The Word 'Bacon' Banned in Vermont Street Sign
The list of things that offend Muslims is long. Muslims are incensed, ready too often to murder offenders of their religion. The offenses range from substantive criticism: the Danish cartoons, The Satanic Verses, Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s film “Submission”; to the trivial: the Three Little Pigs banned from British schools, a teddy bear named Mohammed. A blog called the Amboy Times has compiled several hundred more.
Add to this list a sign in Winooski, Vermont, a suburb of Burlington, that said, “Yield for Sneakers Bacon.” (Not “Yield Sneakers Bacon” as reported in numerous outlets.) Sneakers is a local diner, or a “bistro and café,” that was given advertising space as compensation for maintaining a municipal flower bed. The sign isn’t the best ad copy; apparently it was attempting a variation of “I Brake for Doughnuts.”
Unfortunately, Winooski is home to a number of Muslims whose religion teaches them that pigs are filthy animals. Like Jules in “Pulp Fiction,” they do not dig on swine.
Winooski’s Muslim population is mainly Somali Bantus, originally black Africans from southeast Africa, brought north by Arab slave traders (but that’s another story). Many Bantus fled to Kenya during the Black Hawk Down period of anarchy in the early 1990s, and in 1999, the United States admitted 12,000 as refugees.
According to the Burlington Free Press, the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program resettled the majority of Somali refugees in Winooski, which has “a large number of relatively inexpensive rental units near jobs and public transit.” In 2009, “About a third of the students in the Winooski public-school system [were] English language learners… up from about 20 percent of the student population four years ago.” Note that ten years after their arrival, the refugees’ children remain “English language learners.”
The National Somali Bantu Project notes that “the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) awards state governments and non-profit agencies grants to facilitate the refugees' integration into this country.” Indeed, fifteen years later, Vermont continues to offer generous social services to the next generation of “refugees,” listed in their 36-page “Resource Guide,” In addition to free medical, dental and mental health care, “women’s services” include: “pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, maternal/emotional counseling, classes for pregnant women, parenting classes, post-abortion recovery services, diapers, maternity clothing, infant/baby clothing.”
The Resource Guide cautions: “In order to qualify for the subsidies, It is important to stop by the office and fill out two forms completely: the Application for Subsidized Child Care (blue form), and the Family Support Child Care Application (white form).” The inhumanity!
Winooski city officials interviewed by the Burlington Free Press have nothing but praise for the new arrivals, stressing the “beauty in all these people coming to Winooski.”
In the midst of all this celebration of her diversity, one unidentified Muslim woman responded to the Sneakers bacon sign. Apparently not in the mood to celebrate the diversity of Vermonters’ bacon-eating habits, the woman wrote an Internet post saying “the sign was insensitive to those who do not consume pork. She said as a Muslim she is personally offended by it.” (WPTZ-TV, h/t Breitbart)
Good Lord! – sorry -- my land! It’s not like she was force-fed an animal that, as Samuel Jackson might say, “ain’t got enough sense to disregard its own feces.” (For the record, I have bacon for breakfast on average 5 days a week.)
Whether consciously or not, the woman preyed on the gullible multiculturalism of well-intentioned liberal Vermonters who believe that respect for other cultures will be repaid with mutual respect -- a belief also held by President Obama.
Predictably, the response to her being personally offended ranged from abject apology to polite questioning:
The owners of Sneakers spoke to WPTZ. They say they've reached out to the individual who made the post and proactively took the sign down. They also say they regret any harm caused by the sign, and that their goal was never to cause stress or bad feelings... Sneakers' owners say their goal is to provide a joyful place for the entire community.
Harm done? Stress or bad feelings? The Somali Bantu came from a brutal civil war in a country that continues to be a hellhole. In the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s 2013 Index of African Governance, Somalia ranks 52nd out of 52 African countries: “Somalia’s overall governance score has deteriorated since 2000, with its biggest score decrease seen in the Safety & Rule of Law category.”
Breitbart reports further:
Saturday morning the restaurant posted to Facebook, “We are here to serve people BREAKFAST, not politics. We removed the sign that was located on public property as a gesture of respect for our diverse community. There were also concerns raised about safety. Removing it was not a difficult decision. We still love bacon. We still love eggs. Please have the political conversation elsewhere.”
This response is not a profile in courage, but it’s difficult to fault the owners of a small business in a town where one third of the school kids are Muslim for not taking a stand against Muslim intolerance. And what’s that about “concerns raised about safety”?
Winooski’s politicians however could have spoken out without risking their livelihood. Instead:
Winooski's city manager spoke on behalf of the city. She said:
"The cool part of living in a diverse community is that it's not always comfortable. It's a fascinating place with lots of opportunities for conversation. The City has to pay attention to a lot of factors while acting within what we can regulate," said Katherine "Deac" Decarreau.
By the way, “the Winooski Islamic Community Center was not available for comment.” (Breitbart)
Fouad Ajami wrote in a 2012 Washington Post article, Why is the Arab world so easily offended?, that “modernity requires the willingness to be offended.” Ajami summarizes Bernard Lewis’s argument that Muslims’ sense of grievance comes from a historical humiliation about the mediocrity of their once great civilization. This may be accurate, but it doesn’t justify a bully in Winooski, Vermont, whining about a bacon sign. Jews aren’t offended by the lobster on Maine’s license plate and Catholics don’t demand that McDonald’s stop serving Filet-O-Fish on Fridays.