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“Tesco needs to diversify their purchasing team” after accusation of racist t-shirt

After discovering a T-shirt at a Tesco store which described a black mermaid's hair as "too fluffy"Bottom of Form, a shopper has criticised the British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer. In response, the superstore has confirmed it will no longer be buying the provocative t-shirts.

The incident happened just yesterday. Katie Wells, a mum of two, saw the item of clothing while she was shopping with her children at a Whitefield supermarket.

The t-shirt, also on sale at the Tesco store, showed a picture of the mermaid from the trendy children’s book ‘That’s Not My Mermaid’ with the added caption ‘her hair is too fluffy’.

Tesco said it will not stock the item again. Image credit Kent Live

Katie claimed that she and her daughters “Were walking down the main middle aisle and we saw the set from a distance. I got excited because diversity in clothing is particularly rare.

“I read the text on the shirt and was shocked. It’s not something any child should read on a t-shirt, and it perpetuates a stereotype – it’s racism.

The book comes from a pleasant series of board books aimed at very young children. The bright pictures, with their patches of different textures, are designed to develop sensory and language awareness. Babies and toddlers indeed love turning the pages and touching the feely patches. Written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells, the book is on sale via Amazon and is in bookshops and superstores too.

Image credit Birmingham Live

The notion of touching a black woman's hair became problematic when some customers, such as Katie, highlighted the fact that the texture was historically used to justify enslavement. Tesco has since yesterday’s episode apologised and confirmed they will not be buying any more t-shirts with the insensitive caption.

The woman also said that “Tesco needs to do better. They need to diversify their purchasing team and be aware of this.

“It is not acceptable, and I would like them to remove this T-Shirt from sale in all of their stores.

“It is not a new issue, especially with all that has been in the media recently, ignorance is not an excuse anymore. It makes me feel so sad and angry that this is how black children are growing up.

The top was based on the book 'That's Not My Mermaid'. Image credit Birmingham Live

“All children deserve to see themselves in children’s clothing, books and toys so that they know they are valued and celebrated. Bigger retailers like Tesco have the power to make these things happen, so why aren’t they?

In response to the mediatic turmoil that emerged straight afterwards, a Tesco spokesperson declared: “We remain committed to ensuring that Tesco is a place where everybody is welcome and apologise for any offence caused.

"We will not be purchasing any more orders of this product,” she concluded.


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