Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let's have a quick conversation about toothpaste

There I was, hungover, at a friend's house with no toothbrush, looking for some toothpaste to at least make it smell like I'd brushed my teeth (no judgement, you've all been there). And then I see it. Darlie's toothpaste. "Gee, that's looks a little off color... because of it's color," I thought. But I was not in the mood to think.

Then I'm at the grocery store, looking to buy some cheap toothpaste. Last time I bought toothpaste in Thailand, I got some weird sea salt paste. And, of course, the cheapest stuff was Darlie. I picked it up, looked at the smiling black man in the top hat, with the words "Smiling White" underneath it.

Now, the moment of truth, do my morals keep me from buying this minty minstrel paste? Or do I buy it for novelty... and because I'm broke? Well, I consulted my two friends. "No," one friend said. "Of course it's not racist. He's not even a black guy." Yeah, he's not a black guy and I don't have a dental hygeine problem.

So I buy the stuff. It's almost like if a membership to the Klan came in spearmint.

So, as Enid appreciated Coon's chicken in "Ghost World," I can appreciate my new Darlie toothpaste, a toothpaste that makes a killing in Asia, I might add. I get the box of toothpaste home and crack it open, to find Chinese characters on it. Ishow it to my friend, who can read the language and I hear, "Oh no. Yeah, that is racist." What did it say? "Darlie. The Black Man's Toothpaste. Smiling White."

As it turns out, it used to be called Darkie's Toothpaste. Who'da thunk?

Oops. But, I have to say, it's so offensive, I can't not use it. It keeps my tooth brushin' ritual nice and political. In the end, it just matters what my other friend said when I bought it. "Molly, that stuff doesn't work."

That should've been good enough.

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