Category Archives: Racism

Dear Wilton

Dear Wilton,

I have a dilemma, and it’s one that I really want you to listen to and understand.  You need to listen for two reasons.  Firstly, because I am a cake decorator, I have purchased things from your range, and want to in the future.   Look, here are a couple of cakes I have decorated – I even happen to think I’m quite good at it… yes, that’s all my own work, with a little help from some of your products.
Bear Cake made by Eileen Joy, Parenting for Social Justice

Bear Cake made by Eileen Joy, Parenting for Social Justice

The second reason I need you to listen, and frankly this one is far more important, is because you are a big company, and you need to do the right thing.

Why am I writing to you?  Why am I seriously considering not buying your products again?  Well, I was seriously disturbed today to discover that on your: “Wilton Natural Colors Fondant, Multi Pack” you specifically have written “Skin Tone” under the “Pink” listing and not placed it under any of the other colours.   I’m supplying a handy link here for those people who need to see it for their own eyes.  Yes, it’s hard to see, but it’s there.  Hover over the packet with your mouse and you will see it.  Light Brown, Dark Brown, Pink (skin tone) and Black.

Fortunately the good folks at Jezebel have already talked about this issue here and taken a close up picture of it so you don’t have to strain your eyes (like I did):

Wilton Natural colours fondant with pink "skin tone"
Image from Jezebel.com

What I find odd however is that despite Jezebel reporting this in 2010, you are still selling this item… come on?  Really?

I’d like to point out, that by making a list like this, and including all those other colours, and stating that Pink = skin and the others do not, well, it’s like saying that there’s only one type of skin colour.  Something I am sure you will agree is blatantly false.  It also upsets me.  As the mother of children who definitely don’t fit that kind of skin tone, I’m appalled on their behalf.  What do you think it tells people when you are (even if accidentally) telling them that there is only one shade of skin colour?   It’s a sign of privilege, that only one (white) skin colour is recognized, it renders all others invisible.  A similar dilemma can be seen with “skin coloured” plasters.  This is an issue which Deborah Gabriel eloquently dissects in this blog post.

Let me show you an example of where a company has got it right.  See, Crayola understands that “skin tone” can mean a veritable rainbow of colours, and they did this after years of having only one “flesh” toned crayon.   Well done to Crayola – a big multi coloured thumbs up!

Crayola Multicultural Crayons
Image from Amazon.com

Now I appreciate that this might be an oversight, in which case I am sure you will remove it and update all of your future packaging.  In the meantime, until I hear further from you, I won’t be buying any Wilton products.

Yours Sincerely,

A disgruntled Wilton customer.

P.S. for all those of you who are equally appalled at this, feel free to sign the online petition to encourage Wilton to change their packaging.  You can also go and comment on their Facebook page here, you can contact them direct using this link here, and you can tweet them, here.  And finally, if you’re reading this, and agree (I mean why wouldn’t you) then please share this widely, words matter, and careless use of words is indeed, careless.

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