Nestle has promised to rename its Red Skins and Chicos lollies saying the names are now “out of step” with the company’s values.
“This decision acknowledges the need to ensure that nothing we do marginalises* our friends, neighbours and colleagues,” the company said in a statement.
“These names have overtones* which are out of step with Nestle’s values, which are rooted in respect. While new names have not yet been finalised, we will move quickly to change these names.”
The packaging on Red Skins was changed a few years ago to a plain red and purple wrapper. It had previously featured a Native American man wearing a full headdress.
There have long been calls to ditch the names Red Skins and Chicos — which critics say are derogatory* and racially insensitive to Native Americans and Latin Americans.
There continues to be backlash* against the Washington Redskins, a National Football League team in the US, over its name.
The ongoing Black Lives Matter protests across the world have triggered action against racially offensive statues, names, entertainment and food.
There are calls to rename Coon cheese after Australian comedian Josh Thomas brought attention to the debate last week.
Saputo Dairy Australia, which sells the cheese, said Coon was named in recognition of “the work of an American, Edward William Coon, who patented* a unique ripening process that was used to manufacture the original Coon cheese”.
Indigenous academic, writer and activist Dr Stephen Hagan has led the charge to get rid of the name Coon, which has been used as a derogatory term for Indigenous people.
There have also been calls for Colonial Brewing Company, an Australian beer brand, to be renamed.
Netflix also recently removed four of Chris Lilley’s comedy series from the streaming platform.
The award-winning Australian comedian portrayed several racially diverse characters in his series We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys and Jonah From Tonga.
Little Britain, a British comedy show that had blackface, was also removed from a number of streaming services.
Allen’s Lollies, which is owned by Nestle and sells Red Skins and Chicos in Australia, issued a similar statement on renaming the lollies.
“At Allen’s we are about creating smiles. Today we announced that we will change the name of Red Skins and Chicos lollies,” the company said.
“This decision acknowledges* the need to keep creating smiles, ensuring that nothing we do marginalises our friends, neighbours and colleagues, or is out of step with our values.
“We haven’t finalised the new names, but we’ll keep you posted. We appreciate the comments we have received on the need for change.”
- marginalises: treat a group of people as less important
- overtones: a subtle meaning
- derogatory: showing a disrespectful attitude
- backlash: strong negative reaction by a group of people
- patented: legally owns the idea
- acknowledges: accepts or admits that something exists or is true
- What does Nestle say its values are rooted in?
- Which US NFL team is mentioned and why?
- Who was Edward Coon?
- Why are some TV shows being removed from Netflix?
- What company owns Allen’s lollies?
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1. Suggest a New Name
Allen’s and Nestle (the company that owns Allen’s) have promised to change the name of two of their lollies as the current names are offensive to people in our community. However, they have not finalised new names for these products. Can you help Nestle to come up with a new name for each of these lollies?
The current packaging describes one of them as ‘intensely raspberry’ flavoured and ‘super chewy’ and the other as ‘chewy, chocolate flavoured jelly babies’.
Use these descriptions to help you come up with an appropriate name that is not offensive.
When you have come up with a new name for each, chose one of the products and design a new package for the lolly featuring its new name. Keep in mind that Allen’s lollies have a standard red package as the back ground. (You might like to look at some current packets of Allen’s lollies for ideas).
Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking, Intercultural Understanding, Ethical Understanding, Personal and Social Capability, The Arts – Visual Arts
Option One: Write a letter to Allen’s or Nestle congratulating them on their decision to change these offensive names on their products. In your letter include your suggestion for a new name and a description of your package design. Suggest why this new name is more appropriate for the lolly and why you think the new package will help them sell more lollies.
Option Two: Write a letter to Saputo Dairy Australia, who owns the brand of cheese mentioned in the article, expressing your opinion on whether they should consider changing the name of their cheese. In your letter, consider why the cheese was named as it was and perhaps offer another suggestion for a name that acknowledges its history and does not offend Indigenous Australians.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking, Intercultural Understanding, Ethical Understanding, Personal and Social Capability
Proper Noun Police
A proper noun is a noun that names a particular person, place or thing. It always has a capital letter.
How many proper nouns can you find within this article? Find them all and sort them into the category of name, place, time (date/month).
Can you find any proper nouns included in your writing?
What are they?
Can you sort them into their categories?
HAVE YOUR SAY: Suggest new names for Red Skins and Chicos
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.