The Local, November 10, 2013
A Swedish teenager has reported a paint manufacturer to the Equality Ombudsman accusing them of racism after labelling the beige paint as “skin colour.”
The 14-year old discovered the paint sold by Universal Color and Chemicals at school. She said that it was “sick” that the term ‘skin-colour’ was used to describe beige.
She has taken her complaint to the Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen) arguing that the term ‘skin colour’ is racist and has the backing of her family as well as her school.
“By renaming beige to skin colour they show that there is a whiteness norm in society,” Thyra,14, told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
She added; “It is completely sick that they just rename beige to skin colour when black and brown are also that.”
Her father said his daughter was motivated, in part, to take the motion to the Equality Ombudsman by her sister but added that he didn’t think the company had named the paints in a deliberately racist way.
“Her little sister has brown skin but according to the paint manufacturer she has no skin colour…I think (the company) just looked at themselves and imagined that’s what skin was,” he told the newspaper.
As a result of the teen’s report to the Equality Ombudsman the school have started a debate on racism.
Universal Color and Chemicals have yet to comment on the complaint.
Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman is a government agency which acts to stamp out discrimination and promote equal rights. It made the headlines in June when the government ordered it to relocate their headquarters to a north Stockholm suburb with a high concentration of immigrants.