Darlie (Chinese: 黑人; literally: "black person"), formerly known as Darkie, is a toothpaste brand of Hawley & Hazel Chemical Company (Official Slogan: 'Powering Your Smile.'). 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 Kingdom and United States to refer to black people, and is now generally considered disrespectful. The packaging featured an image of a wide-eyed, smiling dark-skinned black male wearing a top hat, monocle and bow-tie, an image resembling minstrelsy.
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 to avoid racial misunderstanding. However, 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 continued to be sold in some Asian countries, including China, Malaysia and Thailand where its brand and logo are not considered offensive. Colgate announced the product would not be sold outside of Asia. As of 1989[update], the toothpaste held a 75% market share in Taiwan, 50% in Singapore, 30% in Malaysia and Hong Kong and 20% in Thailand.
The brand received an increase of both popularity and infamy in 2004, after the toothpaste, along with other allegedly racist 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 be a genuine product.
- Stone Fish, Isaac (2010-11-30). "Back to the Days of Blackface". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2010-12-02.
- "Darkie drops offensive name and logo". Straits Times. 1989-01-29. p. 6. Archived from the original (JPEG) on 2015-12-02.
- hkcfphobia (2007-08-01). "【HKTVC】Darlie 黑人牙膏 1990/20sec". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "'Darkie' toothpaste puts company in a squeeze". Baltimore Afro-American. 1986-03-01. Retrieved 2015-12-04 – via Google.
- Whiting, Kenneth L. (1989-04-17). "Darkie Toothpaste Changes Name". Singapore. Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- McCarthy, Todd (2004-03-09). "Review: ‘C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America’". Variety. Retrieved 2013-10-29.