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Outrage in Delaware (FINAL UPDATE: A HAPPY ENDING)

Go the final update below for an important update to this story.


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This picture is from a Milford, Delaware playground.  Milford is in Southern Delaware in the very conservative Sussex County.  I originally saw this picture on Facebook, from a liberal friend downstate, who was sharing it via an original posting of the very nonliberal Dan Gaffney, a conservative talk show radio host.   It is nice to know that the outrage concerning this photo is bipartisan.  And what is so outrageous about it, you ask?

Well, you can read what it says in English.   In Spanish it says (paraphrasing) "You have to have a permit to play here or you will be arrested."    The english version contains no information about needing a permit or else you will be subject to police action.   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.  

Make this go viral.  

4:57 PM PT: There are some who arguing that this is a photoshop.  I have spoken to people who have seen the sign, so I am confident it is not.  However, I will be driving down to the park in Milford, DE in the early morning to photograph it for myself to prove to the doubters that this racism is in fact real.  

Update 2: Dan Gaffney, the conservative radio talk show host, has himself taken a whole bunch of new pictures to dispel the crazy and insane photoshop conspiracy theory.   Here they are:

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The sign is real folks, now stop wasting your energy on conspiracy. But if you are still a doubter, the address is LuLu Ross Elementary School, 310 Lovers Lane, Milford, DE.   Have fun.  

Update 3:

A friend of mine just toured all the schools in the City of Milford.  There are three parks/playgrounds at or near the Lulu Ross Elementary School and the new Misspillion school (which are adjacent to each other), and there are multiple offending signs there.  This section on the South side of town is home to many Latino families.   Indeed, it can be called the Latino section of the town.   At other schools and parks in Milford, in the more predominantly white part of town, there are no signs.   So this just gets worse and worse, and there is no mistaking the intent.  This is not a mistake in translation.  This is not a photoshop.  This is real.  

Here are more photos:

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Update 4:  In the last picture above you see a different sign.  Both the English and Spanish version are white signs, and they both say the same thing.   "You need a permit to play on this field.  Violators will be subject to police action."    The question remains why the yellow signs do not have the same warning in English.   A mistake made by downstaters who don't speak spanish?  Or something more intentional?   Either way, the yellow signs have to be taken down.

FINAL UPDATE:      The paper of record in Delaware, the Wilmington News Journal, finally has a story up on this sign saga:

For the last year, signs at two Milford SchoolDistrict playgrounds tell English readers that adult supervision is required to use the facility, along with a warning to play at their own risk.

Spanish readers get a much stricter message. They are told they need permission to use the facilities – and that they could be subject to police action if they don’t have permission.

“It’s very intimidating and very threatening,” Lewes resident Margaret Reyes said.

Dan Gaffney, a talk-show host at WXDE radio, noticed the signs Saturday and realized the two messages were very different, even though he doesn’t speak Spanish. [...]

Today, Milford School District Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Kohel learned of the signs. She told her husband to grab his tools so they could immediately remove them. They were in the process of doing so this afternoon.

“I didn’t want to wait,” Kohel said.

Kohel said there are signs at the school district’s middle school and high school that tell visitors in English and Spanish that they need permission to use the facilities or could be subject to police action.

She said she doesn’t know why that message was only put in Spanish at the elementary schools. Kohel said the signs have been up for about a year. Kohel started as superintendent this school year, after the signs were installed.

“I certainly assume there was not an intent to discriminate,” Kohel said. “We have a great working relationship with all of the communities at the school, and there is absolutely an understanding that no ethnic group will be discriminated upon.”

So good on the Superintendent for taking action and taking down the signs.  I hope this incident sparks other towns and cities to review their own bilingual signs to make sure they are saying the same thing rather than offering discriminatory messages.