Darlie (Chinese: 黑人; literally "black person"), formerly known as Darkie, is a toothpaste brand of Hawley & Hazel Chemical Company. Established in Shanghai in 1933 and later based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Hawley & Hazel 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 United Kingdom to refer to black people, and is now generally considered a racial slur. The package featured an image of a wide-eyed, smiling dark-skinned black male wearing a top hat, monocle and bow-tie, very similar to the Golliwogg in England.
In 1990, after Colgate-Palmolive acquired Hawley & Hazel, the English name of the toothpaste was changed to "Darlie", and the image on the packaging was altered to show a racially ambiguous face in a top hat. The Chinese name of the brand, "黑人牙膏" (in English, "Black Person Toothpaste"), remains the same, and a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Person Toothpaste is still Black Person Toothpaste".
After the Colgate acquisition, the toothpaste remained in some Asian countries such as The People's Republic of China, Malaysia, and Thailand and was not considered offensive in these markets. Colgate assured the public that the product would not be sold outside of Asia. According to a 1989 article, the toothpaste held 75 percent of the market in Taiwan, 50 percent in Singapore, 30 percent in Malaysia and Hong Kong and 20 percent in Thailand.
The brand received a kick of both popularity and infamy in 2004, after the toothpaste, along with other Afrophobic brands, was featured in CSA: Confederate States of America which showed it as a fictional brand in the alternate history the film was set in; the credits after the film revealed it, along with most of the other brands, to have been an actual historic product.
- "Back to the Days of Blackface". newsweek.com. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Straits Times, 29 Jan 1989, p6. Article can be downloaded from http://www.mediafire.com/view/?2q4q1aikax00nnp
- hkcfphobia (1 August 2007). "【HKTVC】Darlie 黑人牙膏 1990/20sec". youtube.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "'Darkie' toothpaste puts company in a squeeze". Baltimore Afro-American. 1 March 1986. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Whiting, Kenneth L. (17 April 1989). "Darkie Toothpaste Changes Name". Singapore. Associated Press. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- McCarthy, Todd (9 March 2004). "Review: ‘C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America’". variety.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.