Intentional or not, ethnic slur must go

Thursday, August 1, 2013
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The tempest in a teapot that continues to brew over the Schenectady-based Wandering Dago food truck poses a true social conundrum.

Obviously, in a country where people are free to express themselves however they may choose, there’s nothing illegal about such a name — even when it’s used innocently, as appears to the case here by two people of Italian descent.

But as today’s letter to the editor makes clear, just because Andrea Loguidice and Brandon Snooks aren’t offended by the name, and meant no offense invoking it for their business, it is still considered a derogatory one, and thus hurtful, by many Italians. Even non-Italians who are uncomfortable with ethnic slurs of any stripe have found it offensive.

For that reason, the Saratoga Race Course — a state-owned facility — had a right to banish them last week after “one or two handfuls” of patrons complained on opening day. (The Cuomo administration similarly denied them a permit to operate at the Empire State Plaza in Albany earlier this year.)

Perhaps the truck’s owners never should have been given a permit in the first place, but that’s tangential, really, to any argument that they belong. So are opinion polls taken by the food truck proprietors, as well as The Gazette, indicating that a majority of the public supports the name.

People who don’t find “Wandering Dago” to be in bad taste ought to consider how they’d feel if the name invoked their own ethnicity, race or religion with a derogatory term. They probably wouldn’t like it and would wish the proprietors — regardless of which ethnicity they’re a member of — could find another name; one that wouldn’t be offensive to anyone.

That’s what the people behind the Wandering Dago should do. Not only would it likely be better for business, it would help elevate social standards.

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August 1, 2013
8:24 a.m.
albright1 says...

It is not illegal to be offensive in America (yet). If you think the Wandering Dago owners should change the name because it is offensive, you should have fired Carl Strock long before he retired on the same reasoning.

August 1, 2013
11:55 a.m.
wmarincic says...

If you are offended by the name then don't buy the product. They have a right to choose their business name, you have a right to not support them financially. Free speech is just that and too many people are making decisions based on their own feelings not the law. I believe it was an illegal move to make them leave the Saratoga track and I hope they sue.

August 5, 2013
2:21 p.m.
robbump says...

Yikes! I've railed against the two writers above so many times, and today I agree with both of them 100%
And no one will find any complaint from me if they create the "Kraut Cab" or the "Mick Mobile" to sell food .... so there goes the validity of the writer's statement of "People who don’t find ....".
BTW, the writer states " Saratoga Race Course — a state-owned facility — had a right to banish them.." which is something I guess we'll have to wait to find out. I think it will be determined that it does not.
In the meantime, here's a product to get indignant about: RADAR DETECTORS.

August 7, 2013
10:31 a.m.
reader1 says...

It's a state run facility, people complained, so they took action.

There are generally restrictions re: vendors. The owners had a right to use that name, NYRA has the authority to grant permits to vendors. They chose to revoke this one based on citizens' complaints.

Form a marketing stand point, it seems a little curious to me as to why a vendor would choose a name they know or should know would be found offensive by some.

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