A pack of Skittles contains 45 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 11 teaspoons. 11 teaspoons. Imagine shoving a spoon into a bag of sugar and eating 11 teaspoons without vomiting. Mars Wrigley, the company that makes Skittles, manages to sell a colorful concoction containing 45 grams of sugar that won’t make you vomit. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that consuming excess amounts will dramatically increase your risk of diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, black Americans are 60 percent more likely than whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. What does this have to do with Skittles? Mars recently released a new version of Skittles with the phrase “black trans lives matter” on the packaging.
Type 2 diabetes is attributable to lifestyle choices and genetics, both of which influence the prevalence of the condition across various demographics. These rational and fact-based explanations make the left squirm and offer no opportunity to demonize their political opponents, so they’re blaming the difference in diabetes rates on “racism.” Mars is a decidedly left-wing company, but oddly enough it isn’t the least bit concerned about its sugar-laden products contributing to alarming rates of diabetes among black Americans.
When your products are primary contributors to the obesity and diabetes epidemics, you can rightfully point out that nobody is forced to consume candy or other unhealthy food. As a defender of free markets, I embrace this thinking. But if you sell nutritionally defunct garbage that causes some of your customers to become sick with life-threatening illnesses, what you cannot do is claim to be uniquely virtuous and deeply concerned about the well-being of your customers, especially when your own (flawed) logic suggests your products are exacerbating so-called health “inequities.”
There is nothing evil about selling candy, as many people enjoy it in moderation, but there is something cynical and evil about playing on the emotions of black Americans by way of racial advertising as you sell them products you know to be severely detrimental to their health.
Mars is supposedly still a candy and food company, but you wouldn’t know that if you visited the Instagram page of Mars Global, which is dedicated entirely to promoting left-wing causes. Mars is also the maker of what used to be called Uncle Ben’s Rice until the company removed Uncle Ben from the box and rebranded it as “Ben’s Rice.” At the time, Mars issued a statement saying, “We’ve listened. We’ve learned. We’re changing.” Considering this was three years ago, I think it’s safe to say that refusing to sell junk food that drives the epidemic of diabetes was not part of Mars’ newfound enlightenment.
Mars is not alone. Other corporations selling equally harmful food products have chimed in to demonstrate their faux morality and supposed obsession with the plight of black America and other minorities.
James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, was apparently devastated over Georgia’s voting law that passed a couple of years ago, suggesting it was “unacceptable” and “a step backwards.” Opponents of the law claimed it was intended to attack the voting rights of black Americans. Their reasoning goes something like this: If a law disproportionately affects a group of people, it is by default problematic (by that logic, laws against murder are problematic). Quincey believes that requiring a photo ID to vote is unacceptable because, according to people like him, black Americans can’t figure out how to get an ID. On the other hand, Quincey finds it totally acceptable to sell a product that by his own logic “disproportionately” affects the health of the very people he claims to care about, as blacks are more likely than whites to consume sugary drinks.
Like most large corporations, Coca-Cola has an entire section of its website dedicated to cliché sloganeering replete with left-wing buzzwords that together are the language of America’s credentialed but increasingly dimwitted corporate leadership class. Coca-Cola wants to make clear that they really, really care about minorities. They know who their customers are, and because they know black Americans are more likely than white Americans to consume sugary drinks, they demonstrate their commitment to “racial equity” by including only the most wholesome ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and caramel color. I know what you’re thinking, it’s too good to be true — they must be compensating by skimping on the sugar. Nope! One 20-ounce bottle is packed with 130 percent of your recommended daily sugar intake.
Kellogg’s, maker of some of America’s favorite sugary breakfast cereals, also dedicates a portion of its website to preaching about their morals, stating that they are “making sure tangible and intangible barriers are removed to ensure our company’s practices in the workplace, marketplace, and communities are best in class.”
It’s unclear what these “tangible” barriers might be. We are to assume Kellogg’s was forcing certain employees to work while literally chained to a desk, or while trapped in some sort of enclosure. Who writes this stuff? The landing page of Kellogg’s website brags about being “one of the original plant-based well-being companies,” the implication being that eating meat is so evil that anything that is not meat is by default worthy of admiration. As sellers of a plant-based product, big tobacco will be thrilled with this news.
You may recall that Quaker Oats (under the umbrella of PepsiCo) was feeling guilty about Aunt Jemima syrup a few years ago and decided to finally do something about it. What kept them up at night wasn’t the fact that their syrup is nothing more than a lab-created ooze laced with harmful ingredients that have nothing in common with actual maple syrup. That part they were fine with. What upset them was the “racist imagery” featured on the bottle. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but my quick math shows that approximately three black people in America had Aunt Jemima syrup on their list of concerns, and something like 10 million white leftists were having nervous breakdowns over it.
Whether it’s Mars putting “black trans lives matter” on a package or the rebranding of rice and syrup, these choices are nothing more than a symbolic sleight of hand intended to appease the neurotic activists within and outside these organizations while exempting themselves from their own ideological standards. These objectives have nothing to do with helping black Americans and everything to do with leftists making themselves feel better.
A contemporary theory suggests that this type of corporate wokeism is intended to improve ESG scores by impressing the likes of Blackrock and Vanguard, which in many cases is probably true, but we should not over-emphasize this factor. Leftism in corporate America predates ESG, and even smaller privately held companies that have no ESG score will peddle left-wing nonsense with the same vigor.
While some corporations have bled bottom lines by giving into ideological impulses, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Mars cares more about its sugar empire than they care about “black lives.” As Homer Simpson famously said, “First you get the sugar, then you get the power,” and Mars guards its sugar pile with the vigilance of Homer while hoping their increasingly sick customers don’t notice that it was accumulated at the expense of their health.