As long as white people are still privileged. Because that’s what “diversity” means.
Assuming, of course, that “everyone” means “white English speakers.”
Chinese people have resided in Flushing for more than thirty years. In Census Tract 865, where New York Mart replaced Key Food, 70 percent of the population is of Asian descent (2005-2009 Community Survey, interactive map here). Seven percent are Latinos, African Americans are one percent, white people are twenty-one percent and the final one percent is “other.” According to the 2000 Census, 75.9 percent speak a language other than English, 72 percent don’t speak English very well and 73.2 percent were born outside of the United States (source).
Chinese, Korean and Indian people appear to be three major groups of Asian descent in Queens. (Could not find more exact data.) So exactly who feels “unwelcome” by Asian food stores and businesses and non-English signs?
“When you have a sign that’s only in Chinese or Korean, that’s very offensive. It says, ‘You shouldn’t come here.’ … You can have another language smaller than the English, but you can’t have these big Asian signs only.”
That’s James Trikas, described as “a community leader and member of the advisory board.”
The article that quotes Trikas also notes as follows:
Many community members say it is imperative that all signs be written predominately in English, as it is a safety hazard as well as an inconvenience for shoppers and residents to have only other languages on important signs.
Who is the “you” that is being offended by the Chinese or Korean signs? And who are the “many community members” and the “shoppers and residents” who find the non-English language signs an inconvenience?
Are Korean people complaining about Chinese signs? Are Chinese people complaining about Korean signs? Are the Chinese signs offensive to Chinese people, indicating that they aren’t wanted in the stores? What about the English signs?
Since that census tract is 70 percent Asian, it appears “many community members” may find it convenient for signs to be in “Asian.”
It becomes clear that when people like Mary Ann Boroz asks “How can we accommodate everybody?” she has a very specific “everybody” in mind. Boroz has previously mentioned that she doesn’t shop in downtown Flushing anymore. It appeared she had not been making regular visits to New York Mart, despite its addition of a deli.
The sign war has been raging for some time. In 2004, City Councilman John Liu conducted a study of Flushing’s commercial signage. It found that out “of 293 businesses in the area, 83 percent are identified by exterior signage containing English which accurately describes the products or services of that business, 12 percent had exterior signage containing English that was not descriptive of the business, and 5 percent had no English on their sign.”
83 percent sounds like plenty of “diversity” to me.
Edited to add links:
A short video of the New World Mall food court (Nothing for your white folks here!)