So here’s a thing that’s been going around the intarwebs for a few days: Signs at two school playgrounds in Milford, Delaware, have totally different meanings in Spanish and English. The English version is the usual legal ass-covering warning telling parents that they need to supervise their children. The Spanish, version, however, translates to “You must have a permit to play on this field. Violators are subject to police action.” Well, damn, that sounds like a pretty clear attempt to tell Spanish speakers to take their filthy niños elsewhere, doesn’t it? Or as “DelawareDem” on Daily Kos put it,
It is an obvious intimidation tactic and a not so subtle “Whites Only” sign.
So if you are a white English speaking “American,” you can play here at your own risk so long as you have a parent or guardian watching. If you are brown, if you dare play here without a permit we will arrest your immigrant ass. That is the fucking height of racism, and I will see to it that who ever is responsible for this sign will have their public careers ended immediately.
Which is a sentiment we can get behind, though hahaha at the notion that pissed-off lefty bloggers can immediately get a government employee fired. That power is reserved for Dead Andrew Breitbart, silly!
Happily (and after the inevitable claims that the sign was a photoshop, because pixels), it turns out that it’s more a case of somebody — no telling who — installing the wrong sign in the wrong place, because there actually are places in Milford where the same warning is displayed in English and Spanish, and where it’s appropriate to tell people they need a permit: School athletic fields.
After becoming aware of the disparity, Milford School Superindentent Phyllis Kohel took immediate action; she and her husband removed the signs themselves yesterday. The signs will presumably be replaced with Spanish versions of the ass-covering play-at-your-own-risk text.
So instead of being suspiciously similar to the voter notifications in Arizona that had the wrong date for the election on the Spanish side of the card, this turns out to be a lot more like the road sign in Wales a few years ago where the city emailed some text to be translated into Welsh, dutifully put the translator’s reply on the sign, and ended up with this mess:
(Fortunately, we hear that they’ve gotten almost all the eels out of their hovercraft. Truly, our nipples explode with delight.)
Now of course, there’s still some of your cultural insensitivity going on here — no actual Spanish-speaking human beings having input on the signs — but isn’t it nice to discover that some offenses to basic decency are the result of sheer boneheaded ignorance instead of an overt attempt to discriminate? Some days in U.S. America, you have to take what you can get.