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I studied Basic in high school and this Vito guy says he won't hire me as a programmer on a $100K salary only because I don't know Java? Who does he think he is? Godfather?
People's Kommissar :
Peter Bloom, founder of Juntos, a Hispanic neighborhood organization, knows what's best for the unwashed immigrant masses: don't learn English, stay down, don't succeed - you'll gain more by stalking businesses, harassing capitalists, and extorting privileges from politicians. You call it "racketeering," we call it "positive social change."
"Their xenophobic practice of hiring only Java developers violates the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans businesses from discriminating on the basis of nationality or ethnicity," said Rachel Lawton of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, an agency that enforces the city's anti-discrimination laws.
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"How can Java be discriminatory?" says Java Systems' owner Joseph Vito, 45, himself the son of Italian immigrants. "It's a cross-platform language that allows a better integration of various systems," he told the People's Cube. "It's true that my parents didn't know Java, but they struggled hard to give me a chance to learn it. So I don't see why any job applicant shouldn't learn Java. We're out to help these people, but they've got to help themselves, too."
Latino groups, angered by Java Systems' racist practices, remain unconvinced. "That policy has really upset a lot of a people," said Jose Sanchez of Day Without A Mexican Programmer, a coalition that had shaken the foundation of US software industry in May.
"What does Gringo know about Java?" said Roberto Santiago, executive director of the city's Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations. "Everybody knows that Java comes from Colombia!" In response to his criticism Mr. Santiago has already received around 50 "hate" e-mails from right-wing software developers calling him a "ninny."
"This is dividing this nation," Mr. Santiago sighed. "I'm really saddened by these programmers who are upset by having to be tolerant. I'm glad I'm living in an America where companies like Java Systems are going out of business."
A group of progressive software developers in California have risen in Mr. Santiago's defense. "What do those Philadelphia hacks know about Java anyway?" says Matt Cutts of California. I'll have a Mexican Linux any day over that gooey, greasy Java out of Philly."
If the agency determines Java Systems has violated the city ordinance, the company will be ordered to implement hiring quotas that reflect a mix of local population. "We would like to see at least 20% of developers with some skills in Basic," Lawton said before the official filing. "About 15% of Perl, another 15% in Python, and 10% in PHP. The remainder can be split between Java and COBOL." If the company refuses to comply, it will face a $300,000 fine.
"We're a Java shop," Mr. Vito stood his ground. "If you don't know Java, our code means nothing to you, regardless of your race or ethnicity. What will a PHP or a Perl developer do here?"
Juntos, a Hispanic neighborhood organization, said it plans to send people to Java Systems to try to apply for a job in Spanish and may pursue court action, depending on what happens. "His parents encountered the same racism and the same xenophobia," said Peter Bloom, the group's director. "So for the sake of equal partnership and understanding between people we're going to shut his place down."
Customers using Java products on a recent morning seemed unfazed. Angelica Marquez, 22 and originally from Puerto Rico, runs Java applets on her PC, but said some of her relatives struggle with computers. "They smash a monitor with a baseball bat every time it shows an alert box that says 'you have performed an illegal operation' and then they call me and ask 'How did it know? How did it know?'" Marquez said, adding that she would rather stay away from a computer program if those relatives should ever be hired to write it.
Competitors are seizing on the controversy. Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, creators of the Flying Toaster series and currently running MoveOn.org, issued a statement saying it welcomes all programmers "whether or not they know beans about Java" as long as they vote Al Gore in 2008.