Nail Salon Owner Has No Clue Why People Offended By Her "American Owned, American Staffed" Sign

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The chic St. Tropez Nail Spa in Fairview offers the standard array of of waxes, facials and manis and pedis you expect from a strip center nail salon but with a special twist. Because not only will the ladies there turn your toenails plaid and your fingernails a tasteful sparkling silver, they'll do so with undertones of casual racism.

At St. Tropez, they go to great lengths to point out that they're Americans, goddammit. They mention this on their website, on their Facebook page, and on a large, red, white, and blue sign: "American owned, American staffed."

The salon's owner, Diana Casey, carefully is cagey in explaining the sign. "This is a business decision," she told WFAA's Steve Stoler. "It's just letting people know I'm American, and I speak English." As opposed to a French Canadian, or a Bulgarian maybe.

But even if Casey won't say it, her customers know what she means. Take this Google review from a month ago:

AMERICAN OWNED!!!!!! That may sound bad to some but those of you out there know why I say this. These people care about what you want. They give you options and do not try to sell you or force you to do something you don't want. They explain things to you.

Or this Facebook comment: "Please keep your sign up. Don't let the haters get you down. Love of country isn't offensive. God bless!"

Love of country might not be offensive, but not-so-subtle digs at Asian Americans, who dominate the nail industry, are. The owners of neighboring businesses, three of them Asian, get the message. So does Ed Thayer, the adoptive father of four Vietnamese girls, who confronted Casey after noticing the sign.

"I said, 'This sign here implies that the other salons around here that are owned by Asian-Americans are less American than you,'" Thayer told WFAA.

Casey swears she never meant to offend anyone. She's keeping the sign up.

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102 comments
Bellabe
Bellabe

not racist at all...unless made in china by Chinese is racist:/

edweirdness
edweirdness

I think you're confusing race with nationality! You can be of any race and still be an American.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Good for the salon owner.  Were I to user such services, I would steer her way, like I steer toward the Golden Chick that hires Americans who I can understand when they speak. 

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

This reminds me of that one episode of My Name Is Earl where Joy taught the Asian lady how to speak English improperly so that she would ruin her business and Joy's nail business would thrive.

JeanValJean
JeanValJean

*SIGH* it's shit like this that really makes me miss Wilonsky

russp
russp

There was a time when pride in this country and an interest in its well being led people to display a bumper sticker that read "Be American, Buy American" but that pride is gone and US businesses are laying off or moving overseas as our roads and living rooms are flooded with products from foreign owned companies. Good for Diana for adding "Hire American" to that slogan.  

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

Sorry Eric...my racism radar can arguably return false positives sometimes, but I don't really see the problem with this sign.

Tom434
Tom434

For years driving to New Mexico by way of Amarillo on US 287 you would see signs on the motels saying American owned as Indians were buying the local motels.

karyls
karyls

I have to say bravo to Eric Nicholson's cheerful stomping of the term racism into ever more meaningless gibberish here.

The more he and others like him spray it around to mean anything and nothing, the more each next person along the line squeaking about RACISM! sounds like nothing more than some wheezing old-timer jabbering along in his terrible invective from the 1920's.

Racist? Oh, NOES! Did he just call me a STINKER?

LOL

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

How on earth did we become a nation so thin skinned where anyone would actually care what they have in the window?

Personally, I just have so many other bigger fish in my life to fry than to walk down the street searching for my reason to be offended that day.

Oxtail
Oxtail

 "Asian Americans, who dominate the nail industry" seems like  "undertones of casual racism" on The Observer's part.

Kinda like saying, " Middle Easterners dominate the 7-eleven clerk industry."


joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@JeanValJean He's not dead. Follow him on Facebook and you'll get all the Wilonsky you desire.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@CornyDoggy You're not doing it right, then. Allow me to spell it out: many nail salons are Asian-owned. This one isn't. In order to appeal to suburban white folks, this shop owner has placed this overtly patriotic sign in her window. Though defended under the guise of patriotism, she is in effect saying, "We're the white-owned nail salon."

annunaki
annunaki

@Rooster0620 Sure.  Why not put a sign in the window that says Christians only?  Whites only?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@Rooster0620 Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that it's the same old nativist assholery of the sort that prompted hatred towards Irish, Italian and Asian immigrants for the past 150 years or so.

p0box76131
p0box76131

@Oxtail A recent study conducted by Nail Magazine stated that Vietnamese-American owns 40 percent of the nail industry.  That's just the Vietnamese, not to mention the Koreans and other Asian Americans out there.

annunaki
annunaki

@Oxtail It wouldn't be casual racism if it was actually a fact of stats. 

director21
director21

@CogitoErgoSum @CornyDoggy It seems that YOU are the one "not doing it right." Allow me to spell it out for you. MANY Americans are not white. MANY Americans, that is people who were BORN here, are of Asian, African, Indian (as in India), Native American, Hispanic and other ethnical origins. That does not make them any less American than a white American.

It seems like your racism is showing! As long as the sign is a true reflection of fact I have no problem with it.

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

@annunaki @Rooster0620

If that's what they choose to do, then they should. It's their right. I'll simply vote with my feet.

My skin isn't that thin. You'll drive yourself nuts thinking you can change the way other people think.

If someone doesn't want my business because of my race, I'm happy not to give it to them.

If someone frequents a place because the don't allow my kind in there.....that says much more about them than it does about me.

I try never to let someone else's view of me become a referendum on my worth.

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

@CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620

And 150 years later I'm over it. Someone is always going to dislike me because of my race, the color of my skin, my sex, etc.

I'm ok with that. It doesn't phase me in the least.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@CogitoErgoSum @Oxtail I guess I don't understand what an "undertone of casual racism" is then. Please give examples of the following:

"Overtones of Casual Racism"

"Undertones of Formal Racism"

Overtones of Formal Racism"

And are Asian Americans a subcategory of "Americans" or are they on the same level. Is it allowable for naturalized Asian American put up the same sign in their window or would that just confuse us white folks too much?



CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@RTGolden1 @CogitoErgoSum @director21 @CornyDoggy And you just made a generalization that the Asian salons are staffed by people who can't speak English. How do you know that's true? No matter what her intentions were, it plays to racist tendencies in people who stereotype Asian business owners. She knows that and is taking advantage of it. Pleading ignorance won't cut it here.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @director21 @CornyDoggy And you have this clairvoyant window into her motivations.... how?  Maybe she put the sign up for exactly the reason she stated, so customers would know she and her staff can speak and understand English (better customer service starts with understanding what the customer wants).  YOU are making it racial, not her.  Here is the fantastic thing about being in America: YOU don't have to patronize her business, you can take your Madame Bouvier mind reading act to any other nail parlor in town to get your nails done.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@director21 @CogitoErgoSum @CornyDoggy Hey genius, you ARE dense. The owner of this shop is white, which is why she put the damn sign up -- to give a not-so-subtle cue to other white folks that hers isn't one of those Asian-owned salons. Get it? It has nothing to do with her being an American. It has everything to do with her being a white, English-speaking American.

p0box76131
p0box76131

@ScottsMerkin @CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 It's okay to be different but the fact that she has that sign up makes people think that she only refers to herself and whatever race she is (white and English speaking) to be Americans. IF she feels that only her race are true Americans then she must have only taken English classes because in History class, we Americans came from all parts of the world. If we use her standards then the only one who could come close to calling them true Americans would be Native Americans.

edweirdness
edweirdness


@CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 Legal immigrants, and naturalized citizens aren't paying anything because of this sign. Either they are 'Americans' by virtue of the naturalization process, or they are 'legally' residing here in anticipation of, or with the opportunity to, become an American. Lot's of goofballs make this same mistake when discussing illegal immigration, versus legal immigration. If any American, by whatever means, whether native born or naturalized, feels offended by the pride exemplified by 'American owned' or 'American staffed', I would argue that perhaps they've misunderstood the entire concept of what it means to be an American citizen. Indeed, one cannot truly ascribe American to someone who's loyalties or concept of self does not consider themselves to be an American first and foremost. Teddy Roosevelt was demonstrably right about this interpretation of what it means to be an American citizen. Still, the great thing about America is that if you don't like a sign in a store or business, you don't have to patronize that business. Similarly, if you don't like the almost universal understanding of what constitutes being an American, in every sense of the word, you similarly have every right and every opportunity to take your views elsewhere. Is this a great country or what?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 and again, whats wong with being different, do you feel that all nail salons need to be asian?  Is it offensive to you that a white person is taking clientele from an asian run business?  The undertones are only there in your mind.  The people making this an issue are making this a racial thing

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@ScottsMerkin @CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 It's not. My objection here is not her hiring practices (though, in both cases, they are problematic), it's the undercurrent of racism. By hanging this sign, she is effectively saying her place isn't one of those nail parlors owned by Asians.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 you just set a double standard there.  "They frequently hire their family members or others with whom they share a common language and culture"


How is that any different from this lady hiring family and people who speak the same language and culture as her?


CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@ScottsMerkin @CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 I don't agree. They frequently hire their family members or others with whom they share a common language and culture. You and I might do the same thing if we immigrated to Vietnam, for example. However, I've been to plenty of Asian restaurants with Hispanics working there.  So, you think this sign is an expression of pride in oneself and one's people. Which people are we talking about here? Americans? Americans are a very diverse bunch that includes naturalized immigrants and ethnicities from around the world. I'm starting to agree with another poster here that the motivation behind this sign may be tinged with a bit of de facto racism, i.e. Caucasian vs Asian. It effectively conveys the message that if you're white and prefer to patronize a white-owned business, come on in.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @ScottsMerkin @Rooster0620 there are plenty of people who hire hire hard working immigrants, and good on them, I just dont see whats wrong with having pride in yourself and your people.  Go into most mani/pedi places, find the white person working there, they arent, mostly bc the asains dont want to hire white people, it works both way

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@ScottsMerkin @CogitoErgoSum @Rooster0620 I'm fine with her leaving the sign up -- after all, it's her right to free speech. However, it does belies the fact that she's willing to throw hard-working immigrants under the bus to further her own business. If I ever needed a manicure, I'd go out of my way to avoid any business with such a sign.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@Rooster0620 Good for you. You're a real John Wayne tough guy, ain't ya? Others, namely legal immigrants and naturalized citizens, should not be made to pay for the fact that they weren't born here.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @RTGolden1 @Oxtail I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on this.  Your arguments, although strong, fail to convince me there is anything wrong with this sign, in this situation or any other.  It was an interesting discussion though, and I'm glad you and I were able to carry it out somewhat civilly.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@RTGolden1 @CogitoErgoSum @Oxtail I replied above, but will do so here, too. For many years, the association between "white" and "American" in this country was very strong. Look at all the negativity toward the current president, with people accusing him of not being an American or a Christian. Look at popular culture in this country up until the post-Civil Rights era -- white faces dominated TV, movies, advertising and politics. In the South, those white faces dominated long after the Civil Rights era. For many generations in this country, if you weren't white, you were less than American. That association lingers. Deny it all you want (we all want to be wishful about how much better things are), but I've mentioned several facts that support this assertion. Texas is a southern state and has more than its fair share of racism. The feds still require us to check with them before we change any voting rules, for fear of potential voting rights/civil rights violations. My point is that when SOME white people see the phrase "American Owned," they automatically associate that with someone like them. Also being white, this woman knows that and is knowingly attempting to profit from it. If she isn't a racist, she's at least happy to use the race card to her advantage, which is just as bad in my book.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @RTGolden1 @Oxtail You seem to have an issue with white people being proud of themselves.  I wouldn't call it racism, I don't know what race you are.  I am, however, pretty sure you wouldn't be so up in arms about it if the owner were African American or Hispanic or Middle Eastern. 

There is no 'undertone' in the sign.  The writer tried his damndest to put racism into the equation, but it just isn't there.  You have been trying just as hard to convince everyone here that the owner is racist or nativist, in her business practices, which is not there in the story either.

She very well may be racist or nativist, I don't know her or her nail salon.  Unless you DO know her or her salon, you don't know her motivations either.  You are projecting your own fabricated 'undertones' based on Eric's questionable journalism and shoddy writing.  Eric didn't go and interview the woman, he watched the WFAA story on her.  The woman didn't make any racial comments.  Eric dug and found one FB comment from a customer and that customer's views and highlighted it in  his article, painting it as the owner's views.  The other FB comment he found wasn't the slightest bit racist, but segued nicely into Eric's next point.  Eric, as usual, is writing with an agenda, and you are commenting with the same agenda.

Show me how "American owned, American staffed" indicates a 'white-owned business'.  Would it indicate the same thing if put on Smokey John's BBQ?  How about if Tejeda's put the sign up?  Still mean a white-owned business?  You're tilting at windmills.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Oxtail the more he types, the more obvious he makes it who is the racist

Oxtail
Oxtail

 @CogitoErgoSum Now your being racist or ignorant. I guess you have never lived in a diverse American society.  Hell even here in Dallas, I have a Cuban friend that is probably the proudest American I know and he is not "white."

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @Oxtail I'm guessing if the owner of the nail salon were an african american woman, you'd be alright with the sign reading "American owned, hire American" ?

director21
director21

@CogitoErgoSum @ScottsMerkin In the event you did not notice, we have been sold on the benefits and value of "domestically produced natural gas as a means to freedom from Middle Eastern energy imports." We have been told that producing American gas will save us money and create jobs here at home. The patriotism card is frequently on display when an auto dealership uses about a thousand American flags to line its lot even if it is selling foreign cars. Politicians wear American flag lapel pins to denote their pride in America.

Are all these things signs of racism by white Americans? Of course not. Some of them are bullshit (such as in the case of natural gas industry, auto dealerships and politicians), but they are not racist in intent or implication.

director21
director21

@CogitoErgoSum @Oxtail Upon WHAT, exactly, do you deduce that "American owned" refers to "white owned"? You need to pull your head out of your ass and get over whatever is eating you up inside because it is not healthy.

Had the sign read "White Owned - White Operated", then you would have a valid point, but it does not and neither do you.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum Because Patriotism! Woot go America, I dont know.  Its been fun chatting with you though

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@ScottsMerkin @CogitoErgoSum Fair point. I don't know much about nail salons. In that case, why can't the sign just read, "Our Staff has a Gentle Touch"? Why use patriotism to mean something else? It's dishonest and makes the Asians out to be un-American and un-patriotic, at the very least.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum having an issue with an asian isnt necessarily racism though, maybe they just dont like how rough the asian nail lady is on her cuticles and the white lady is much more gentle?  

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@ScottsMerkin You admit racism exists above but say that because white people frequent Asian-owned nail parlors, that must mean that white people can't be racist towards Asians? What sort of murky logic is that? We've already established that many of these parlors are Asian-owned so it would follow that white people patronize them because of their convenience or the fact that the salon does a good job. Some, however, will go to the white-owned parlor because, as I said, they have issues with Asians. That, I assert, is why this woman placed this sign in her window.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @ScottsMerkin are you offended by made in america tags on clothing

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @Oxtail Thats the most asinine racist thing youve said yet.  Youve got to be fucking kidding me.  Does racism exist, yes, but this isnt the 1940s bro. Fuck walk in an asian nail salon and a majority of the customers are white.  

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@Oxtail @CogitoErgoSum Racism is discrimination against a person based on their race. This sign is, in effect, calling attention to the fact that this is a white-owned nail salon -- not Asian-owned. Implicit in this is a value statement, namely that many white folks prefer to patronize white-owned businesses because they have issues with Asians. Put simply, the value statement is: White=Good, Asian=Bad. Merely pointing out that most nail salons are Asian-owned does not carry an implied value statement.

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