No yobs aqui signs at Yuma business draw criticism
Associate Press
March 14, 2009


Tucson, Arizona | Published:


YUMA — A southwestern Arizona business is catching criticism for posting two signs telling Spanish speakers that there are “no yobs aqui.”

While “no aqui” is Spanish for “not here,” the word “yobs” is a joke about how some Spanish-speakers pronounce “jobs.” The English “j” does not occur at the beginning of words in Spanish, so some Spanish speakers soften it to a sound familiar to them, such as the “y.”

The real Spanish word for “job” is “trabajo” (trah-BAH’-ho).

Flash Sharrar, owner of Team Ramco in Yuma, said he placed two signs with the phrase outside his business because he got tired of having to turn away people looking for jobs.

An unemployment agency is behind his business, and Sharrar said people often get confused and think they can find jobs at his place.

“These people come into our shop like they own the place and then argue with me about getting a job,” he said. “I figured I would use their language to let them know there are no jobs here.”

Sharrar said he got the word “yobs” from popular Hispanic comedian Carlos Mencia, who used the word in a skit called “Get a Yob,” in which a man says, “I am a Mexican who barely speaks English, and I have five yobs.”

While Sharrar said he means no harm, some members of the Hispanic community say the signs are derogatory and offensive.

“It is an insult,” Yuma resident Juan Guerrero said. “I hope the intent is not to instigate a confrontation with the Hispanic community ... One thing is very clear, and I believe I speak for many in the community when I say we will not tolerate any racial harassment or discrimination of any kind.”

Two people called the Yuma Sun newspaper on Friday to complain about the signs, but Sharrar said he has no plans to take them down.

“It is my right because it is freedom of speech,” he said. “I don’t feel it is racist, I’m simply speaking to them in their own language. I mean, how can I be racist? I have three Hispanic grandchildren and one of my employees is Hispanic too.”

Sharrar said the signs have been up for a year, and have just recently started causing controversy.

“If I don’t leave up the signs the harassment won’t stop,” he said. “The harassment goes on all day long during the winter season, and I am not an information center.”

Sharrar is known in the community for organizing the Yuma Patriots, a civilian border watch group, and heading up Operation Troop Comfort, a program that gathers toiletries and other items for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.