Darlie (Chinese: 黑人, hēi rén, or "black people") is a toothpaste brand of the Taiwan-based company Hawley & Hazel, which was acquired in 1985 by the US corporation Colgate-Palmolive. At that time the original name was "Darkie". Darky, or darkie, is a term used primarily in the United States and Britain to refer to black people. 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 bowtie. Because of the contrast with very dark skin, it was a common perception that the teeth of people of African descent were exceptionally white.
Due to changing sensibilities regarding race and racism and efforts by certain interest groups, blatantly 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 Man Toothpaste"), has not changed; in fact, a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste."
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