Four little blonde-haired girls beam at the camera. They are holding dolls (three blonde, one redhead), and the photograph is part of a Christmas catalogue distributed by a Chilean department store’s Peruvian affiliate, Saga Falabella.
Commercial advertising in Latin America is not exactly known for racial diversity, and few of the industry’s models seem to have any indigenous ancestry. But the image has sparked a storm on social media. Peruvian writer and playwright Eduardo Adrianzen wrote on Twitter
“Could anything be MORE RACIST in Peru than the Saga Falabella Christmas catalogues? It can’t be. ¿No? In the USA and Europe there is much more racial variety than in these photos, I swear. Pretty little girls, yes, but how many Peruvians do they represent? 1%? (too much?) The rest of us can’t shop at Saga: it isn’t for us. Seriously, the people who approved these catalogues must live on Narnia or in some arch-Caucasian country that exists only in their minds. Should we impose a lot of fines against RACISTS (in capital letters) or would it be better to send them to urgent psychiatric care?” https://twitter.com/adrianzeneduard
The public reaction has prompted Saga Falabella to withdraw the Christmas catalogue from its 25 Peruvian branches, and to issue a statement saying that the company “respected and appreciated diversity in the broadest sense.” http://www.falabella.com.pe/falabella-pe/