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Racist Soaps Apparently Sell Well

Horrible Racist Soaps Cause Controversy in Indiana

In disheartening and terrible news, 19th century minstrelsy-inspired soaps are selling well for one particularly unpleasant shop in Indiana. Store owner Gary Dewester and his wife, Kim, are selling soaps with names like "Kolored Kids" and "Darkie", which also feature disgusting "old-timey" caricatures. Mr. Dewester claims that the soaps are antique, but two Black Americana experts have averred that soaps with these labels never existed and are actually "fantasy items" created in the modern day.

When a reporter confronted Mr. Dewester, a public defender, about profiting off gross racism, his response was as follows: "Racism? Our country was built on racism. If it didn't sell, we wouldn't sell it." He added that many of his customers found the soaps amusing, and that anyone who was offended was too politically correct. "How about gay people in our country?" he mused. "Would they be offended by 'Gay Johnny' and 'The Fairy' soap?" Well, since you asked, yes.

What would you do if you encountered a product with packaging like this?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
^^ Screwy anonymous comments. Bella single-handedly destroyed this innocent man's entire life... no one before Bella ever ran this story. And now no one in the whole world will shop at his store. Right.... that sounds like reality to me.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
Lots of interesting comments here. Re: "blondie," one difference is that blondes have not been discriminated against or victims of hate crimes the way that African-American people have. There weren't "blondes only" restrooms, for instance. "Blondie" was never used throughout the country as a hateful word.Anon at 11:46 pm, I agree with a lot that you wrote. Words like "darkie" and "colored" have a long and ugly history in our country. I also agree with you, Francoise -- seems like some people pull out the "you're just politically correct" argument when people make legitimate complaints. And yeah, these aren't antique soaps. They're being made in the present day for people who think such things are "funny." Hellokitty, the videos in the story address his job as a public defender. We chose not to embed any of them because we didn't want that kind of imagery on our site, even within the context of a news report.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
Lots of interesting comments here. Re: "blondie," one difference is that blondes have not been discriminated against or victims of hate crimes the way that African-American people have. There weren't "blondes only" restrooms, for instance. "Blondie" was never used throughout the country as a hateful word. Anon at 11:46 pm, I agree with a lot that you wrote. Words like "darkie" and "colored" have a long and ugly history in our country. I also agree with you, Francoise -- seems like some people pull out the "you're just politically correct" argument when people make legitimate complaints. And yeah, these aren't antique soaps. They're being made in the present day for people who think such things are "funny." Hellokitty, the videos in the story address his job as a public defender. We chose not to embed any of them because we didn't want that kind of imagery on our site, even within the context of a news report.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 5 years
People really need to stop saying things like "you're being too politically correct" to excuse their racism. It's still gross racism no matter what you choose to call it. The anonymous comment that has the time 11:46 says pretty much what I would say.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 5 years
Actually there were products produced like those, but not under the same names. Things like tar soap did feature cartoons of a black person... and I've seen vintage ad's not only in America, but in Europe. Soaps that claimed to lighten your skin tone used the same theme. While it is distasteful in modern times, people buy the stuff.... just like they buy penis shaped macaroni. Fyi... I didn't buy either.
junebrug junebrug 5 years
I'm also curious HelloKitty. If he really is, even in a round about way, a government employee, he can't say things like that. Well he can do whatever he wants but he will get fired for discrimination.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
It shouldn't be that hard to prove they're not antiques, I mean all you have to do is open one up and see if it looks 80 years old or not. Yeah, this offends me. From the article: "Why would you want to be making a profit off of racism? Gary: Because it's a legal product But don't you have a moral principle not to promote something like this? Gary: In our country the almighty dollar says it all, ma'am ... There's nothing funny about racism. Gary: Alright, that's your opinion." Silver are you from the US? I thought 'darkie' was equally offensive country-wide.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
It shouldn't be that hard to prove they're not antiques, I mean all you have to do is open one up and see if it looks 80 years old or not.Yeah, this offends me. From the article:"Why would you want to be making a profit off of racism?Gary: Because it's a legal productBut don't you have a moral principle not to promote something like this?Gary: In our country the almighty dollar says it all, ma'am...There's nothing funny about racism.Gary: Alright, that's your opinion."Silver are you from the US? I thought 'darkie' was equally offensive country-wide.
HelloKittyMini HelloKittyMini 5 years
@Bellasugar in your blog post you write that he is a public defender, but I don't see that in the original story. Do you mind posting a link to your source that this person is also public defender (i.e. a person who charged with protecting the constitutional and statutory rights of those charged with crimes). Thanks.
Silvers567 Silvers567 5 years
Nothing. Should Blondie ruffle my feathers too? Racism and racial sensitivity or lack thereof, are very subjective to cultures. Look up Harina Blanca Flor, the most common household item in South America. Lighten up, no pun intended. The word darkie in fact means nothing, it is a word for someone with dark skin, African or otherwise. And a colored kid is a dark skinned child, so what.
TammyO TammyO 5 years
These people sound like royal asses!
elramos elramos 5 years
Wow! Are people really that stupid?
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