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Chocolate Chinaman 'not racist': poll

Chocolate Chinaman 'not racist': poll

Published: 29 Sep 2011 15:49 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Sep 2011 15:49 GMT+02:00

Last week confectionery giant Fazer announced that the product was to be re-designed after complaints that the current packaging featured a "racist" image.

"Kinapuffar" (literally: Chinese pops) is a chocolate-covered sweet with packaging that features a caricature of a bright yellow Chinese face with a red pointed rice hat.

Fazer's move to change the packaging came in response to the debate following the publishing of a column in Swedish newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) which questioned the stereotypcal picture used to market the sweet.

In his column, HD journalist Patrik Lundberg wrote that "to joke and laugh at Asians seems to be the only racism which can pass by unremarked".

"All it takes is stretching your eyes with your fingers or saying L instead of R, then the audience explodes with laughter," Lundberg wrote.

After Fazer's decision to revamp the packaging, Swedish artist Lars Vilks wrote an opinion piece on a Sveriges Television (SVT) website where he said that Lundberg was fighting a losing battle if he hoped to eradicate national stereotypes.

“It is probably impossible to get rid of prejudicial opinions on ethnic and national differences. You can tire yourself out by straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel,” Vilks wrote.

Lundberg, however, was quick to respond.

“Vilks is urging people to just ignore these things. I suggest we all ignore Lars Vilks' opinion on the matter and instead do our best to treat our fellow human beings the way we want to be treated ourselves,” Lundberg wrote.

Although Fazer's sweet might be a small matter in the larger scale of things, wrote Lundberg, “it doesn't mean that it is OK to go up to me and stretch one's eyes , or shouting 'Chinese-bastard' to me in a bar. It doesn't mean that someone gets to call my Asian girl-friends Thai whores”.

However, when SVT asked a thousand Swedes whether they thought the picture was offensive, only 3 percent said that they did.

Although there was little difference between men and women's answers, in the age group 15-29, eight out of a hundred said they found the picture in bad taste, which was slightly higher than the average.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

17:02 September 29, 2011 by Lavaux
Sweden must not be so bad after all: Only 3% of Swedes are as clueless as Patrik Lundberg.

Even so, notice how people like Lundberg suck all of the air out of a room, delighting in making everything they encounter as joyless and fun-free as they are. Attacking a candy bag, for goodness sakes!

Worse, their brand of lunacy gets so media coverage that one expects to get written up in tomorrow's paper if one happens to entertain an irreverent thought. The only difference between the Taliban and Lundberg's ilk is that the latter would have a moral offense result in the murder of one's reputation rather than one's body.
17:06 September 29, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
Only 3% complain and the rest try to accomodate. How typically Swedish.
17:46 September 29, 2011 by Twiceshy
I didn't get how he went from a cartoonish drawing to calling people bastards and whores? Yet apparently he managed to do it...
17:48 September 29, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
Does this mean that "political correctness? is over?
18:10 September 29, 2011 by Token-not-found
What insanity....
19:21 September 29, 2011 by GLO
Where do these jerks come from, do they stay up late at night to come up with this crap!
19:36 September 29, 2011 by jacquelinee
Like I said on the original post.........

I wear red lipstick and hats and it is total bigotry towards me because it makes me look bad. That is just prejudice against we who wear hats and red lispick. I demand an apology! That is how ridiculous this sounds.

(really people get a grip! Aren't you being a bit petty and over reacting? What's next? Dog owners suing Walt Disney studios because "Goofy" makes their dogs look unintelligent?")
19:49 September 29, 2011 by sherkovic
ask Chinese people instead. Off course the Kina candy is not racist to most swedes.
20:21 September 29, 2011 by andyron2
Remaining 3 percent swedes must be of chinese origon.another junk news.Looks like a publicity stunt.
22:37 September 29, 2011 by Uncle
I imagine how many nun heads would be cut off and embassies burned, if there would be a depiction of an arab on a Halva pack.
01:28 September 30, 2011 by jostein
@Gamla Hälsingebock

8% amongst 15-25 year olds suggests lunacy is on the rise.
02:05 September 30, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
@jostein

I'll bet if their teachers were different their answers would be more mainstream.

This attitude was taught to them...to be fair teachers should be rated on PC correctness and conservatives should have half the teaching jobs.

Only older people were taught to act conservatively; and in my opinion that is the more sane approach to honest dialog and free speech.
09:20 September 30, 2011 by Da Goat
I reckon if I was Chinese I would be honored to have such yummy candy named after my country !

it is only an insult if the thing in question is bad!

if the candy was shaped like Chinese people then maybe it could be construed as maybe questionable but it is only the name and packaging that is in question and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that (only pulla pullers would think like P Lundberg.)
12:40 September 30, 2011 by Shawntooth
@andyron2

"Remaining 3 percent swedes must be of chinese origon.another junk news.Looks like a publicity stunt."

Ok, I'm chinese, and I couldn't care less about whatever stereotype image that's printed on the candy bag....despite the fact that i don't feel "honored" by it as a guy above suggested that i should, I'm not taking offense either....

but what i saw in some comments here truly frighten me, like this "andyron2" guy/girl....so assertively pointing out that most of the people are morally superior than people with a certain origin.....without any evidence or logical inference, he/she just believes this debate is a consequence of certain ethnical group trying make a nasty public stunt.....i mean the problem nowadays in this society is really not about a steretype on a candy bag, (chinese won't give a damn about it), it's that people don't realize that they are racists to begin with, plus people who simply think there's "nothing wrong with" racism if you care to read certain people's comments on the site.....
17:41 September 30, 2011 by LeoKing
Maybe this complaint is not made by Chinese people. Since I ask most of my Chinese friends, no one cares about it. So, you may know what is going on........... it is strange, isn't it? Somebody means to do it, maybe try to disgrace China...
18:32 September 30, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
The real problem is EVERYBODY is racist to some extent, but only a few are forced to practice "political correctness".

And then there are those that are "racist", keep quiet about it and condemn others who are... or not.

Today's racism is mainly in the eye of the beholder...what you see and how you interpret it.

Candy, anyone???
18:45 September 30, 2011 by pasto
According to Merriam-Webster racism is defined as "a belief that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." I think that the esteemed Mr. Lundberg should explain how this caricature shows one race as inherently superior to another, and if so, which is superior and which is inferior. I cannot quite see the racism in it.
20:31 September 30, 2011 by bjorkon
shekovic, shawntooth and cunninglinguist are spot on. Racism isn't about the majority.
15:22 October 1, 2011 by Horace
I am Chinese, and am more bothered by how Swedish people assume the triangular hat is a "Chinese" hat. That hat is mostly worn by farmers, and I often wonder if they just assume that the whole country is full of farmers, and whether Swedes give any respect for their farmers or do they look at them as lowly educated people. Why is the farmer's hat regarded as the "Chinese" hat, when there are hundreds of other hat styles worn by Qing, Ming, Song, etc Dynasties?

If there is one thing that I think China lacks right now, it would be good quality farmers.
00:34 October 2, 2011 by chang
The question of that survey should have asked only to East Asians or Chinese in Sweden. It's very natural that most white or Arab Swedish did not feel any offensive on the picture.
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