Monday, March 26th, 2012,
(WASHINGTON) —First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by the American Public Health Association and the Southern Poverty Law Center Monday in formally laying (partial) blame for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on the Mars Corporation and its popular candy, Skittles.
Mrs. Obama, along with APHA and the SPLC representatives formally addressed reporters Monday, stating that if it had not been for years of relentless targeting of American youth, particularly minorities, by Skittles ads for their unhealthy, addictive product, the Martin shooting would not have occurred.
From racism to profiling, to vigilantism, to “stand your ground” laws, to the Second Amendment, to conservative talk radio…the reasons for the February 26th shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin have grown as infamous as the story itself. Although conspicuously absent from the growing list of who and what to blame for the tragedy have been what Martin left his home for in the first place –Skittles. But now, and to great relief to many, not only have Skittles become a new focus of culpability for the tragedy, but the entire marketing practice of selling candies to minority youth, and even the seemingly innocuous treat’s very existence.
Said Mrs. Obama to reporters at the White House, “We know the power of advertising and sugar-infused confectionery on the children of this nation. And we know the disproportionate eating habits between Caucasian and non-Caucasian youth. …The facts are the facts: had Trayvon Martin and his siblings not been tricked into a lifestyle of sweetened snack servitude this awful tragedy would never have happened.”
Obama added that a grocery store on the opposite side of the neighborhood where Martin was shot offered healthier choices for snacks, such as apples, arugula, and oxygen-flavored rice paddies. Had Trayvon and his brother (for whom he was buying the Skittles) not been dragooned into sweet candy addiction by Skittles, Trayvon would have taken a different route; one that would have not put him on his fatal encounter with community watch captain George Zimmerman.
Skittles and its parent company, Mars, Inc., share responsibility for the shooting, according to Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. “These Skittles may seem like a harmless treat for kids,” said Benjamin, holding up a red Skittle contemptuously next to Obama, “but in reality they’re killers. Be it heart disease or high blood pressure, diabetes, or luring a young Black teenager into the path of a trigger-happy community watchman, these candies and their producers are no less guilty than (George) Zimmerman for this shooting last month.”
Christine Henderson, Florida’s Director of Advocacy for the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the nation’s largest and completely impartial civil rights organizations, agrees with Obama and Benjamin, confirming Monday that the SPLC was joining the First Lady and APHA in combating the deadly effects Skittles and similar candies have on minority youth. Apparently overlooking the allegation that Zimmerman uttered a racial slur on his 9-1-1 call during his pursuit of the 17-year-old Martin, Henderson said ultimate blame rests with Skittles and its “incessant quest to entice young African-Americans into a lifetime of superfluous sugary food consumption.” Skittles ads are dominated by White actors –a crafty but devious act of reverse psychology, claims Henderson.
Said Henderson in a press release Monday: “Unlike McDonald’s ads which depict a distinct African-American clientele, Skittles purposely displays mostly White Americans in their ads. So on the surface it appears Skittles are solely marketed to Whites, but in reality the message is reversed, subliminally, and helps drive African-American youth to their hazardous products…right into the paths of people like George Zimmerman.”
The SPLC added it was pleased to unite with First Lady Obama and the American Public Health Association around an issue that combines unhealthy dietary habits, racial stereotypes, states’ rights, gun control, and a teenager whose tragic death they can exploit to no end.
Skittles candy makes up only 2.5% of the Mars Corporation’s annual 30-billion dollars in revenue. However 2.5% of $30 billion is a lot, and deserves to be disseminated among the Martin family and any and all legal and civil rights organizations who have flocked to assist them in the aftermath of their tragedy, according to Henderson.
“This case is about discrimination," added Henderson. "It is about injustice. And it is about the racist marketing of extremely addictive products, and the heartfelt payouts due to that bigoted marketing, and the money owed to the Martin family and all those who have aided them through this ordeal.”
First Lady Michelle Obama did not mention the issue of a possible payout by the Mars Corporation if it is decided its marketing practices led to the uneven fixation non-White children have on cheap snacks containing sugar levels 1057% over FDA recommendations. Although Mrs. Obama echoed a sentiment expressed by the President last week, saying, “I would also like to restate something my husband has said: ‘we all have to do some soul searching.’ This is an awful incident that demands we all look into ourselves and reevaluate how we define ‘tolerance,’ as well as our eating habits.”
The Mars Corporation has yet to directly address the charges that it bears responsibility for the Martin shooting, and for addicting a lopsided amount of minority youth over the years to its deceitfully fun, colorful sugar pellets of death. However David Leinersky, an attorney for Mars issued a statement Monday on the company’s behalf:
“The Mars Corporation expresses its sincere condolences to the Martin family and all those affected by the Sanford tragedy. Although we plan to formally address the First Lady’s concerns over the chemical makeup and promotion of our products to certain socio-economic groups, we cannot respond to such concerns at this time, as we are too busy searching our souls.”