What’s The Connection Between Racism And Candy?

Candy store
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 31, 2020

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.

#5: Pickaninny candy was mild compared to chocolate covered nuts called “Nigger Heels,” or “Nigger Toes.” The ad had a cowboy in blackface whose feet were oversized Brazil nuts dipped in chocolate! 

Do you know if your favorite treat has a history of being not so sweet to our people?

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