‘Racist’ merchandise sparks Albuquerque gift shop quarrel

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A cellphone video shot in an Albuquerque gift shop is getting a lot of attention. It shows a woman confronting the clerk, accusing her of selling racist souvenirs. It also shows the clerk making a bad joke in return.

“Are you (expletive) kidding me!?”

The frustration is clear within the first few seconds. A woman, who according to one website belongs to the Lakota tribe, noticed a headdress on display inside the Mercado gift shop at the Hyatt in downtown Albuquerque last week. She ripped it off its stand.

“I do not know about all this,” she can be heard saying.

From there, she made her way to the counter.

“I’m coming to bring this to you. I don’t appreciate seeing any of (expletive) here.”

The woman then pointed out more headdresses hanging on a wall.

“I do not want any of those up on that wall. If I could grab them I would take them down, too. This is disgusting, this is disgusting. This is a part of my people’s heritage.”

The clerk tried jumping in.

“This is made by a Navajo,” she said.

Unfazed, the woman also pointed out a couple of T-shirts on display.

“ ‘My Indian name is Runs with Beer?’ Are you serious?” she asked the clerk. “And you’re offended?”

“Yes, I’m offended,” the clerk replied.

Then, things reached a boiling point.

“You’re living on our land,” the woman said. “That’s (sic) our people’s things.”

“Hey, you lost the war, friend,” the clerk said to her. “I’m sorry.”

That sparked reaction from other shoppers.

KRQE News 13 stopped by the gift shop to see if there was anything else we should know about. KRQE News 13 ran into that clerk from the video. She didn’t want to go on camera but she said once the video stopped, the confrontation kept going. The clerk said a man later jumped in and threatened to beat her up.

The store has since pulled some of the T-shirts the woman wasn’t happy with. The clerk said the headdress, with an $800 price tag, was damaged by the woman. She told KRQE News 13 the store won’t charge the woman for damaging it.

Across social media people are choosing sides. Some are saying the items are obnoxious, some are saying the clerk’s war joke was obnoxious and some are saying the woman who complained was obnoxious.

KRQE News 13 tried reaching out to the woman who took the video but didn’t hear back. She was in Albuquerque for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium down the street at the convention center.

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