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File:Darkie Toothpaste.jpg

Darkie toothpaste packaging from Thailand in 1988

Darlie, also known as 黑人 ("black person") and formerly known as Darkie is a toothpaste brand of the Taiwan-based company Hawley & Hazel, which was acquired in 1985 by the US corporation Colgate-Palmolive, although the product is not marketed by Colgate-Palmolive. Darky, or darkie, is a term used primarily in the United States and Britain to refer to black people, and is generally considered a racial slur. The package featured an image said to have been inspired by an Al Jolson performance, that of a wide-eyed, smiling dark-skinned black male wearing a top hat, monocle and bow-tie; very similar to the Golliwogg in its racist caricature. Because of the contrast with very dark skin, it was a common misperception that the teeth of people of African descent were exceptionally white.[citation needed]

Due to changing sensibilities regarding race and racism and efforts by certain interest groups, flagrantly racist branding practices common in earlier decades began to end in the 1950s. In much the same way the tobacco brand name Nigger Hair had become Bigger Hare, the name of the toothpaste was changed in English-speaking markets to "Darlie" after the 1985 acquisition. Along with the name change, the image on the packaging was altered to reflect a less stereotypical, more contemporary one in much the same way the trademark character for Aunt Jemima pancake mix evolved over time.

However, the Chinese name of the brand, "黑人牙膏" (in English, "Black People Toothpaste"), has not changed; in fact, a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste".[citation needed] This is because the term 黑人 (black man) does not have any negative meaning in Chinese.[citation needed] The phrase 黑人 in Chinese is a general term for persons of sub-Saharan African descent.[citation needed] Darlie continues to be one of the best selling brands of toothpaste in Taiwan.[citation needed]

The toothpaste is very popular in some Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and India.[citation needed]

Popular culture


A pencil case shaped like a toothpaste tube, with a picture of Barack Obama wearing a top hat

  • Darlie toothpaste-shaped novelty items such as pencil cases are widely available in parts of Asia, each with a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama wearing a top hat.[1][2]


External links

it:Darlie zh:黑人牙膏

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