No Taste Campaign

The Story is, in short, as proud as anyone can be of his or her nationality, we are not very happy with this offensive name of the place. A name like ‘No Black!’ or ‘No White!’ would have had no place in this country. Then why should we have to tolerate a name like ‘No Thai!’? This is an act of racism, in the country, or better yet, the town that promises equality of all people regardless to their sex, race, or skin color. In the difficult
time of proposal 2, we were assured that minority like us could still work, live, play, and learn harmoniously at the University of Michigan with President Mary Sue Coleman stating that Diversity Matters at Michigan*. We had a meeting with ‘No Thai!’ staff. They claimed that we overreacted because we had removed the context out of the name.

What context?

So they said they didn’t want an old-fashion corny name for a Thai restaurant, hence no elephants, no lotus, no Siam. Since the head chef’s name is Noerung, they decided to take the first syllable of that name, put it together with ‘Thai’, and an exclamation mark!? Though no intentions of harm (really?), we think it’s fair to say that it is a very insensitive marketing gimmick and a lack of taste.

Our rebuttals

- Why dropping the ‘E’ if they decided to go with the first syllable of NoeRung? Adding an exclamation mark would not have been so bad if it had spelled ‘Noe Thai!’.

- It is obvious that it is impossible for anyone seeing the sign ‘No thai!’ to have an immediate knowledge of the context without them putting the context within the sign. A number of suggestions were made (e.g. ‘Know Thai!’, ‘No’s Thai!’, or even ‘No Thai!: by Mr.No’), all were ignored. Yes, they offered to put up a letter “INSIDE” the restaurant. That still would not fix this problem since people should be able to instantly identify the context if that was their only justification to name the place with such name.

Being a Thai person or not, we all should not take racism as acceptable. All of us have an obligation to stand up and stop this racism that is taking place right now. Please come together and spread the words, soon words will turn into actions.
With many thanks from us,

YES (we are) Thai!

* “Diversity Matters at Michigan”, President Mary Sue Coleman’s remarks on the approval of proposal 2 on November 8th, 2006.

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