Lacasa, stop using racist chocolate brand Conguitos

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(Spanish) (French)

We are all aware of the recent shocking stories of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

The world is slowly waking up, and we can no longer deny that racism still represents the harsh reality of daily life for too many.

Why is the situation today more critical than before?

Because today, we can no longer pretend that the past did not happen. We no longer have the excuse of ignorance, of just finding out, of not having had enough time to change anything.

We must recognize that not enough has been done. We’ve been talking about racism for too long; we must try even harder and find new methods to stop this blight.

Racism has become cultural, carried subconsciously by societies as relics of their colonial or slaveholding past. Racism is around us, in our homes, inside of us.

What can we do?

We must take concrete actions if we want to eradicate what has become an unavoidable part of our culture, namely in terms of the things that contribute to the development of cultural racism.

What is the problem with the Conguitos chocolate brand?

Spanish chocolate manufacturer Lacasa, created in 1852, is a major player on the market in Spain. With revenue of almost 150 million euros, the company has expanded internationally to all continents.

In 1987, the family company acquired the brand of chocolates Conguitos. In their standard packaging, the chocolates are represented by a small black character with large red lips. The character can also be shown as brown or even white, depending on the color of the chocolate.

The name Conguitos itself (derived from a diminutive of the Spanish word for “Congolese”) and the caricatural illustration of a small black character with large red lips on a chocolate product makes this a racist product that stigmatizes the black population.

http://www.conguitos.com/somos-los-conguitos/

https://www.tienda.lacasa.es/14-conguitos

Yet Conguitos products are sold by most Spanish supermarkets and candy distributors, as well as a major international distributor and various online shops. And yes, this is still the case today, 8 June 2020.

The chocolates are widely advertised and highly visible on social networks; the Facebook page for Conguitos has more than 450 thousand followers.

https://www.instagram.com/conguitosoficial/

https://www.facebook.com/Conguitos

The very existence of such a brand, widely tolerated shows us just how long the road ahead is.

Through its marketing and diffusion of the Conguitos brand and its associated images on various media, Lacasa has been contributing since 1987 to the stigmatization of the black population and promoting cultural racism.

The existence of the Conguitos brand is an example of the things we still tolerate or those that we do not even notice by force of habit, even though they are causing incontestable harm to the fight against racism.

What is this petition demanding?

This petition is demanding that Chocolates Lacasa S.A., owner of the Conguitos brand:

  1. IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all products marketed under the Conguitos name and/or featuring any illustration, logo, or graphical representation of the brand’s caricatural representation of the black population;
  2. PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE to the black population for its use of stigmatizing, racist sales media in a wide distribution network in Spain, worldwide and on social networks;
  3. COMMIT to exploring ways it can compensate for the harm caused by the brand and participate in the fight against racism, for example by allocating part of the profits from the sales of Conguitos products to causes combatting racism against the black population.

Have there been any similar cases in the past?

Many.

In 2011, French chocolate drink brand Banania was ordered to halt the use of its “l’ami Y’a bon” character and associated slogan. The brand’s depiction of a Senegalese Tirailleur was found to be racist and colonialist.

 More recently the case of the Spanish Brand Colacao and the deletion of their famous “Yo soy aquel negrito”.

Even back in 2011, the case of Banania already seemed to be a forgotten old residue of the long-gone colonial era.

https://histoire-image.org/fr/etudes/y-bon-banania

https://www.elperiodico.com/es/extra/20200130/cola-cao-jubila-negrito-nueva-cancion-7828306

Every little step forward counts.