a wall in the back of
the restaurant. It is believed that it was an employee who posted it on
social media, which has affected the restaurant.

MARCO GAMBOA, EMPLOYEE, JAMMS RESTAURANT: And I think it is a
misunderstanding. That someone who wanted to play a joke, or I don’t know.
With the experience I have working in this place, I have never seen or felt
discriminated against.

RODRÍGUEZ: Additionally, this restaurant has been a sponsor of various
Hispanic events.

ARRARÁS: Well,* let's hope the owner of the restaurant reconsiders his
position*. Many Latino customers patronize his establishment, and have all
the right in the world to communicate with the employees in Spanish, or in
whatever language they desire to.



-- 
=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

-------------------------------------------------
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lgpolicy-list/attachments/20180609/a8f5a528/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
_______________________________________________
This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
To manage your subscription unsubscribe, or arrange digest format: https://groups.sas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/lgpolicy-list


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list