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! 

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    dumb.

  • Dreaming

    I’m not offended. It wouldn’t be a product I bought myself though.

  • iQgraphics

    nah, not offended. I’d have one and never use it if I just saw it at the store.

  • dvine

    because they have different races and hair styles i’m not offended but i’m sure someone ignorant would compare our hair to the brillo for the afro..

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    me likey!!! :) Tired of everything and anything being a stereotype and racist. URRRRGH! Live and let be! Jesus died on the Calvary cross-lay your racial heavy loaded heart thurrr!

  • Yb

    Black bodies, and features are always up for objectification. I can’t even be mad anymore. I takes up too much energy. *sigh*

  • kidole

    I rock a fro & this is funny. The only thing i’m sick of seeing is afro’s only being associated with the 60s/70s!

  • lulu

    they have the beehive and the punk so its all good

  • The Taker

    It’s not offensive and I actually want one for myself.

  • I got sense!

    You too murch!

  • Georgia

    I like ‘em. You can buy the Diva and Punk on Amazon.

  • akosua

    We as black people need to wake up and yes we should be offended. It is only going to get worst b/c black women world wide are beginning to embrace their natural hair. Its a movement. Why bw are important? b/c women are the purveyors of culture. White people are smart enough to now what a movement is and its ability to change the status quo. which at this moment anything white. In addition, white people know the politics and psychology behind hair and skin color acceptance (even uneducated whites) especially among African American people. We are going to see an onslaught of images, parodies, of our natural hair b/c white people know they have to keep the brain washing machine going to counter this movement and in order for blacks to continue to believe our hair is a aberration, unnatural, not normal, ugly. You achieve this by debasing, associating it with something unflattering, making a mockery or joke of it, making it seem like it is a fad). Remember the article about a month go on bw in Brazil being ridicule about natural hair ….. white people ain’t messing around. They know what it takes to achieve world domination. Its black people who better wake up.

    Ask yourself this, how in the heck something as intimate and God given as hair can be a fad? That is why we associate the afro with a time period (60/70s). Afros & braiding are the authentic natural way to groom black hair. Period. We have been condition to believe that it is biological or a genetically developmental stage to get a perm. Thus, we’ve been condition to think our hair in its natural state is unnatural/not normal and that we have to do something to get it normal.

    So yes we do have to defend our image. It is call self-respect in which the system of white supremacy have seem to have neutralize for a large number of black people.

  • Tonton Michel

    Shheeeeeeet, I want to buy the set.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Chile, it’s anything for dollar these days and it’s using the KISS method to get it.

    I’m not so much offended as I feel sort of uncomfortable with this sort of thing.

    How does this rank against blackie toothpaste I wonder?

  • fffff

    How is it racist when they’re even white dolls ?

  • Seriously?

    Its racists because of the context of how they see “our” natural hair.
    Bad enough when curious non-black people ask about my hair/touching it and surprise to find its soft =3=
    And yes to have the mohawk means that the hair had to be nice and hard -same principal only, that is merely a design/fashion of a hair style and not a way some people with coarse hair grows out as.

  • c0c0puffz

    Why??????????!!!! Do they have to be dish scrubbers? Can’t they just be dolls?

  • Tricia

    I totally agree with your points! Don’t you find it amazing that noboby fights for anything any more! Look how many of “us” don’t have a problem with this product, but I want to know who thought about this idea, drew up the specs, approved it in meetings and then created a prototype of this product. No one found it at all offensive. Really!! No wonder people see Black people as angry because its only one or maybe two of us who acutally have testicular fortitude to say when something is wrong!

  • akosua

    I’m not trying to be mean b/c this is the kind of dialogue that is legitimate and needed for black people to wake up. But silly…. (referring to pic of white dolls picture above) …. That is not how white people’s hair naturally grow out of their skull. So for them it is not offensive. It can be considered art, or make believe to simplify it. That is the difference. Do you see a straight hair white doll up there being used as dish ‘rag’. No you don’t and you want. B/c white people want allow images of themselves to be depicted as buffoonery or in a pejorative way.

  • mamareese

    Aw this is cute!!!

  • http://www.purplekeychain.blogspot.com purplekeychain

    I’m here with you.

    I bet if the thing was made by a small, black owned company, folk would have them around their sink, though!

    My late grandmother’s friend used to make these dolls called “Dammit Dolls” — they were these little stuffed black dolls that looked like “pickininnies” and had their legs sewn together, and when you got fed up you were supposed to grab the doll by the legs and slam her against the table and yell “DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT!!!!!”

    Now, I bet if these were produced at Ikea, someone would have a fit and call racirm about slamming a “pickininnie” against a table. But because they were made by a black woman, they were perfectly acceptable and people got the joke. It’s no wonder white folks are always trying to trick us into thinking that their products are made and/or endorsed by black folk.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    It’s silly, but I am not offended.

  • Chrissy

    I must say

    You have really given me something to think about akosua……

  • The last laugh

    Actually I am offended and am surprised I’m in the minority. Are there any white blonde girl mops? No. This actually reminds me of something you would find in deep south back in the slave days.

  • http://musedmagonline.com Drew-Shane

    I laughed.

  • iQgraphics

    it’s not our “natural” hair.
    Do you know how much work goes into a perfect afro?
    Ask your mother. It’s was not easy to attain the proper height, width and texture.
    if you left your hair to grow out of your head naturally, only combing and washing it to maintain it, it would not resemble angie davis’ fro. SORRY.

    It’s also a sponge

    this is not the thing to cry about.

  • Velma

    One thing we (black people) need to understand is, that we aren’t the only ones who love afros. I’m not offended by this at all…..and considering that the product line carries various hair styles of past and current do’s…….I like it.

  • akosua

    @ iqgraphics excuse yourself from this b/c you are not black. If you were, you would know how your hair grows. Up[ & out like a halo. I don’t need to ask my mama. My hair is growing out my head now. The term ‘work’ when talking about our hair is again suggesting it is unnatural. My fro is not work. It is called pick, pat, and go. Don’t sounds like work to me.

  • Dalili

    +1

  • Tonton Michel

    @iQgraphics,

    Your right to have a Afro like that requires work and maintenance, you just do not grow out a fro like that which makes it on par with the Mohawk and Beehive. I could see it being questionable if the black ones were the only ones being sold or if they were made in a demeaning manner as in exaggerated facial features, but this actually is very positive looking. Wouldn’t mind them making dolls out of this.

  • iQgraphics

    @tonton
    exactly
    The beehive and all of the hairspray that a white woman would use on her natural hair to achieve that style is comparable with the all of the afro sheen and picking a black woman would use to achieve the afro style.
    It is a style

    @akousa
    You may continue to allow a sponge to objectify and marginalize you.
    That is your choice. More power to you.
    or
    should I say less power to you.

  • Cilla

    As a young black woman….,I do not find these offensive I even brought my sister one about a year ago…as I thought they were fabulous :-) xxx
    I think if you have a chip in your shoulder then you will find it offensive if not you won’t!!!!!
    I mean do you drink milk???it is White you know !!!!
    I think it’s political correctness gone mad!!!!
    There are people in the world dying and the good ole public are worry about bloody dish cleaning sponges :-) xxxxx

  • Yb

    You are an idiot. That is all.

  • akosua

    @ Tronton, iqgrphics: IQ it looks like you have company with tronton. Another nonblack troll.

    My last commenting on this matter. But for the true black people don’t buy into this
    attempt to compare beehives & mohawks to a fro. The beehive requires ww to manipulate hair and to alter the hair texture by using a foreign substance such as hairspray or whatever guck to create this unnatural hair style. A mohawk for a black person at the very minimum requires only a cut. For blacks, the upward growth and natural texture of hair do not need to be modified or manipulated. If white or nonblack try to achieve a mohawk, their hair would also need to be cut but guck MUST be applied to change the hair’s natural texture to make it into the style. The level of manipulation and hair altering techniques are non existence for the achievement of a fro which is just let it do its thing and grow (this is being spoken for experience). And cut out all this semantical bs. Regardless if the fro is tight & curly, a neo-fro, or symmetrical, God given black hair grows up, out and round forming a halo period. It is not an exaggeration or distortion of reality, it is reality.

  • Dreaming

    PurpleKeyChain

    Lol at ‘dammit doll’.

    Yea, people may have been more accepting of this had it been created by a Black person.

  • Tonton Michel

    You should do something about that temper of yours.

  • Ladybug94

    I think they are cute. I like things that look retro from the 70s. It’s not offensive to me. If they had only made white sponges then some folks would complain that they didn’t make something for blacks. Everything is not racial or racist. geesh.

  • iQgraphics

    @ akousa
    u can google me

    I am not a troll

    and you are over dosing on absolutely nothing

  • iQgraphics

    your personal truth regarding the pangs of your TWA are not factual.
    They are your personal truths and should not lead you towards name calling.

    You know you all the way wrong for that.

  • MsQuita

    No biggie since they have different hairstyles. Sometimes people need to lighten up.

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    Yea, since they have all different types, I don’t see a problem.

  • maria

    I’m surprised at all the comments. So if someone calls your natural hair a brillo pad you won’t be offended? I bet you would! So its ok to sell a black doll with brillo pad hair? I must be dreaming.

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    I’ll say I didn’t see the problem because the line isn’t saying that Black people have brillo pad hair. They have a line of multiple “retro” sponges, whites and blacks included.

  • dianne

    why not make one modelled on a freckle faced, curly haired red head, just like me? Then maybe we can all be friends again.

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