Paris (hooly-news.com / hooly News) – “White”, “whitening”, “clear” … the L’Oréal group has decided to remove certain words from its packaging for cosmetic products, in a global context of anti-racist demonstrations.
In the United States especially, but also in France, India or Australia, brands are under pressure at the anger expressed since the death at the end of May of George Floyd, an African-American asphyxiated by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
“The L’Oréal group has decided to remove the words white / whitening, clear (fair / fairness, light / lightening) from all its products intended to standardize the skin”, indicates the French giant of cosmetics in a press release published in English on Saturday, without further details, in particular on an immediate withdrawal or not of its products from the shelves.
This decision comes after that of the Indian subsidiary of Unilever, which chose to rename its lightening cream “Fair & Lovely”.
The Anglo-Dutch company promised to stop using the word “Fair”, saying it was “committed to celebrating all skin tones”.
In India lightening creams are popular with Bollywood stars. But one of them, Priyanka Chopra, found herself doomed to social media for having supported the Black Lives Matter movement while keeping her role of ambassador for one of these brands.
American giant, Johnson and Johnson decided to go further, this week by banning the sale of lightening substances designed for Asia and the Middle East.
“The debate of the past few weeks has highlighted the fact that certain names or promises appearing on our Neutrogena and Clean & Clear products aimed at reducing stains, represented whiteness or clarity as being better than your complexion, unique”, deplores the group in a statement cited by US public radio NPR and the New York Times.
“It was never our intention: healthy skin is beautiful skin,” adds Johnson and Johnson, announcing the end of its Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear lines.
For several weeks, companies have been storming initiatives when it comes to changing a visual identity still charged with racial stereotypes.
“Toothpaste for black person”
Quaker Oats (PepsiCo) has promised to withdraw by the end of the year her Aunt Jemima, a black woman who has been decorating her maple syrup and pancake mixes for 130 years.
Even the publisher of Magic playing cards, the benchmark for role-playing enthusiasts, has announced that it has removed several images containing racist representations or allusions.
In Australia, the “Red Skins” and “Chicos” sweets, made for decades by national confectioner Allen’s, will soon be renamed because of the “connotations” in their names, Nestlé promised.
Others go in the same direction, although they are less advanced. Like Mars, who says “think” to develop his famous Uncle Ben’s.
Or Colgate-Palmolive who wants to “re-examine” his Darlie toothpastes sold in Asia, whose name means “toothpaste for black people” in Chinese. The brand was called until 1989 Darkie, a racial insult.
Another commitment, some groups have chosen to suspend their advertising on social networks, accused of allowing hate speech to proliferate.
Verizon, Honda, Ben & Jerry’s (Unilever), Patagonia and North Face are all taking part in a Facebook boycott campaign launched by American civil society organizations.
Embracing the slogan “Black Lives Matter”, some still donate, always closely watched by public opinion.
Apple has launched a $ 100 million “Racial Equity and Justice” initiative for education, associations and businesses owned by black people.
PepsiCo has announced a 400 million dollar plan over 5 years “to support black communities and increase their representation” within the group.
Because beyond the products to be renamed, companies are lagging behind in taking diversity into account, especially at the highest level.
According to a 2019 report from the Boston Consulting Group, only three African-Americans and 24 women lead the 500 largest US companies by revenue.
hooly News / rp