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The Road to Nowhere Issue

Sweden’s Racist Band-Aids

"I don't think the color is the problem. The issue is that they come in only one shade, and that [shade] is called 'skin-colored.'"

In Sweden, those who want Band-Aids to match their skin have only one color to choose from: beige. This is something the writer Paula Dahlberg, who runs a blog about everyday racism, recently criticized on national radio.

"I don't think the color is the problem," Dahlberg told VICE. "The issue is that they come in only one shade, and that [shade] is called 'skin-colored.'"

The Swedish fashion brand Acne was similarly condemned last year after releasing an underwear collection with "skin-colored" garments, also in beige.

"I wouldn't have a problem with the Band-Aids if they were the only things called skin-colored," Dahlberg continued. "But there are plenty of things that still come in 'nude' or 'normal' skin color—such as mannequins, makeup, underwear, toys, and advertising—that are only beige or white."

Jon Wonmarck, who works at one of the biggest Band-Aid manufacturers in Sweden, Cederroth, told Swedish Radio that there hasn't been any demand for other hues, but they understand the complaint that beige bandages seem to be made for light-skinned people.

Following the criticism, state-owned pharmacy Apoteket announced
that they will stop calling beige Band-Aids "skin-colored." They're also expecting to start selling Band-Aids in a variety of shades by the end of the year.

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