The German candy giant known as Haribo is under fire for releasing black liquorice candy called, “Skipper Mix” that have offended their customers. The candy is meant to represent a captain’s trip around the world, but many Swedish customers didn’t see it that way. They saw the faces in the likeness of African, Asian or Native American art and thought that these images were racist.
“I understand the criticism and think it’s important to listen to the customers,” the director of Haribo in Sweden, Ola Dagliden, told the Nyheter24 news site. ”It wasn’t something we saw as having negative connotations,” he said. After receiving an abundance of complaints about the cultural candy, Dagliden decided to pull the candy out of production.
I’m not so sure that this is racism. In fact, Africans, Asians and Native Americans rarely get to see themselves represented in everything from candy to the mainstream media. It’s actually flattering that the candy company would make a cultural candy so bold. And because it’s reminiscent of art, I think it should be seen as such–an appreciation and expression of culture. I agree with Dagliden; I would have never guessed a candy so forward would receive such backlash. These images are no more racist to me than the mascot for the Redskins or the stereotypically offensive images of Sambo.