I just love things like the beer ad at right. Dutch beer. Spanish language copy. American bus stop (specifically, Los Angeles). One person who might not like it so much? Knox County, Tenn. Commissioner Mike Brown.
As far as he’s concerned, if you want to get a beer permit in this county, you’d better be able to speak English.
Or he’ll vote against you.
“Yes, it’s not right. If you can’t understand English, then you can’t understand the law,” said Brown, who represents the 9th District, which encompasses the southern part of the county.
Brown, because he is a commissioner, sits on the county beer board, which regulates beer permits in the county. It meets once a month, and applicants must get the board’s permission to sell beer.
The editorial board of the Knoxville News Sentinel rightly referred to the proposal–which is apparently D.O.A.–“clearly unconstitutional,” and also explained why it’s nonsense at the practical level.
Business owners don’t have to speak English fluently in order to sell products. Many legal immigrants who came here to build a better life from countries all over the globe have used the successful operation of small businesses such as convenience stores and family-owned grocery markets to achieve the American Dream. Brown’s proposal would have turned some legal immigrants into second-class citizens.
You can let Commissioner Brown know how you feel about his proposal (no threats or expletives in any language!) by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.