Can Adhesive Bandages Be Racist?

Living in Malawi, Rachel Marie Stone — an American teaching in a seminary — has realized that most adhesive bandages are the peachy, apricottish color of her Caucasian skin.

The epiphany came when a little Malawian girl needed first aid for a wounded toe. Rachel fetched a store-bought bandage she had brought from the United States, and while applying it — along with antibiotic — she was struck by the "garish" disparity between the color of the bandage and the color of her young patient's foot. The bandage "may as well be hunter's orange," Rachel wrote in her online diary. "It wasn't made with her skin tone in mind."

Lighter bandage i i
NPR
Lighter bandage
NPR

So what is the solution? Darker bandages present a similar problem.

Darker bandage i i
NPR
Darker bandage
NPR

Adhesive bandages, Rachel says, "should be either completely clear — with the nonstick band in the middle being paper white — or, really, any other color that is unlike anything that could be construed to match any shade of human flesh."

Two arms and many bandages i i
NPR
Two arms and many bandages
NPR

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.