In Knox County, Tennessee, the beginnings of a backlash against the downgrading of English have started. Knox County Commissioner Mike Brown said last week he is in favor of prohibiting non-English speakers from holding a beer permit.
Brown, who annually helps build a Habitat for Humanity home and was a disaster relief volunteer after hurricanes in South Louisiana, Mississippi coast, and North Carolina, has had enough of English being treated the same as other languages.
After being told by Knox County Law Director Joe Jarret that they could not enforce that policy, Brown cheerfully riposted, “I guess it’s a moot point, but I can vote my feelings. That will be my horn to toot.” Then he added that he hoped that “people get mad enough to get our state law changed.”
Commission Chairman Mike Hammond was clear about contravening Brown, noting that the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission will grant an interpreter for non-English speakers who are looking for a beer permit:
“I feel like we need to follow the law, and if the law says you don’t have to speak English and if there’s an interpreter who is interpreting correctly, then we cannot deny a person a beer license. I want to follow the law. I don’t want us to get into a situation where we’re putting the county at risk because we feel a certain way.”