Here’s a story you might have missed. On the 25th May 2021, one year after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, the Spanish postal service, Correos, released a set of four stamps designed to coincide with the anniversary of his death and to highlight racial inequality. The stamps depicted various light-to-dark skin colours and ranged in values from €1.60 (light skin) down to €0.70 (dark skin). Here they are:
Dubbed the Equality Stamps, the idea was to show the inequality of higher-valued light-skinned people over lower-valued dark-skinned people. A noble intention, you might think, but no—all hell broke loose on social media platforms and elsewhere. People said the stamps were an insult to dark-skinned people and reinforced racism rather than highlighted the issues involved. ‘Tone deaf’ and ‘accidentally racist’ accusations were levelled at the postal service. Defenders of the message said you need more black stamps than white stamps to post a letter or a parcel and that’s a sign of inequality e.g. a parcel costing €1,120 would require only seven €160 stamps compared to sixteen €0.70 stamps. Hmm.
Bowing to pressure, Correos withdrew the stamps three days after issue. I suspect now they will become a collector’s item much sought after by philatelists and others looking to make a profit. Look out for them on eBay. They are not showing yet but soon will be; betcha.
And here’s another thought. What if the British Royal Mail were to issue a series of, say, fourteen commemorative stamps depicting the fourteen individual living members of the Royal Family? Who would get the highest denomination? And, more interestingly, who would get the lowest denomination?