Can Adhesive Bandages Be Racist?

Aug 14, 2013
Originally published on August 14, 2013 2:26 pm

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."

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

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."

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