Reader Michelle submitted this example today–apparently Nestle Australia sells a raspberry flavored candy called “redsk*ns”.
According to all-knowing Wikipedia,
“In 1996, a complaint was made to the New Zealand Advertising Standards Complaints Board about a Redskins advertisement aired on New Zealand television. The advertisement featured comedian Mark Wright dressed in American Indian clothing and assuming an accent. A mock drumbeat featured on the soundtrack. Despite protest from Nestlé New Zealand that the advertisement was inoffensive, the Board upheld the complaint.
Redskin packaging formerly featured a photo of a Native American wearing a traditional headdress. This was replaced in the late 1990s by a more neutral red character.”
Here’s one of the earlier packages, sorry for the quality:
Prettttty clear this was meant to reference Natives.
But when Michelle confronted the company on Twitter about their continued use of the name (albeit without the imagery)?
I’ll type that out for you (asterisk mine): “RED SK*NS are raspberry flavoured. Raspberries are red. Hence the name. They are made to be enjoyed by all races. :)” Riiiiight. Say it with me: revisionist history.
Interesting to note: If Nestle applied for the trademark on the candy today in the US, they would be denied, even if they were only referencing the color of raspberries. Progress?
If you feel like contacting Nestle, you can tweet at them @Nestle or @Nestlecares, or hit them up on their contact form here.
Random appropriations are meant to point out how stereotypical imagery of Natives is ubiquitous in the world around us. Some of these may not be the *most* offensive thing in the world, but the point is to see how these small, seemingly random products, advertising, and images add up to create the harmful stereotypes of Native peoples we know today. See all the previous Random Appropriations of the Day here.