Joey Vento: An Assimilation Warrior

Blunt. Brash. Bold. Politically incorrect. Unapologetically patriotic. Philadelphia cheesesteak king Joey Vento was all that and a side of freedom fries. The 71-year-old owner of Geno’s Steaks died of a heart attack this week, but he reignited a national debate over radical multiculturalism that will burn for years to come.

Five years ago, Vento garnered national headlines when a local newspaper profiled his outspoken views on customers who couldn’t speak English. He hung a sign in his order window that read: “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.” Though he never turned anyone away, the grandson of Italian immigrants informed hungry patrons that he reserved the “right to refuse service” to those he couldn’t understand.

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  • Roger Clegg, Ctr for Equal Opportunity

    Great column! BTW, here’s my top-ten list of what we should demand from those who want to become Americans (and those who are already Americans, for that matter). The list was first published in an National Review Online column a decade ago [link: http://old.nationalreview.com/comment/comment091200d.shtml ], and it is fleshed out in Congressional testimony [link: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/May2007/Clegg070523.pdf ]:

    1. Don’t disparage anyone else’s race or ethnicity.
    2. Respect women.
    3. Learn to speak English.
    4. Be polite.
    5. Don’t break the law.
    6. Don’t have children out of wedlock.
    7. Don’t demand anything because of your race or ethnicity.
    8. Don’t view working and studying hard as “acting white.”
    9. Don’t hold historical grudges.
    10. Be proud of being an American.