A British company is facing controversy after releasing a new line of quirky dishwashing sponges. The sponges, by Paladone, are mini-replicas of black folks with huge brillo pad afros ment to scrub dishes clean. One product, dubbed “Diana Wash” is based on Motown legend Diana Ross’ ‘70s ‘fro, and many are wondering if the company crossed the line.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) general secretary Weyman Bennett told the Daily Caller that his group found the products to be offensive because they are reminiscent of “minstrels” and compare black hair to tough brillo pads.
“What are we going to have next, toilet brushes like that?”
“Although it’s aimed at being humorous, sometimes it’s not funny, we’ve spent 40 years removing racist imagery out of general politics, removing golly wogs, removing black and white minstrels, and it would be a shame if it crept back in,” he told the Daily Caller.
Despite the criticism, the company says its products—which also include sponges with punk rocker and beehive hairstyles—are simply meant for fun and are not offensive.
“Our range of four washing up sponges is designed to make an everyday chore like washing up more fun,” a company spokesman said. “The Disco, Beehive, Punk and Diva have sold hundreds of thousands of pieces. They have been a phenomenal success.”
But Bennett isn’t so sure. He says products like these open the door for more overtly offensive products to make their way back to market.
“It opens the door for people to produce racial stereotypes and that’s not something we want to see in our society, he said. “We’ve worked very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. That’s can’t be a positive thing in the 21st century that we are using images that were really invented in periods of slavery and discrimination.”
What do you think? Are the products cute or offensive? Speak on it!