Switzerland: Ok to sell sweets called "Mohrenköpfe"?
A debate has reignited in Switzerland over the use of the name "Mohrenköpfe", which means "Moors' heads" in English, for popular chocolate-coated marshmallow sweets. A well-known Swiss manufacturer has insisted on keeping the name for its product despite the controversy. Now the country's largest supermarket chain, Migros, has removed the product from its shelves. Commentators say the manufacturer and its defenders should rethink their position.
A sensitive approach is not a matter of taste
Tages-Anzeiger has little understanding for those who defend the name:
“People are up in arms about the fact that other people are up in arms about the name 'Mohrenkopf', as if to say: don't they have other problems? Well let me ask them a question: Don't you have other problems? This heavenly sweet thing made of sugar-coated protein foam with a chocolate coating will continue to be a staple at children's birthday parties. Even if they're called 'chocolate kisses' or even 'foam kisses'. ... It's not those who call for sensitive use of language who are being over-sensitive. It's those who believe they can't do without their 'Mohrenkopf' and feel threatened if it disappears.”
Brand name keeping racism alive
In an open letter, Watson's editor-in-chief Maurice Thiriet urges the manufacturer to reconsider its position:
“For years you have been selling sweet treats that elsewhere have long since been relabelled 'Schokoküsse' [chocolate kisses] for reasons of political correctness under the brand name 'Mohrenkopf'. And they have generated recycled shit storms in the mass media on a regular basis. ... Every time you come under fire for racism you argue that it's not your chocolate products that are racist, but people. And of course you're absolutely right. ... You should therefore not base your considerations on whether or not using the name 'Mohrenköpfe' can be racist. ... Rather you should develop your own concept of what part your brand name 'Mohrenkopf' plays in the overall cultural canon that reproduces racist stereotypes and thus keeps them alive.”