‘Blame China’ sign in front of Italian restaurant in New Mexico sparks controversy
DEMING, New Mexico (KRQE) – A restaurateur from the south New Mexico is forced to temporarily close the doors because – like many restaurants across the state – they have a difficulty in hiring workers.
Unlike other restaurants, however, Southwestern Italy’s Forghedaboutit is criticized for a large sign posted in front of the establishment that says: “Blame China!”
“We’re not racists, we’re not fanatics,” said Kimberly Yacone, owner of the Italian restaurant. “This thing is from China, it’s a known fact.”
The Yacones restaurant had been open in Deming for eight years. Now, like a lot of restaurants in New Mexico, they are struggling to find staff to run the place. “When people earn more with unemployment than they return to work, it’s hard to find help,” Yacone said.
Yacone said she and her husband Robert blame the Chinese government for their failure to keep their Deming restaurant open. “When we say blame China, yes! That’s where it comes from, ”Yacone said. “We don’t blame Chinese Americans.”
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been numerous reports in the graphic media of physical and verbal assaults against Asian Americans, with the FBI warning in March 2020 of an increase in hate crimes against them. Asian Americans. During several attacks filmed on video, the attackers can be heard with reference to China and even shout “Chinese virus”.
Nexstar’s KRQE asked if the sign on the property incites violence against the Asian community. “I don’t think it is,” Yacone replied. “It’s to the Chinese government.”
However, people on social media disagree with her. In the past few days, bad reviews have been posted on their Facebook page by people who say they refuse to support their business and call them bigots.
Yacone says she has also received calls defending their position. “It’s ridiculous to say that we’re racist,” she said.
Yacone says the sign will stay in place. “It is what it is,” she said.
KRQE has contacted the ACLU of New Mexico regarding the sign. In a statement, they said:
“This sign only replicates the Trump administration’s tactic of avoiding blame for its failures by playing racial antagonism against Asian Americans. We have seen how signs like this inspire hatred and violence against the Asian community. Instead of contributing to these kinds of divisions in our country, we should mobilize to defeat the virus. ”
Peter Simonson, Executive Director of ACLU New Mexico