Really!? This again!?

Welp, here we are again. Another day, another selective outrage, this time from a group in Tucson, AZ wanting to press its discrepancies upon the rest of the world. Pete Turner, owner of the Illegal Pete’s restaurant chain, a proud Colorado institution, is once more on the chopping block for his company's use of the word “illegal” in its name. What. Is. Going. On. Here?

This same name thing happened last year too, when Turner and his team were forced to defend the restaurant against a group in Fort Collins, CO wanting to take the “I-word” out of the popular Colorado brand. They likened it to hanging a Confederate Flag in the window, or just flat out calling black people the N-word while giggling ferociously into the tail end of a delicious Chicken Pesto burrito.

To the protestors in FoCo, there would be no grey line to agree to disagree on — just their side being right about a word meaning one thing, and that one thing only, while everyone else’s intentions be “proven” wrong. They would have liked to see the hard work and philanthropy of a businessman destroyed in lieu of someone else’s soft feelings.

So goes the story of today’s easily accessible world, though …

As of press time, more than 1,700 people have signed a petition titled “ILLEGAL PETE’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT: CHANGE NAME OR SHUT IT DOWN” — a mean spirited attempt to passive aggressively insult Turner, his team and anyone who plans on enjoying any one of his proven-delicious menu items in Arizona — affordable, delicious menu items.

“We are here to tell you that no longer will you be able to claim blissful ignorance and profit from racism,” the petition states. “We are here to tell you that you will no longer be able to continue under this hateful name. This letter is only the beginning.”

The bottom line here — and with any other similar argument online with a semblance to this topic — is that nobody can get into anyone else’s head and claim they can prove intention. Pete Turner didn’t intend to offend anyone in 2015 when he created his brand in 1995. You want to know how we know this? Because the word didn’t fucking exist as an "offensive" slur in 1995 — it was common nomenclature used to describe people doing illegal things. But then it adapted with the times, it evolved to its current incarnation and has now become one through over-sensitivity. All this is beside the point, however, because the Illegal Pete's name has nothing to do with what the controversy is trying to say it does. Just ask "Illegal Pete" himself.

“Illegal Pete’s logo and brand history illustrates the idea that Illegal Pete’s branding is not static; that it has grown and continues to grow as we grow,” Turner says on his website. “Just as the word ‘illegal’ has different definitions and meanings, so too does ‘Illegal Pete’s’ have many different iterations in its branding.”

Some, of course, disagree. The name wouldn’t be an issue if “Illegal Pete’s was an Italian restaurant or a French bistro,” says Laurie Roberts of the AZ Central. “But Pete is selling burritos and controversy.”

Roberts sees the problem from the petitioners’ perspective, but also wonders why they’re not focusing on other, more pressing issues rather than wasting time on a name.

“And I'd say that surely, there are more pressing issues than Illegal Pete’s to get riled about,” she writes. “Like potential abuses by the Border Patrol or profiling by certain sheriffs in this state. Like the abject refusal of Congress to reform that joke we call our immigration policy and to treat fairly the estimated 12 million to 20 million people who are living in the shadows, recognizing that many of them came here because our employers wanted them here and because our politicians for decades turned a blind eye.”

Touché … but what about this appropriation thing?

Where does this even come from? Illegal Pete’s serves up “Mission Style” fare, which is based loosely on the foods of San Francisco’s past, rooted in Mexican inspiration — something he was introduced to in his college years, he’s always said. So does every restaurant owner now have to supply a completed family tree to the state just to get genetic and visual pigment approval before selling food?

Let’s call Turner’s food what it is: Meximerican. It too has evolved, along with everything else since the dawn of time. Cultural exchange is a very real thing. This isn’t appropriation, this is simple adaptation.

Turner having to fight for the right to keep his restaurant’s name the way it is, is ridiculous. But seeing as how this is his first time venturing outside of Colorado lines, we understand that it’s going to be difficult in corralling “local” support for his chain in Tucson — because in the case of the Fort Collins drama, thousands took his side to prove just what an asset he is to the community. They made it known that he helps in big ways when he doesn’t have to. Pete Turner is a benefit any neighborhood should try to keep around.

Arizona, count your blessings. Colorado sure does …