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Black Toothpaste Video (556 hits)

Posted by Sam of flynews.com
China’s consumer market is in an uproar following the release of a popular Chinese toothpaste.

The paste, which is known as Darlie in English and as” Black People Toothpaste” in Chinese, is a product of the Hawley & Hazel Group, a Hong Kong–based company established in 1933, which is now owned in part by the Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Get this: Darlie used to be called Darkie. (Great, that oughta make things better) According to the book America Brushes Up: The Uses and Marketing of Toothpaste and Toothbrushes in the Twentieth Century, the CEO of Hawley & Hazel saw the black performer, Al Jolson, in the U.S. and thought, “Jolson’s wide smile and bright teeth would make an excellent toothpaste logo.” He was right: the firm now claims to be one of the market leaders of toothpaste products in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.

After Colgate purchased 50 percent of the firm in 1985, religious groups, African-Americans, and company shareholders protested the racially offensive nature of the brand. After more than three years of criticism, Colgate switched the name from Darkie to Darlie and modified the logo to a less crude version of a black man. In 1989 The New York Times quoted the Colgate-Palmolive chairman as saying, ‘’It’s just plain wrong … The morally right thing dictated that we must change [in a way] that is least damaging to the economic interests of our partners.’’

Yet the Chinese name of the product has remained unchanged. And China is not exactly a paradise of racial harmony. While the crucial dichotomy in China is between Chinese and non-Chinese, many blacks face discrimination in the country. A Ghanaian who lives in China and asked to remain anonymous told NEWSWEEK that a prospective employer told him, “We can’t hire you because you’re black.”

Still, the Chinese don’t view the toothpaste’s name as something reprehensible. “To most people in China it wouldn’t even occur to them that Black People Toothpaste is offensive,” says P. T. Black, who researches Chinese consumers.

Sure… It’s not offensive. Well not until black people start selling Chinky-Wink eye shadow at the ghetto-fabulous nail salons!

Posted By: anita moore
Wednesday, December 1st 2010 at 11:33AM
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