A restaurant in New Mexico decided to go political and put a sign on the front of their business that said “Blame China” for their lack of employees that resulted in a temporary shutdown.
In an interview with Newsweek, the owner of Forghedaboudit Southwest Italian, Kimberly Yacone said that their restaurant in Deming, New Mexico “has been closed now for months as we can’t get help. We blame the COVID-19 situation on the communist Chinese government and along with it the government giving excessive benefits to the non-employed to sit at home without having to even document looking for a job.”
Yacone’s controversial signage wherein she made a large sign that she posted in front of her Italian restaurant that says “BLAME CHINA!” circulated a lot of controversy in the local community – forcing Yacone to shut down her restaurant temporarily because of the public outcry.
She then made a statement,
“We are not racist. We are not bigots… This thing came from China. It’s a known fact.”
A lot of businesses have to shut down because of this pandemic and made it hard for Forghedaboutit Southwest Italian too. The restaurant owner also struggled to keep her employees employed like other small businesses.
“When people are making more on unemployment than they are going back to work, it’s hard to find help,” Yacone complained. She identified an entire country as the source of her problem and thought she should let her customers know that she was pointing the finger at China – which was where the coronavirus outbreak originally started in late 2019.
Yacone and her husband, Robert, believed that the Chinese government should be blamed for their hardships in New Mexico. And because the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to shut their doors for so long, they decided to post a sign on their door that let all customers know their feelings.
“When we say blame China, yeah! That’s where it came from,” she said. “We’re not blaming Chinese American people.”
Yacone has posted a number of signs on the front door of her Italian restaurant. In addition to the sign that boldly suggests that her customers “BLAME CHINA!” she also posted signage about the restaurant’s lack of staff.
She wrote, “Reservations are required one day before due to lack of staff.” However, she also notifies customers that “bar seating available upon availability.”
Members of her New Mexico community were outraged by the “BLAME CHINA!” sign because they felt that Yacone was feeding into the anti-Asian rhetoric popularized by former President Trump. However, Yacone does not think her sign attacks members of the Asian community in her state.
“I don’t think it does,” she said. “That’s towards the Chinese government.”
Social media users and locals could not have disagreed more. People have called out the restaurant on Facebook for the bigoted sign, which has caused the business to struggle even more. Although the goal of the massive sign was to shift the blame on the restaurant’s struggle onto the Chinese government, locals saw it as a sorry attempt to avoid taking responsibility.
Despite the negative response, Yacone plans to keep up the controversial sign.
“It’s just ridiculous to say that we’re racist,” she claimed.
The ACLU of New Mexico offered a different take on the controversy: “This sign simply replays the Trump administration’s tactic of dodging blame for its failures by playing to racial antagonism toward Asian Americans. We’ve seen how signs like this inspire hate and violence against the Asian community. Instead of contributing to these kinds of divisions in our country, we should be pulling together to defeat the virus.”