Crayola’s efforts to dismantle racism

This post was originally published at Racialicious on June 6, 2006.

by Usha (a new guest contributor!)
crayola multicultural crayonsI spotted a product placement blog entry for Crayola®’s multicultural markers on Blogging Baby. Come to find that Crayola® actually unveiled its multicultural line back in 1992.

Crayola® describes its multicultural line as “an assortment of ethnic-sensitive color palette.” The new crayons come “in an assortment of skin hues that give a child a realistic palette for coloring their world.” The 8 different crayon colors are black, sepia, peach, apricot, white, tan, mahogany, and burnt sienna.

Looks like Crayola® hung on to “peach” (euphemism for white). On its website detailing crayon chronology, Crayola® says “peach” was changed from “flesh” in 1962, “partially” as a result of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Interesting that the Civil Rights Movement resulted in a name-change only, but not broader spectrum of skin tone hues.

However, peach is ditched (or its name is changed to “golden beige”?) in the Crayola® Multicultural Marker Classpack which includes 10 markers each of: golden beige, beige, tan, tawny, bronze, terra cotta, mahogany and sienna PLUS a lesson plan.

Perhaps the day will come when the fact that the variety of skin tone colors that are already included in mainstream boxes of Crayola® crayons of 64 colors will suffice, instead of being set apart in its own multicultural, sold separately, “ethnically sensitive” product packages, some of which are currently out of stock. Will a multicultural line of Band-Aid® strips be next?

band aid comfort flex clearRight now, the idea seems to be the stuff of fiction.

(Note from CVK: Well, actually Band-Aid does now offer the Comfort-Flex Clear option. The description: “Blends with skin. See through bandage for protection that’s less noticeable.” I’m pretty sure I’ve seen an ad for this product in an African-American publication, where the “blending with skin” bit was emphasized. Does anyone else remember seeing this?)

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