Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson last seen with $ signs in their eyes.
(NY Times) — Skittles are the candy of the moment.
Rashaun Collins, who owns the Discreetly Greek T-shirt company in Minnesota, slips a pack into every order he ships.
At Spelman College, the historically black women’s liberal arts school in Atlanta, the student government is buying Skittles in bulk and reselling them for 50 cents a bag to raise money for the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot and killed by a crime watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., last month carrying only a packet of the candy and a bottle of iced tea.
The candy has been piled into makeshift memorials, crammed into the pockets of thousands of people who have shown up at rallies in his name and sent to the Sanford Police Department to protest the lack of an arrest in the case.
Like the hoodie sweatshirt he was wearing, the candy has been transformed into a cultural icon, a symbol of racial injustice that underscores Trayvon’s youth and the circumstances surrounding his death. But in the offices of the company that makes Skittles, Wrigley, and its parent company, Mars, Skittles’ new level of fame has quickly become a kind of marketing crisis that is threatening to hurt the company even as sales improve. […]
On social media sites like Twitter, people are suggesting that Wrigley is profiting greatly from the tragedy and should donate money made since Trayvon’s death to the family or causes that would help with racial reconciliation or underprivileged communities. Some African-Americans are even asking people to stop buying Skittles until the company gets more involved in the case and donates money.
“I think we are at a dangerous position where we can make Wrigley richer,” said Rashad Moore, 22, president of the chapel assistants at Morehouse College.
Weldon McWilliams, a professor of African-American studies at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, said Wrigley should invest in communities where “murder based on stereotypes is a reoccurring theme.”
If they do not, African-Americans should not be promoting the product, Dr. McWilliams said. “I completely understand the symbolism, but let’s re-examine what we’re doing,” he said. “Will Wrigley’s reinvest that rise in profit that they see? I’m highly skeptical of that.”