A North Carolina Mexican restaurant is taking heat over two statues of snoozing Latinos outside the eatery that some say perpetuate racist stereotypes.
Local residents are petitioning the owners of Hot Taco, which just opened its doors last week in Charlotte, to remove the two statues of the sleeping mustachioed men wearing sombreros placed at the eatery's front entrance.
— Lamont Lilly (@LamontLilly) September 21, 2015
“This particular image of the dozing Mexican – the quote unquote lazy Mexican – you know is probably one of the most of the popular images, derogatory images for Latino culture,” Charlotte resident Amalia Deloney, told the Charlotte Observer. “This is something I was certain, you know, had been dealt with. You know I didn’t expect to see it in 2015. I didn’t expect to see it in front of a restaurant so prominently displayed.”
Deloney, who is originally from Guatemala, has since started a petition, calling on Hot Taco to remove the “racist” statues, calling them “the work of deliberate prejudice, ignorance, and a complete lack of historical knowledge of Latinos, Mexicans in particular.”
“I’m Latina. I love Charlotte. Like most people, I want to feel like this is home and I belong. And in so many ways I do,” said Deloney, who moved to the Southern city three years ago. “Which is why it was so shocking and disturbing when I saw the statues in front of Hot Taco because it’s completely antithetical to my entire experience in Charlotte.”
Deloney started the petition four days ago and has since garnered over 160 signatures out of 200 requested.
Opinions of the statues are mixed. Many support Deloney and her petition, saying there are plenty of iconic Mexican images that could be used without calling offense.
Others see no problem with a Mexican restaurant using Mexican people to represent itself.
“It definitely wouldn’t stop me from going there,” Charlotte resident Christian Leon told the Observer. “I don’t think they’re particularly offensive. I’m Hispanic. I think it’s just a Mexican restaurant and it’s a statue. But I understand why people might get offended.
FoxNews.com reached out to Hot Taco and a restaurant employee said the eatery was planning to issue a statement regarding the statues later today.