Soap with 'minstrel' label draws protest

Dec. 8, 2010 at 3:01 PM

NOBLESVILLE, Ind., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A store in central Indiana is brushing off criticism about selling soap with antique, racially offensive labels.

"As far as I'm concerned, we're conducting a legal business and if these people are upset about it, they don't have to come in the store," Gary Dewester, a shopkeeper in the Logan Village Mall in Noblesville, told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. "Again, if it didn't sell, we wouldn't have it in the store."

Joe Slash of the Indianapolis Urban League said he heard about the soap from an e-mail asking the Civil Rights Commission to investigate.

"There are people who still think minstrels and blackface comedy is OK, and it's not," he said.

Dewester said the novelty soap came from a Florida producer that sells Christmas soaps across the country.

"I don't believe in political correctness," he said. "I mean, trying to live your life so that you offend nobody in this world, is almost impossible as far as I can tell."

Another mall shopkeeper said the soap sounded offensive, and she asked that it be removed.

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