Can Technology Be Racist? Watch To Find Out.

Is this soap dispenser discriminating against black people?

Two guys were in a restroom at a Marriott Marquis in Atlanta when the automatic soap dispenser started acting up. While they performed the same basic hand motions, the soap dispenser worked for hands of a certain pigment, while refusing to work when the hand was another skin tone.


The guys tried out all ten dispensers in the bathroom, and they all reacted the exact same way! What could be going on here?

According to, the dispenser in this video uses near-infrared technology, which sends out invisible light from an infrared LED bulb for hands to reflect the light back to a sensor. The reason the soap doesn’t just foam out all day is because the hand acts to, more or less, bounce back the light and close the circuit. 

Could it be the lighter the skin, the more reflective and easily the sensor is triggered? Many say that the variation in skin tone isn’t significant enough to make a difference in how the technology works, but this video really makes us wonder!


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