The horror! The horror! Chinese TV commercial is racially insensitive toward blacks

Having first arrived in Asia 49 years ago, I suppose I qualify as an “old Asia hand.”  As such, I am amply acquainted with the jarring and sometimes hilarious differences in racial sensitivities between societies where 99.9% of the people are Asian and our own, far more racially diverse and subjected to decades of soul-searching over historical racism, segregation, and slavery long ago.

Virtually everyone above a certain age who traveled around Asia remembers “Darkie Toothpaste,” sold in Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and a few other countries – and, as I recall, a brand of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.  It was never sold in Japan, perhaps because of the presence of large numbers of American servicemen and women in a position to make a stink.

Sometime in the late 1970s, I think, it was replaced by “Darlie Toothpaste,” which retained the image of a grinning black man in minstrel-like garb.

China, a relative newcomer to globalism, is not acculturated to the racial taboos to nearly the same level.  Witness this television commercial for a laundry detergent strong enough to wash out the blackness from a black boyfriend and turn him into an Asian.

If you are not consumed with sensitivity, it is pretty hilarious.  But then again, I am just a callous white guy, I guess:

Hat tip: Marketwatch

Having first arrived in Asia 49 years ago, I suppose I qualify as an “old Asia hand.”  As such, I am amply acquainted with the jarring and sometimes hilarious differences in racial sensitivities between societies where 99.9% of the people are Asian and our own, far more racially diverse and subjected to decades of soul-searching over historical racism, segregation, and slavery long ago.

Virtually everyone above a certain age who traveled around Asia remembers “Darkie Toothpaste,” sold in Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and a few other countries – and, as I recall, a brand of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.  It was never sold in Japan, perhaps because of the presence of large numbers of American servicemen and women in a position to make a stink.

Sometime in the late 1970s, I think, it was replaced by “Darlie Toothpaste,” which retained the image of a grinning black man in minstrel-like garb.

China, a relative newcomer to globalism, is not acculturated to the racial taboos to nearly the same level.  Witness this television commercial for a laundry detergent strong enough to wash out the blackness from a black boyfriend and turn him into an Asian.

If you are not consumed with sensitivity, it is pretty hilarious.  But then again, I am just a callous white guy, I guess:

Hat tip: Marketwatch