‘An absolute disaster’: Spanish post office in race row over equality stamps

The stamps were released to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd

Graham Keeley
Friday 28 May 2021 20:54
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<p>The set of four stamps to signify different skin-colored tones</p>

The set of four stamps to signify different skin-colored tones

Spain’s post office was mired in a racism row over a new stamp collection designed to raise awareness of prejudice against people of colour to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

Correos, the state-run postal service, was accused by anti-racism campaigners of reinforcing the idea that black lives were worth less than those of white people because of how the stamps were priced.

The Equality Stamps collection comes in different colours from light brown to black.

The light brown ones were the most expensive at €1.60 (£1.38) while the cheapest black ones cost €0.70.

“The darker the stamp, the less value it will have so when making a shipment it will be necessary to use more black stamps than white,” read the campaign slogan.

“In this way each letter and each shipment will be converted into a reflection of the inequality created by racism.”

However, Moha Gerehou, an author who has written about racism in Spain, said that though these stamps were a good idea they unconsciously transmitted the idea that black lives were worth less than white.

“The campaign has an insurmountable underlying problem: what comes out from this is that black stamps have less value than white ones,” he tweeted.

“What is transmitted and what remains is a huge contradiction: a campaign to show the equal value of our lives puts into circulation stamps with an unequal value according to colour. The message is an absolute disaster. It is racist.”

As the stamp images went viral on social media, @chuckiclampy tweeted that the campaign seemed like a bad marketing initiative from The Office, the television comedy series starring Ricky Gervais.

The initiative was supported by SOS Racismo, an anti-racism campaign group, and the well-known Spanish rapper El Chojin, who made the video for the campaign.

Correos said in a statement at the launch of the campaign that the stamps were designed to raise awareness of the “unjust and painful reality that millions of people face every day”.

It added that the Equality Stamps were intended to “help create consciousness about diversity, inclusion and the equality of rights”.

It is not the first time Correos has come under fire for offending political sensibilities.

Last June, when it painted its postboxes in the rainbow colours of the LGBT+ movement to mark Pride day, conservative critics said the state-run organisation should not make political points and should remain neutral.

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