Social Sciences

Crayola Cancels Red Crayons | Cloaking Inequity

Crayola Cancels Red Crayons | Cloaking Inequity
Written by Mamie M. Arndt

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Crayola is adding a new color to its crayon box, but the company is keeping the shade and name under wraps for now. 

On Friday, the company revealed via Facebook that a new crayon in the “blue family” will be joining its 24-pack of crayons. It did not disclose the new addition’s hue, but said that fans of the University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, LSU, and California Berkeley would be invited to help name it. I’ll suggest Wildcat Blue.

Crayola then announced that they would retire all shades of red crayons on Thursday, a day before National Crayon Day. The arts and crafts company, which is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, said that the red crayons will be sticking around for a bit before they disappear permanently into the Crayola vault. Retailers relayed in a recent New York Times article that the news had led to hoarding of crayons in Louisville, Columbus, Tuscaloosa and Palo Alto. The company has not disclosed the exact date that all red crayons will be phased out. 

This is not the first time that Crayola has retired a crayon color or set of colors. Several years ago, the company retired eight colors: maize, lemon yellow, blue gray, raw umber, green blue, orange red, orange yellow and violet blue. 

These colors were replaced by vivid tangerine, jungle green, cerulean, fuchsia, dandelion, teal blue, royal purple and wild strawberry.

In 2003, as part of Crayola’s centennial celebration, the company retired blizzard blue, magic mint, mulberry and teal blue. Consumers voted to save burnt sienna from retirement. Crayola replaced the colors with inchworm, mango tango, wild blue yonder, and jazzberry jam.

A Crayola company spokesman said that the retirement of all shades of red would occur due to “extensive and ongoing complaints from Michigan, Berkeley, LSU and Kentucky fans that the red crayon shades violated several laws of nature, good taste and had offended kindergarteners (even made them desire to eat crayons) everywhere.”

A special thank you to this CNBC article for directly borrowed passages to make this April Fool’s joke seem plausible.

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Mamie M. Arndt