Tesco has issued an apology over a t-shirt which was discovered in the store which a shopper has branded “racist” as the kid’s design said a black mermaid’s hair was “too fluffy”.
Katie Wells, from Dover, was left disgusted when shopping at the Tesco supermarket in Whitfield, as she spotted an item of clothing in the children’s section which she believed to be racist.
The t-shirt had a picture of a black mermaid from a popular children’s book called ‘That’s Not My Mermaid’, alongside the caption ‘her hair is too fluffy’.
Written by Fiona Watts and illustrated by Rachel Wells, the book is available to buy on Amazon and is also available in bookstores.
Since the t-shirt has become an issue after being shared online, Tesco has issued an apology and confirmed that the store will not be stocking it anymore.
Katie told Kent Live: “We 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 really shocked. It’s not something any child should read on a t-shirt, and it perpetuates a stereotype – it’s racism.”
The ‘touchy-feely’ book is a part of a series of books by Usborne, which allows children to run their fingers along some of the mermaids’ features, in this case, it is the hair and its texture.
Another issue behind the t-shirt and it’s mention of touching a black woman’s hair is the historical history behind it. It is problematic as it used to be a justification of enslavement.
Katie believes that Tesco should no longer stock the product and is frustrated that they thought it would be acceptable to sell in the first place.
She added: “Tesco needs to do better. They clearly need to diversify their purchasing team and be aware of this.
“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 angry and sad anymore that this is how black children are growing up.
“All children deserve to see themselves in children’s clothing, books, and toys so that they know are valued and celebrated. Bigger retailers like Tesco have the power to make these things happen, so why aren’t they?
“It is not acceptable and I would like them to remove this t-shirt from sale in all their stores.”
Recently, parents have been left outraged by Hasbro’s latest Trolls doll, as there are fears of grooming due to it making ‘sex noises’ when pushing a button which is placed between its legs.