Swedish paint firm accused of racism

paint againA teenager from Sweden has labelled a paint producer as racist for its insensitive naming of one of its products. The 14-year-old, named only as Thyra, says that by marketing beige as skin-colour the paint manufacturer has committed a blatant act of racism.

The girl has lodged a complaint with Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman) over the name of the paint produced by Universal Color and Chemicals. She told an Aftonbladet reporter that she had found the paint on sale at her school.

She continued by saying that using the label of skin-colour to describe it instead of beige was sick. She expounded with the claim that brown and black are also skin colours and that the branding should not be confined to beige only.

She finished off with the warning that by its naming standard, Universal was saying that beige was the normal skin colour for people. The teenager’s father has voiced support and said he believes the complaint to the ombudsman was in support of her sister who has brown skin.

The father did add that he thought Universal had accidentally caused the furore and not intentionally meant to be racist when naming the paint. He continued by saying the company’s workers had probably just looked in the mirror and named the paint colour to reflect what they saw.

A spokesperson for the girl’s school said that the racism complaint had encouraged students to discuss the issue of racism in society. Universal has so far not issued a statement concerning the allegations of racism.