I recently painted the interior of my house and if you’ve ever been paint shopping, you’re bound to notice the odd names of paint colors. But I’ve never come across anything as odd as the name “skin color”.  Now who’s skin color are we actually talking about? That’s exactly the question a Swedish teenager asked when she noticed “skin color” was assigned to a beige hue of paint.

Thyra,14, whose last name wasn’t reported, said she discovered the paint sold by Universal Color and Chemicals at school.

“By renaming beige to skin color they show that there is a whiteness norm in society,” Thyra told the Aftonbladet newspaper. “It is completely sick that they just rename beige to skin color when black and brown are also that,” she added.

Thyra has taken her complaint to the Equality Ombudsman on the basis that the term “skin color” is racist.

Thyra is now taking action to get the color changed or removed. She has filed a complaint against, Universal Color and Chemicals, to the Equality Ombudsman, a government agency that aims to promote equal rights and regulate discrimination. Throughout her pursuit, Thyra has gained the support of both her family and her school and encouraged a conversation about race in the classroom.

Thyra’s father said his daughter was motivated by her sister.

“Her little sister has brown skin but according to the paint manufacturer she has no skin color. … I think [the company] just looked at themselves and imagined that’s what skin was,” he told the newspaper.


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  • Never seen ‘skin’ color but have seen the colors ‘flesh’ and ‘nude’, neither of which looked like the color of any human skin I’ve ever seen. Sounds like another case of over-sensitivity.

  • Naps93!

    Go her for acknowledging this nonsense and bringing it to the attention of others!

  • Kristie

    I am probably going to get down votes for this but oh well. “Beige” is a skin color. It doesn’t necessarily mean that is the only skin color. It would be similar to a type of white paint color named “eggshell” but knowing that eggshells can also be brown. I think we reading way too much in this. Not necessarily worth getting outraged over.

    • Naan

      This is about treating things as “human” and “sub human” or “A” and “Not A.”

      Labeling it as “skin color” puts that color as “standard”, as “original”, as “most human” and everything else as as a “modifier” to what “is” human.

    • aziza123

      It’s sweden, that colour is the standard! She would have a case if it was done in sub saharan africa.

    • Felicia

      Aziza123: Ummm Sweden does not have a monopoly on human beings who possess skin, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people to acknowledge that variations on what they consider the “norm” do exist. The norm in Sweden is not the norm everywhere, but we DO all have skin and I like to think that my skin color is just as “normal” as the “typical Swede’s”. What’s more, just because a majority of Swedes are white does not negate the existence of those who are not. The problem is that the rhetoric that chooses to highlight certain things as “normal”, implying that normal is good or right, simultaneously implies the invalidity of the “abnormal”. If something as supposedly innocuous makes such a problematic implication, then that company is doing something wrong. Also, just so you now Aziza, subSaharan Africa is not the only place on the earth where non-beige-colored people reside. Nor is it exclusively occupied by dark-skinned people. That’s the problem with assigning “standards”: somebody inevitably gets left out. Not only is it pointless, it’s hurtful. No one place is that monolithic.

    • “a” not “The”… the devil is always in the details.