Social media hell is full of good intentions, Spain Post confirmed last week. The reason for this was a packet of stamps launched “to combat racism”, in which the lighter the skin tone, the more expensive the product.
The black fur stamp sold for € 0.70, less than half of the € 1.60 charged for white fur. The intermediate shades had prices of 0.80 (brown) and 1.50 (dark beige), respectively.
The difference was deliberate. According to Correios, the aim was to “show a reality that shouldn’t exist”. “A collection that reflects the unjust and painful reality that millions of people face every day,” says the launch campaign.
The result, however, couldn’t be further from it: In addition to receiving vehement criticism from anti-racist activists, the campaign fueled a wave of prejudiced messages on social media. In a matter of days, more than 26,000 people sent the card launching mail.
There are even spades left for rapper El Chojín, activist and songwriter like “Rap against Racism,” who starred in the label’s social media campaign. In the video, he explains that the citizen would need “more black stamps than white stamps for their delivery”. “In this way, every letter and every package will be a reflection of the inequality generated by racism – a protest.”
“A campaign which anger those it claims to defend is always a mistake,” wrote Antumi Toasije, chairman of the Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination. For Moha Gerehou, former president of SOS Racism in Madrid, the video of El Chojín makes the intention clear, but the campaign has an irreparable fundamental flaw: “What transcends is that blacks are worth less than whites”.
The company did not respond to reviews, but the stamps disappeared from its online store within a week of launch. The press release in which the initiative was announced, in partnership with the SOS Racism Federation of Spain, is no longer accessible on its website.
The entity issued an apology on Monday (31), in which it said the message on the stamp card was “insufficient and confusing”: “We wanted to make it clear that the structure of all states and their societies is racist, but we failed ”. SOS Racisme also specifies that the hate speech against non-whites triggered by the stamps “shows the urgency of a public debate on anti-racist strategies, in the short and medium term”.
For Gerehou, the adoption in Europe of the strategy of American companies to launch anti-racist campaigns is perhaps positive, but it hides dangers: “If the initiatives are not accompanied by profound changes, they are only useful. wash the image of the company ”.
He says that Correios or any other company, if they are serious about taking action against prejudice, must take concrete steps, such as reviewing the racial makeup of their teams, rethinking their selection and hiring practices and analyzing racial inequalities in the hierarchy of the company.