Viral Video Of 'Racist' Soap Dispenser Sparks Debate On Twitter

The video has prompted a flurry of reactions on Twitter

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Viral Video Of 'Racist' Soap Dispenser Sparks Debate On Twitter

The video has collected over 2 lakh 'likes' and more than 1.4 lakh retweets so far.

An automatic soap dispenser has sparked a heated debate on Twitter after it was filmed dispensing soap to a light-skinned man but not to one with a darker skin tone. The video, posted by a Twitter user on August 16, has collected over 2 lakh 'likes' and more than 1.4 lakh retweets so far.

The video, posted by Chukwuemeka Afigbo and about 45 seconds long, first shows a man with a light skin tone putting his hand forward and the dispenser spurting soap into his hand. Then, a man with a darker skin tone is seen putting his hand forward. Only, this time, the dispenser doesn't spurt soap out. The man then goes on to pull out a white paper towel and places it on his hand. This time, the dispenser spurts the soap onto the paper towel.

"If you have ever had a problem grasping the importance of diversity in tech and its impact on society, watch this video," Mr Afigbo says in the tweet accompanying his video.
 
Back in 2015, a similar video sparked an outcry. The soap dispensers, filmed at a Marriott hotel in Atlanta, didn't seem to sense the hands of a dark-skinned man. "I tried all the soap dispensers in that restroom, there were maybe 10, and none of them worked," the narrator of the video, TJ Fitzpatrick, told Mic. Any time I went into that restroom, I had to have my friend get the soap for me."

Richard Whitney, VP of product at Particle, told Mic back in 2015 that such dispensers use infrared technology to dispense soap. When light from an infrared LED bulb reflects off of hands back to the sensor, the dispenser spurts out the soap. "If the reflective object actually absorbs that light instead, then the sensor will never trigger because not enough light gets to it," he told Mic.

The new video has prompted a flurry of reactions on Twitter. While some agree with Mr Afigbo, many others say flawed technology is to blame for this.
 
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