A video of a “racist soap dispenser” failing to recognize the hand of a black man, but working perfectly fine for his white friend, has attracted a ton of attention online.
The video shows a white man holding his hand beneath a soap dispenser, which uses its built-in sensor to detect the motion, before squirting the soap into his hand. However, when his black friend attempts to do the same, the motion sensor doesn’t detect his hand, leaving him soap-less.
The video was first shared by Chukwuemeka Afigbo of Lagos, Nigeria, with it being used as an example of “the importance of diversity in tech and its impact on society.” In response to the video, Twitter user @Kaitlinsm wrote: “Maybe if the company that designed this employed a single dark skinned person they’d have found this problem earlier.”
Watch the video below:
If you have ever had a problem grasping the importance of diversity in tech and its impact on society, watch this video pic.twitter.com/ZJ1Je1C4NW
— Chukwuemeka Afigbo (@nke_ise) August 16, 2017
Though this fault is unintentional on behalf of the soap dispenser’s manufacturers, it’s a glaring oversight that has been roundly mocked online. Explaining why the dispenser likely didn’t recognize the man’s hand, one Twitter user wrote: “[It’s] probably infrared. Doesn’t detect infrared emitted from the hand, it’ll have a bulb and expects a certain amount to bounce back. Dark hands reflect less back.”