Daily Archives: April 24, 2012

BLOG – A Brief History of HK’s Racist Toothpaste 4

A once local Chinese brand, the character on the boxes of Hong Kong’s favourite toothpaste is apparently based on Al Jolson. Back in the 1920’s it was thought that  “Jolson’s wide smile and bright teeth would make an excellent toothpaste logo.”

Darkie toothpaste’s parent company, Hawley & Hazel Group, was bought by Colgate-Palmolive in 1985. After three years of dismissing criticism as ‘irrelevant’ to Asia, they finally changed the name to ‘Darlie’ though the Chinese name remains “Black Person Toothpaste”. In fact, although the company issued a worldwide apology, their promotional materials in Chinese stated that “Only the English name is being changed. Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste.”