Trick or treating became a national pastime once WWI ended. Add in soldiers with a military-induced sweet tooth, and racism had the perfect opportunity to swoop in. Here are five ways candy and racism go together.
#1: With the holiday came a rise in huge sugar companies – and small black-owned candy shops were run out of business.
#2: Of course candy companies were trying to make a profit, so they marketed differently to different markets. Whites were usually targets for luxurious and high end treats. Black people were often shown the cheaper, mass-marketed sweets.
#3: Candy companies also discriminated against our people when it came to hiring. Most of the higher-paying jobs were reserved for white women. The leftover jobs were given to white immigrants. Black workers rarely got jobs at all, unless it was in the janitorial department.
#4: Your favorite treats also were straight up racist when it came to candy images, from Black faces eating watermelon to a Black baby being used as “alligator bait.” Those names and images even went global! And it gets worse.