After almost 60 years of "Black Boy" in Norwegian spice racks it's over. - The name was never meant racist, says former plant manager.
Rieber & Son has decided to change the name of the well known and loved for many, for others disliked, seasoning series Black Boy.
- That's right. From September we come gradually to replace the Black Boy label with a new spice portfolio that will be named Toro, director of communications of Rieber & Son, Geir Mikalsen.
Mikalsen confirmed to DN.no that the main reason for the switch is that they do not want a name some people have racist undertones.
- We have discussed this in Rieber a while, and we perceive the Black Boy to be an unfortunate name in 2010.
Several generations of Europeans have grown up with the brand on store shelves, and many will almost certainly mean it was sufficient to remove the small black boy from the logo.
But Rieber want to be on the safe side.
- Some will surely question why on earth we choose to change such an established brand name. But we considered arguments for and against, and concluded that we do not want a brand that in 2010 could be construed as racist, says Mikalsen of Rieber & Son.
With the internet, consumers have been given a new opportunity to influence manufacturers in their choice of both names, design and selection.
- But we have not seen any strong pressure to change the name, although there have been sporadic incidents. It is not necessary to move away from the decision now, he says.
Absolutely not racially intended
Rieber & Son took over "Black Boy" label when they acquired Elverum company Nopal AS in 2003. Originally it was Christian H. Olsen imitation which introduced the brand in Norway.
DN.no have not been able to find out exactly when the mark appeared in the Norwegian spice shelves, but probably it was the early 50's.
- I'm pretty sure it was in 1952, says Ulf Ertsås to DN.no.
Ertsås are among those in Norway who have and have had the most knowledge of spices. He started even in H. Christian Olsen Eftf. In 1987, the company that started in Oslo in 1926 and introduced the Black Boy. Ertsås later became plant manager of the Spice factory Nopal AS Elverum in 1996.
"During the Olympics in Lillehammer was the one who was greatly indignant to find Black Boy spices in the dining room. Ulf Ertsås.
The news that the venerable Black Boy must now change its name because of the modern society demands respect for other races, he takes the rest.
- Obviously it's a bit sad. For me the name of a positive charge. But I understand that they want to change the name. It was a result of his time, and a mark could never have such a name today, he says to DN.no.
- Could it be that there was some racial undertones behind when the spice was named in the 50's?
- No, not at all. Name wanted to convey something exotic in combination with the image of a black boy. As I know the people behind the company is completely ruled out that it was racially intended, argues Ertsås.
The former spice factory boss can not remember that there have been many reactions to the name before. With one exception:
- During the Olympic Games in Lillehammer in 1994 there was a practitioner of the U.S. delegation was strongly indignant to find Black Boy spices in the dining room. It was known as far as it was written a letter to Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, but otherwise there has been surprisingly little noise around the name, the former plant manager.