The Spanish Postal Service is feeling a backlash in its efforts to highlight racial inequality. The company released four postage stamps in different skin tones this week. The darker the stamp, the lower the price. Correos / AP Hide caption
Correos / AP
Correos / AP
MADRID – Spain’s postal service is feeling a backlash from its attempt to highlight racial inequality.
State-owned Correos España this week issued four postage stamps in different skin tones. The darker the stamp, the lower the price. The lightest color costs 1.60 euros. The darkest costs 0.70 euros.
The postal service calls them “Equality Stamps” and presented them on the occasion of the anniversary that George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. It was said that the stamps “reflect an unfair and painful reality that should not be allowed” and that any letter or package sent with them would “send a message against racial inequality”.
The campaign was launched during European Diversity Month in collaboration with the Spanish SOS Racism Federation, a non-profit group, and featured a 60-second video with Spanish hip-hop star and activist El Chojín.
While Correos España’s goal was to “shed light on racial inequality and promote diversity, inclusion and equality,” critics accuse the company of listening to racial issues and misinterpreting the mood of black people in Spain.
Antumi Toasijé, a historian who heads the government council to eradicate racial or ethnic discrimination, called on the postal service to stop selling the stamps.
“A campaign that outrages those it claims to defend is always a mistake,” he tweeted.
The main focus of public criticism has been that the darker postage stamps have a lower value, giving the impression that light skin tone is worth more.
Moha Gerehou, a 28-year-old Spanish author and former president of SOS Racismo Madrid, said this was “an insurmountable contradiction”.
“Ultimately, an anti-racism campaign sent a clearly racist message,” Gerehou told the Associated Press on Friday.
He put the controversy in the context of what he sees as structural racism in Spain, which is often not recognized, but is recognizable in relation to commercial advertising, the Spanish language and access to housing, among other things. “It’s all connected,” he said.
Correos España said it would not comment on the controversy.
The initiative of the postal service has divided Spanish anti-racism activists. While the SOS National Racism Federation supported this, the Madrid section of the organization despised the effort.
SOS Racismo Madrid said the campaign was helping to hide the structural nature of racism and perpetuating the notion of black inferiority.
Any racially conscious person would have figured out what was wrong with the campaign, and the mistake demonstrated the need for racially conscious individuals in decision-making positions in companies.
The campaign was also criticized on social media.
This is not the first time the Spanish Postal Service has tried to make a statement on social issues. Last June, on the occasion of LGBT Pride Month, a special stamp was issued and its delivery boxes and mailboxes were painted in rainbow colors.