Editorial: Race issues surface again in Rapid City

"Rapid City business owners found themselves in the middle of a festering issue in Rapid City and the Black Hills — racism — when they decided to put on their shelves a ceramic bottle holder that depicted a Native American holding the bottle to his mouth.

Earlier this week the figure was brought to the attention of Native American groups who quickly called it offensive and asked for its removal from the stores shelves.

It was removed immediately after the concerns were raised.

The business owners certainly deserve a nod for reacting so quickly — willing to take a financial loss on the product to avoid offending the area’s largest minority group. But having the item in the first place makes us wonder: what were they thinking?

We know that in some parts of the country, even the state, the bottle holder wouldn’t have raised even an eyebrow.

But here it does.

Rapid City has a history of dealing with race issues. While the bottle holder certainly wasn’t intentionally offensive, it does bring back old stereotypes and has no place in the community."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Souvenir item refuels race talk (The Rapid City Journal 7/16)

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