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Is This Historical Sign Racist or Just Part of American History?

There are two trains of thought on displaying America’s historically racist trinkets and statues—well, a lot more, but the main ones are: racist symbols are a part of our shared song and we shouldn’t shy away from them, or fuck that, don’t nobody wanna look at that racist shit while I’m walking in the park/eating lunch/living life.

And fitting right in neatly into this paradigm is a Lubbock, Texas, restaurant staunchly defending a sign (it’s always staunchly isn’t it?) that clearly shows a black caricature with the words “Coon Chicken Inn” written inside of its glowing neon oversized lips.

This week, an individual attending a company Christmas party held at Cook’s Garage in Lubbock, noticed the glowing sign hanging on the wall. The person posted the photos on Facebook and the owners of Cook’s responded—in staunch defense of the sign—saying that such images are “part of Americana history” and not meant to offend. Actually, a lot of these racist signs go for a lot of money, they note!

“Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters. The Coon Chicken Inn was an actual restaurant started in the 20’s. Again, we want to stress we do not intend to offend anyone, and are only preserving a part of history that should remind us all of the senselessness of racial prejudice.”

KCBD reports that Cook’s Garage has been open since April 2017, and started as a white “man cave” with a showroom for collected vehicles which expanded to include signs.

It also reports that Coon’s Chicken Inn was real too:

The Coon Chicken Inn was a highly successful restaurant chain from the late 1920s through the 1950s. A grinning, grotesque head of a bald Black man with a porter’s cap and winking eye formed a restaurant’s entryway. The door was through the middle of his mouth. The restaurants sold southern fried Coon Chicken sandwiches, chicken pie, livers — and hamburgers, seafood, chili, cakes, and assorted sandwiches. When possible, Blacks were used as waiters, waitresses, and cooks.

As for that first dichotomy, three guesses as to who wants to live in peace versus “preserve history.”

source: the root

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