I recently painted the interior of my house and if you’ve ever been paint shopping, you’re bound to notice the odd names of paint colors. But I’ve never come across anything as odd as the name “skin color”. Now who’s skin color are we actually talking about? That’s exactly the question a Swedish teenager asked when she noticed “skin color” was assigned to a beige hue of paint.
Thyra,14, whose last name wasn’t reported, said she discovered the paint sold by Universal Color and Chemicals at school.
“By renaming beige to skin color they show that there is a whiteness norm in society,” Thyra told the Aftonbladet newspaper. “It is completely sick that they just rename beige to skin color when black and brown are also that,” she added.
Thyra has taken her complaint to the Equality Ombudsman on the basis that the term “skin color” is racist.
Thyra is now taking action to get the color changed or removed. She has filed a complaint against, Universal Color and Chemicals, to the Equality Ombudsman, a government agency that aims to promote equal rights and regulate discrimination. Throughout her pursuit, Thyra has gained the support of both her family and her school and encouraged a conversation about race in the classroom.
Thyra’s father said his daughter was motivated by her sister.
“Her little sister has brown skin but according to the paint manufacturer she has no skin color. … I think [the company] just looked at themselves and imagined that’s what skin was,” he told the newspaper.