Random Appropriation of the Day: Nestle Redsk*ns

In random appropriation by Adrienne K.8 Comments

redskins candy1

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.[1]

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:

redskins-candy

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)?

nestle australia tweets

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.

Others have caught this before me, Rob at Newspaper Rock/Bluecorn Comics and Different Together has a post from 2012 on the candy too.

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.

(Thanks Michelle!)

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.

  • Gabriele Bianchetti

    Also, Native people are represented as things to eat.

    A ‘Caucasian American’ candy would seem strange to me…

    • LittleBigBot

      Crackers?

    • http://marmota-b.blogspot.com Hana – Marmota

      An excellent point! Substitution is always a good indicator whether it’s offensive or not… although sometimes it’s hard to drive home the point because there are never so many offensive variant names for the dominant culture, so excuses can always be made that the word used does not actually mean…
      (Me and my mother recently had this sort of discussion with a friend in our Czech context, which was where I realised the above. In our case, it’s possible Jewish ancestry – which may be more of a “Cherokee princess” thing, to the best of my knowledge, but does make another argument to pull at a clueless friend… how on earth should I deal with appropriation in such a situation, where I can actually use it to promote more respect? 😛
      Time to explain myself, I guess. Czech student of English and American studies here. Grateful to be able to read this blog because reading about Natives as *people* is possibly even less usual on our side of the pond. And it gives me the sort of general insight demonstrated above.)

      • http://marmota-b.blogspot.com Hana – Marmota

        Continuing on that thought, I realised I hadn’t liked Native Appropriations on Facebook yet, remedied it and found out a friend from school likes it as well. You’ve got at least two Czech readers, Adrienne.

        • Gabriele Bianchetti

          Also, an Italian one!
          :)

  • Ellen Fleischer

    *Shakes head* I’ll be honest: if it was peanuts, out of the shell, with the red papery bit still on, I might think (and as a non-Native, it would likely by my privilege talking) that this was a nitpick.After all, there is a case to be made for the name coming from the color of the papery bit. But raspberry candy? Especially with that packaging? *boggles* Who thought that was a good idea?

    So glad you’re keeping this blog going.

  • Tirotiro

    Hi Adrienne – in addition to the red skins lollies here in Aotearoa NZ, we also have Eskimo candy and Eskimo pies (chocolate covered icecream). An Inuit visitor to NZ made a complaint in 2009 – but the lollies and icecream names remain unchanged :-(
    Check out:

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/2348856/Eskimos-to-stay-maker-says

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10567712

    and

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10567726#comment-form

    eskimo lollies:

  • http://kadinamoda.com/ KadinaModa