WITH debate ranging in the West over racist branding from Rice Krispies to Coco Pops to Uncle Ben’s among others, attention has been drawn to Cyprus’ People’s Coffee Grinding Co. Ltd (Laikon Kafekopteion) whose 72-year-old logo is suddenly raising eyebrows and has drawn ire from some quarters.
The logo depicts a black man in a fez and a waiter’s uniform. Critics point to the depiction of exaggerated features and racial stereotypes.
Many companies, cultures and communities are now looking inwards and reflecting as to whether or not some of their most iconic symbols are racist in the wake of the global George Floyd protests.
Now the wave of racial consciousness has crashed upon the shores of Cyprus, as NGOs and political parties organise anti-racist rallies.
It may just be a storm in a coffee cup, however, as some Cypriots and Africans who spoke to the Cyprus Mail defended the logo.
Maria, 27, who has a child with a black man, said that the logo was not intrinsically racist.
“There are expressions that are offensive when people are told that you’re dressed like a ‘paki’, but in this case, I don’t see anything wrong, nothing is bad in itself – we’re the ones who make it illegal,” she said.
Momoh, 31, from Nigeria, made a similar point: “I don’t care about the colour… everyone has their perception; for me, it’s not a bad thing, it’s normal.”