Why a “relaxed human connection” doesn’t make up for a racist name

Announced via email to a group of us this afternoon and posted on the company’s blog, Pete Turner states that he is not changing the name of restaurant.

In reading his lengthy response, I’m particularly offended by the ways this letter completely disregards the meaningful dialogue we engaged in last month. This is not a name that “celebrates individuality and relaxed human connection.”

Below is the response I sent back to Mr. Turner today. If you are in Tucson and interested in helping as the next restaurant prepares to open there, please get in touch.


Thank you for your letter. I am disappointed in your decision.

In hearing your detailed, humane choices as a business owner, I am surprised to hear that the ways your name affects entire communities within Colorado (and in future locations) is not a consideration for you.

I should add the quality of your business practices was never something I questioned; the mission of your restaurant has been clearly delineated both online and in our meeting last month. It is this point, in fact, that makes your letter such a disappointment: despite all of the fantastic business practices, you continue to ignore the very real and hurtful experiences that your restaurant’s name will cause.

I share with you the fact that I, too, lost my father several years ago to a form of leukemia. It is in his honor that I must continue to advocate for others to not patronize your business. His work as a member of a socially conscious teatro – performing throughout California and Mexico including to migrant farm-workers – instilled in me a need to advocate for and push on civil rights issues around me.

I had hoped that the community of Fort Collins could wholly reflect an inclusive environment and one in which my family and I would see our cultural history valued. Sadly, you have made this not the case.

Again, the positive aspects of your business were never in question – I did not need to read six pages to know the identity, the human capital, and the passion of your restaurant were important to you. It only took one paragraph to know that a large sector of your clientele are not. I had hoped your restaurant would  be a space that is inclusive of the communities it will inhabit.

I look forward to continuing this dialogue as we continue to organize around your next location in Tucson.


7 thoughts on “Why a “relaxed human connection” doesn’t make up for a racist name

  1. Ed Vernon

    I will not be eating at Pete’s….neither will my friends….and family….and anyone else I can convince that this is not a restaurant for inclusive people

  2. Chad Weikel


    Thank you thank you THANK YOU!!!

    You have given me the gift of entertainment for the last couple weeks.

    You can level with us now – this was all a joke right?

    Fighting for social justice isn’t even close to a joking matter – but that’s what makes this stunt of yours sooooooooooooo funny!! The joke is that you’re putting such earnest work into trying to harm a small local business that does nothing but serve damn good burritos (don’t forget the nachos) and gives back to our community in countless ways.

    Everyone thinks you’re serious! I think only a handful of us are in on the joke. Obviously you’re joking. … …. right? Oh god. Please tell me you’re joking.

    Antero – have you considered that your efforts are having the exact opposite effect?? When you brag about your stunt being picked up by national media – you DO understand that all that publicity only helps Illegal Pete’s?

    Passionate. Ideological. Good things to be. Practical is also a good thing.

    Look – I hope you don’t give up. I love Illegal Pete’s and want them to get all the free publicity you want to throw at them.

    Unfortunately, the news cycle has moved on. You had your 15. Bask in it. But – don’t chase it.

    You’re a smart dude. Put that to something worthwhile – and let this little stunt (although funny as hell) go.


  3. Jim

    Very disappointing. Again, I’m so glad you’re sticking to your “g-word”s on this. I only hope that I can have the same strength as I embark on my campaign against “C-word” Barrel. I can tell that you recognize, just like I do, that the righteousness of a cause sometimes justifies a tenacious and narrow-minded audacity, and you have proven that you are up to the task. I fully expect to get a similar letter from “C-word” Barrel. I feel like I can use your response as a template for my own. I’m starting to feel like I might not have your strength to carry this out though. For instance, I’m not sure I can be as rudely dismissive of the owner’s hard work, history of community involvement, excellent history of employee treatment, and general good will, but I will try. As you and I both know, what’s more important than all of that is our hurt feelings. To stress this point, we need to remind people, as you do, that our hurt feelings represent the hurt feelings of an entire community, even if there’s no evidence to support this claim. I will keep this in mind.

    You’ve also taught me an important lesson about dialogue. As social justice warriors, we know that meaningful dialogue is pretty much the highest achievement attainable. But this episode has taught you and I that meaningful dialogue becomes meaningless if we don’t get the exact result we want. What’s more, the dialogue in your case may have even galvanized support for the oppressor from the uneducated racists of Ft. Collins. This is something I will keep in mind when deciding which avenue to pursue in my own battle. You have inspired once again. Good luck in Tucson.

  4. Tansy


    How do you respond to the fact that the public thinks this whole protest is misplaced and ridiculous?


    Don’t you think you’re doing more harm for your cause than good? It’s sad, because most of the people commenting against this protest would normally be on board with a movement that wants to abolish dehumanizing language in a racial context.

  5. AnAmerican

    Thank you for your commitment to not melt into the melting pot of America. I can now go to a restaurant and not have to worry about having your ill-mannered children screaming and upsetting my wife. I can find a parking space without having your fancy cars parked in front of the driveway and blocking access. I won’t have to listen to loud, obnoxious polka music blaring across the parking lot. And I won’t have to press 1 for the language of my OWN FREAKING COUNTRY.

  6. Michael

    He’s been in business under that name for 20 years. Why are people just now complaining about the name? If you find it so offensive, just don’t eat there. Trying to force someone to change a name that they’ve built a business around for 20 years is ridiculous.

  7. josey theplummer

    You people are all nuts if you think this name is offensive. Next thing you guys are going to be protesting is the arrest of the bank robbers because they are doing something”illegal “.

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