‘Minorities need not apply’ on help wanted sign ignites firestorm, but there’s more to the story

‘Minorities need not apply’ on help wanted sign ignites firestorm, but there’s more to the story
Owner 'Sue' Shin (Image: WISTV video screen grab)

Don’t let the name fool you. Kenny’s Home Cooking in Spartanburg, S.C., may sound convincingly southern, but the owners — Sook “Sue” Shin and her husband — emigrated from Japan and Korea respectively.

That’s no reflection on the food, though it does explain the rather animated reaction to sign that the couple posted in the window of their eatery. The sign, which specified a job opening, also carries the advice that”minorities need not apply” … in Spanish as well as English!


Station WYFF notes:

A customer took a picture of the sign and shared it on social media over the weekend.

The post led to a firestorm of comments. People vowed to file complaints with the government. They also promised to stop eating at the restaurant and encouraged others to do the same.

“That day we probably only had 20 customers, and me and the other girl that was working, we didn’t make hardly any money. We had phone calls all day harassing us,” said Melonie Henderson, a server who has worked at the restaurant for two years.

The root of the problem was a language barrier. The sign was meant to read, “Minors need not apply.”

When Shin got wind of the problem, she replaced the sign with the one below. It reads:

Dear Customers. I am the owner, Sue. I am really sorry for the sign that posted earlier. I didn’t know what it meant. After I knew, I took it off immediately. English is not my first language. And I never thought about it. Again, I sincerely apologize for every thing [sic].

Members of the staff — which include a Spanish cook and a black dishwasher — never saw the sign because they enter and leave the restaurant through a back door.

There is no word on whether minors who saw the sign took offense.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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