CORTEZ, Colo. (KRQE) – The owner of a southern Colorado antique store is under fire. People are outraged over what they consider to be racist merchandise found inside her store.
Signs that read, “Colored Seated in Rear,” “We Serve Colored Carry Out Only,” and “Public Swimming Pool White Only.” These are the kind of signs that Cheryl Dean, owner of the Antique Corral in Cortez, Colorado, was selling in her store.
Along with the signs, there were also figurines of plantation and segregation-era caricatures. “I”ve had them off and on in my store. I bought them from a wholesaler,” said Dean.
Dean says she’s sold this kind of merchandise in her store for 15 years. But now, pictures of the items are gaining a lot of negative attention on social media. People are calling the merchandise racist and demanding Dean pull the items from her shelves.
Dean says people are blowing it out of proportion. “If you don’t like it, go away. I don’t get in your life,” said Dean.
KRQE News 13 asked Dean if she thinks her inventory is offensive. “Not at all, I mean there’s stores that sell black memorabilia,” said Dean.
While she was shopping for her store on Thursday, she found more figurines. She sent News 13 a photo of what she found, saying, “See, they’re everywhere!”
However, members of the University of New Mexico’s Africana Studies Department say just because they’re sold everywhere, doesn’t mean they’re appropriate.
“The more you perpetuate these kinds of images, the easier it is to justify the subordination of black populations in the United States,” said Dr. Sheryl Felecia Means.
Dean says her last two signs sold Wednesday after receiving all of the publicity online. She says she doesn’t plan to restock the signs because the wholesaler she bought them from no longer sells them.