Summary

Foil packet of Coles home brand Creole Creams containing round chocolate biscuits with white cream filling. The biscuits became the centre of public controversy in October 2009 when Sam Watson, deputy director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit at the University of Queensland, accused the biscuit name of being racist. Watson was quoted on the Brisbane Times website: 'The word Creole comes from a period when people's humanity was measured by the amount of white blood they had in their bloodstream...This is the same kind of thought that underpinned horrific regimes like the Nazis...( the supermarket's choice of name indicated a)...deep undercurrent of racism in white Australian society.'

Community debate in the media ranged from support of the claim to accusations of political correctness 'gone mad.' Coles maintained their support of the brand, citing this as the first time the issue had ever been raised and that the biscuits had been named after the creole cuisine style. The word Creole can be used to describe a person of mixed European and African or Afro-Caribbean heritage. Nevertheless, Coles announced their undertaking to remove the biscuits from their supermarket shelves within three months, for rebranding, repackaging and redistribution. This issue was raised a few weeks after race issues were brought to the fore by a heated argument over a skit on television show Hey Hey It's Saturday. American guest Harry Connick Jr complained when a group of singers wearing 'blackface' make-up sang a Jackson Five tribute on the popular program. The sketch provoked a storm of controversy, with some critics complaining it highlighted Australia's insensitivity.

Physical Description

Foil biscuit packet, brown and silver with images of the biscuits and a female lawn bowler eating a biscuit with a cup of tea. The packet contains plastic casing and the biscuits. Packaging and biscuits are unopened and intact.

Significance

This biscuit packaging documents a particular historical event which involved community protest, public debate with wide media coverage and a commercial response. It demonstrates the increasing profile of race and racism as an issue in Australian public consciousness and debate and the ability for individual voices to engender change.

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