Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fort Wayne Business Backs Off Burmese Ban

"The owner of a Fort Wayne business that posted a sign barring Burmese people from entering has apologized, but it may not be enough to get the business off the hook with civil rights groups.

"Ricker Oil Co.'s coin-operated laundry still could face an investigation from Fort Wayne's Metropolitan Human Relations Commission. Director Gerald Foday says the panel could pursue charges if they are warranted.

"Sanctions could include fines, mandatory employee retraining and other remedies, Foday said.

"At issue is a sign an employee posted on the laundry's door that said, 'For sanitary reasons, there are no Burmese people allowed.'

"Fort Wayne is home to about 5,000 Burmese, the largest concentration in the United States.

"Immigrants from the country, also known as Myanmar, often chew betel nuts and spit the residue, which can result in red stains.

"Ricker Oil spokesman Jonathan Bausman said Ricker's has discussed its concerns about certain behaviors with Burmese advocates and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health. He said other companies have expressed similar concerns.

"Company President Jay Ricker said the company has removed the sign and posted an apology on YouTube."

Above is an item reprinted in its entirety from page 2 of the "Metro+State" section of The Indianapolis Star published 14 March 2010. Note: The Star's website credits the item to the Associated Press, adding "Health department spokesman John Silcox says businesses can’t banish an entire group because of an individual’s actions."

The YouTube apology can be found here.

There's another story here, about the lack of reaction from the mayor of Fort Wayne.

For more on the betel nut, check out this entry in Wikipedia.


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