Spain’s postal service has reacted negatively to efforts to highlight racial inequality.
Government-owned Correos España this week issued a collection of four stamps in different skin tones. The darker the stamp, the lower the price. The lightest color is 1.60 euros ($ 1.95). The darkest price is 0.70 euros ($ 0.85).
The Postal Service called them “equality stamps” and introduced them on the anniversary of the assassination of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. The article states that stamps “reflect an unjust and painful reality that should not be allowed” and that any letter or package sent with them “sends a message against racial inequality”.
The Black Life movement led to the largest anti-racism protests in Spain last year. But while many condemned the killing of black citizens by police in the United States, there was little public discourse that reflected domestic racism or the history of Spain’s own colonization and slavery. In a country where the census of race and ethnicity has not been asked, like many in Europe, a recent government study put the number of blacks in Spain at just over 700,000. The AP reported earlier this month.
The stamp campaign was launched in Europe Diversity Month in collaboration with the Spanish National Racist Federation SOS, a non-profit group, and featured a 60-second video of Spanish hip-hop star and activist El Choujin.
But while Correos España’s goal was to “promote racial inequality and promote diversity, inclusion and equal rights”, critics accuse the company of having a tin can for racial issues and misreading the feelings of blacks in Spain.
Anthony Toussaint, a historian who heads the State Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination, called on the postal service to stop selling stamps.
“A campaign in which the anger of those it claims is defending is always wrong,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Postal Services Initiative has divided Spanish anti-racist activists. While supported by the National Federation of Racism SOS, the Madrid section of the organization ignored this effort.
SOS Racismo Madrid said the campaign would help hide the structural nature of racism and perpetuate the concept of black inferiority.
The organization added that any racial awareness has identified what is wrong with the campaign, adding that this mistake proves the need for racially aware people in corporate decision-making situations.
The campaign was also criticized on social media.
Correos España said on Friday that it would not comment on the controversy.
This is not the first time the Spanish Postal Service has issued a statement on social issues. Last June, at the same time as LGBT Pride, it issued a special stamp and painted its delivery vans and mailboxes in rainbow colors.
This story was reported by the Associated Press.
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