08 May 2010

Racist tooth paste?

Dear TCG

I heard that in China there is a racist tooth paste brand, can you confirm. [heavily edited due to excessive ranting, run on sentences and a hundred other things too]

Regards

Ricardo

Dear Ricardo

You are semi right there is or was a tooth paste which might have triggered racist connotations, it was the darlie toothpaste brand. A Taiwanese companie made a toothpaste called Darkie. Notice the change over time eh?

They marketed it as such in that due to the contrast of the dark skin of black people when they smiled their teeth looked whiter than white this was in the days of old school advertising before photoshop a insidious tool allowing people to manipulate images to the way they wanted them to look (i.e. unreal). Hell even website designers use such colour contrast techniques.

Anyway the company was bought out by Colgate in 1985 and only bothered to change this in 1990 as per this video:



This looks bad right? Well it isn't in that Darkie in Chinese is

黑人牙膏



黑=Black

人=person/human

牙=Tooth/teeth

膏=paste/gel



Therefore there is no racism behind this, unlike say


The qualifier in this is the absence of 死 'si' literally death. Which you put in front of words such as Laowai, Gweilo etc and it becomes somewhat insulting.

Ahem this isn't to say China isn't racist far from it, but this is a post for another time.

TCG








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