Campaigners have attacked British makers Paladone for its latest range of dish cleaning products which caricatures black soul legend Diana Ross as having a brillo pad for a hairstyle.
The offending items, which have just gone on sale across the UK, have been lambasted for reinforcing negative stereotypes.
The Unite Against Fascism general secretary Weyman Bennett said: ‘What are we going to have next, toilet brushes like that? This is not appropriate for the 21st century to show images like that. It reinforces negative stereotypes and ideas.”
“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.”
Mr Bennett, who has been campaigning for almost thirty years, warned: “It opens the door for people to produce racial stereotypes and that’s not something we want to see in our society.”
“We’ve worked very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. That’s can’t be a positive thing in the 21st centry that we are using images that were really invented in periods of slavery and discrimination.”
Mr. Bennett aimed a stinging attack directly at the company behind the products and called on them to be take off the supermarket shelves.
Mr Bennett said: “They need to think again. Is there no way they can come up with positive views of people without just using negative views of black people. Trying to compare black people to brillo pads is not a really positive image – it’s not appropriate.’
Paladone said the product had been a phenomenal success since hitting the shelves.
But its attempts to give the humble cleaning implement a funky 70s disco makeover have evidently offended some.
A company spokesman said: “Our range of four washing up sponges are designed to make an everyday chore like washing up more fun. The Disco, Beehive, Punk and Diva have sold hundreds of thousands of pieces. They have been a phenomenal success.”
Maybe if they develop a Kurt Cobain Mop head, Mr. Bennett might feel better.
Attribution: Tom Gardner