MooLatte bested.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
April 22 2005 5:44 PM

MooLatte, Bested

Please welcome an even more race-baiting ice cream product.

Click image to expand.

What is it, I wonder, about ice cream that compels its purveyors to give racial offense? Last year I pointed out Dairy Queen's questionable taste in marketing a light-brown frozen drink called the MooLatte. The name's similarity to the word "mulatto," when mentioned by the Houston Press to Dairy Queen spokesman Chad Durasa, was answered with heroically determined cluelessness. Durasa kept his poker face even when, in its Ali G.-style interview, the paper taunted him by suggesting that DQ market a "High Yellow Butterscotch Sundae," an "Octoroonie," or "Sambo's Extra Dark Triple Chocolate Shake."

This year's race-baiting ice cream product is Sweden's "Nogger Black," marketed by GB Glace, a unit of Unilever. (Thanks to David Goldenberg of Gelf magazine for bringing it to my attention.) "Nogger" is apparently an existing ice cream product, an ice cream bar previously available in vanilla encased in chocolate, with a nougat center. Nogger Black substitutes toffee for the nougat and encases the vanilla ice cream in "crispy salty licorice." Which, in addition to everything else, sounds a lot less appetizing. (Northern European cuisine suffers from a regrettable impulse to make everything taste like herring.) Licorice is black, hence "Nogger Black." That's GB Glace's story, anyway.


But it hasn't escaped notice that Nogger Black is, as the Local, a Swedish English-language newspaper, puts it, "dubiously entitled." Sweden's Centre Against Racism points out that the logo is rendered graffiti-style, which would seem to suggest that the association with black urban culture is deliberate. My guess is that GB Glace thought it was being "edgy" by emulating black hipsters who use the N word (but who certainly wouldn't condone its enunciation by any pale-skinned Swede). The company comes close to admitting this. "Even if the word 'black' in the logo is inspired by graffiti, we don't see anything wrong with that, nor about alluding to black culture or hip-hop," a GB Glace spokeswoman told Reuters. Not even when it's paired with a word that's one letter away from the most toxic racial epithet in the English language? "We certainly had no intention that the name, 'Nogger', would be associated with any negative word." This statement makes me want to summon a wide-eyed, rage-shaken, and magnificently dignified Sidney Poitier, circa 1966, to answer, "The word ... is Noggro!"

Maybe it's time to start a counteroffensive. The brother of a Slate colleague recommends that Ben & Jerry's test-market a new flavor called W.E.B. DuBoisenberry. I'll take a quart, please.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?