BIZARRE dolls depicting monkeys dressed in baby clothes have sparked a racism debate in southern Spain.
A stall at the San Pedro Feria in Marbella was pictured selling the odd souvenirs next to dolls that mostly depicted black children.
This led observers to accuse the seller of making a clear comparison between black people and monkeys, much like the centuries’ old racist trope.
However some locals and Brits argued online that there were also a handful of white baby dolls and that people ‘look for any excuse to be offended these days.’
A British expat who was visiting the Feria told the Olive Press: “I was really shocked when I saw the monkeys next to the mostly black dolls, it just felt really wrong.
“There may well have been no bad intention behind it but everyone knows the racist trope of comparing black people to monkeys, so it just seemed in extremely poor taste, at best.
“Spain has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to racism and displays like that are not going to help its image!”
The woman, who asked not to be named, added: “I saw another monkey dressed as a baby in a bazaar shop nearby and took a photo of it, it was really weird.”
The debate heated up online after an Instagram post shared an image of the stall in question to a local social media page.
One commenter wrote: “THIS is called racism!”, while another said the monkey dolls were racist because their palms are lighter, while ‘in real life gorillas are 100% black.’
They added: “So we already know what has inspired the creator of these dolls.”
However scores of mostly Spanish locals hit back, claiming people were overreacting.
One wrote: “There are white babies, black babies and baby monkeys… the only thing racist is your mind.”
Another said: “It would be racist if they only sold white babies with blue eyes… people just look for any reason to fight these days.”
Spain has come under fire in recent years for failing to effectively tackle its ‘racism problem.’
It came under the spotlight earlier this year when black footballer player Vinicius Junior was subject to ‘monkey chants’ outside the stadium following his team’s loss to Valencia.
They also made monkey gestures towards him during the match and videos shared online showed effigies of him hanging from a highway bridge – leading police to launch a hate crime investigation.
Spanish traditions also continue to cause controversy each year, with Three King’s Parades around the country each January featuring at least one man wearing blackface to portray Balthazar.