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'Racist' ads removed for Swedish kids' film

'Racist' ads removed for Swedish kids' film

Published: 11 Sep 2012 16:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Sep 2012 16:23 GMT+02:00

Advertisement posters for a new children’s film have been pulled down over concerns that one of the pictured characters has stereotypical "racist" undertones.

“We wanted to do the exact opposite and we are very sorry if some have felt offended or felt that we were reinforcing a racist image,” said the film’s director and author of the book, Stina Wirsén, to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

"We don’t want to fight it at all, and therefore we've taken down the posters which have caused the reactions."

The film, Little Pink and Brokiga (Liten skär och alla små brokiga), based on a book of the same name, is set to hit Swedish cinemas on September 22nd.

But one particular character in the poster – Hjärtat – has roused the public’s attention with her black face, braided hair, white eyes and oversized, full white lips.

And many are not amused by the character's appearance.

“Showing a picture like this is like saying the N-word,” argues history of ideas scholar Mikela Lundahl of the Gothenburg University to Sveriges Radio (SR).

“This is one of the worst stereotypes that the African American people have been subjected to, something that came from the USA in the 1800s.”

World-renowned Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, who narrates the film, has distanced himself from the critics, but told SR that director Wirsén is “anti-racist” and that the critics should “focus their criticism on actual racists instead.”

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Your comments about this article

17:42 September 11, 2012 by notaswed
Hey, whats the point here, how does one get offended by seeing a cartoon painted black? should the white folks also be offended by the cartoon painted white? I am an African and I dont find the accusation worthwhile. Thats my personal opinion.
17:51 September 11, 2012 by StockholmSam
Hold your horses, lassie! What about blue polka-dot bunnies? Now THAT I find offensive.
18:40 September 11, 2012 by rise
Welcome to Sweden, the land of the pretending hypocrites! For the sake of not discriminating other peoples our politicians are trying to indoctrinate us into discriminating ourselves instead. SD 2014!
20:16 September 11, 2012 by frenchviking
seriously?

Mikelah Lundahl... of the Gothenburg university... do you really have nothing else to do?

Or would you prefer to ensure that all cartoon characters are white? THAT would be racism...

Do you think the other cartoon characters in the picture are 100% representative of a white person? Long ears, tale, shark teeth... Common, they are cartoon characters!!!

I hope her salary is not financed by our taxes...
20:20 September 11, 2012 by FutureHuman
I am black and I don't see why I should be offended. Like the person in the woman in the end said, FOCUS ON THE REAL RACISM, there is plenty of it out there.

Real racism is not about about black cartoons and tastless cakes. It is about competent and skilled people discrimninated at the job market. It is about an almost sub-concious tendency of low expectations....
20:29 September 11, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

I do not think Obama would go to Sweden. He would be stopped right at the airport because Swedes do not like the seriousness of the colour of his skin. Unfortunately for Sweden, Obama might seat on the Presidential sofa for another 4 years.

What a country. Everything has to be politically correct. I should be offended because I am blue. So, Swedes should eliminate the blue color in their flag. It has made me sick the two times I have landed in the country.
20:58 September 11, 2012 by Investor612
People looking for a reason to be offended can always manufacture one however silly.
23:09 September 11, 2012 by prince T
I have never seen black people dipicted in that manner before. Black pple are brown in colur and not pitch black. @ notaswed must be sufffering from identity crises not see anytin rong with dat film. Things like this only happen in sweden and nobody see nothin wrong with it. If it were a gay joke, the reaction will be different.
23:10 September 11, 2012 by B.olesen
YAWN !!!!! AND YAWN !!!!!

Get over it and get a life, if you are so easily offended and hate whites so much you imagine racism in EVERYTHING - you DEFINITELY DON'T belong in Sweden.
06:10 September 12, 2012 by prince T
i hate evil, racism, facism, religious fanatism etHowever I love people especially the poor and maginalised or ethnic minorities in sweden. my love is unconditional. It is not restricted to race or religion.

@ olesen. how did you know that i hate white people. can you please tell me which country i belong. for your information. jag går ingenstans och det finns ingenting du kan göra om det. så är det. I have seen black people in cartoon, at least in Simpson. this one is really a racist one.

@ olsesen I am happy i am able to get under your skin. my purpose on this forum is prevent perverted minded people from having field day on TL NO AMOUNT OF INSULT AND ABUSE WILL DETER ME
08:09 September 12, 2012 by RobinHood
Sweden has become a haven for loopy sandal wearing, bearded, gender and racial equality experts. They see slurs against women, homosexuals and immigrants everywhere. Swedish media and politicians give them far more respect that they deserve. They are cranks living in an alternative universe, and deserve to be treated with the same distain as crackpots from the far right, the far left, the far everywhere, and foil heads who believe in conspiracy theories.

Tell Göteborg's University's history of ideas scholar Mikela Lundahl (financed by the tax payer) to get a proper job, and put sweet, pretty Hjärtat back in the film.

There is more than enough real-life racism in Sweden to deal with without this nonsence. I just hope Jessie Jackson doesn't get to hear about it.
11:14 September 12, 2012 by muscle
hmm :) oh come on. I guess its more in the eyes of the viewer.. If the person feels confident about himself , his looks, his abilities etc... he would take this picture as a positive step that different colours are being shown together.

Otherwise, a lame person would with it offensive (dont know how though)
12:53 September 12, 2012 by rise
#12

"I guess its more in the eyes of the viewer.."

Exactly. One is only projecting one's own feelings/viewings into this image picturing a black kid. I'd say Mikela Lundahl is the racist! She simply is seeing what she want to see. Why apparently it is so disgusting being a black kid it need to be removed completely from the film; apparently black kids are so disgusting it's better if they aren't seen at all?!

What about the fact the black kid is the only figure in the picture painted with hearts? Several of them. In fact "The heart" (Hjärtat) is the figure's name. Is that racist as well, hmm, Lundahl?
13:26 September 12, 2012 by jimmyjames
Truthfully, this is unbelievable. I look at the cartoon and I see a Sub-Saharan African being depicted in caracture. There is nothing at all offensive about it. Having worked in various regions of Africa a total of almost 6 years I can assure anyone that there are indeed Sub-Saharan Africans who have a coal black skin color. As for the hair braids, again anyone who has lived amongst people of Sub-Saharan African descent knows that all braid theirr hair as part of their body care routine, nothing at all peculiar about it. How on earth anyone could construe any aspect of this cartoon as being offensively racist is simply incomprehensable, honestly. It is obvious to me that these individuals who are feigning offense are individuals who have no real experiance living amongst Sub-Saharan African peoples and have no knowledge of their customs or habits either. That is truely sad. Some of the best experiances of my life and career where in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the tribes and individuals are a joy to be around as a general rule.
14:35 September 12, 2012 by soultraveler3
The amount of PC nonsense in the world today is staggering, having said that though I understand why some people find this offensive.

It's fine to show cartoon versions of different races, but the fact that the little black character in the drawing above looks just like a "pickaninny" is a bit off-putting. If you don't know what that is google it and read the history behind it.
09:47 September 13, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
In the image above the article, the black character is one of the most attractive.

In an interview in the 1960's, Malcolm X told people that as a child in New York City he felt invisible, because for example at the Lincoln Center at Christmas time there was never a black Santa Claus, only a white one.

Fast forward 50 years to Sweden, where an animation team includes a black character in an animated film, and some imbecile in Gothenburg complains that the black character is not good looking enough, even if the animation style is such that the 'white' characters around the black character look like a bunch of angry, disease carrying ameobas.
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