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“Seriously?”

What’s up, it’s George again. I wanted to start by asking you a couple of questions:

How would you feel if I used you to make me money?  What if I said, not only do I need you but I also need all of your black family members and friends as well. As a group you will make me and my product “trendy” or the norm in communities which in essence will make me more money. In exchange I will give you lots of unhealthy foods and sugary beverages that might lead you to an early death.

Think I’m kidding - A 2005 study published looking at childhood diabetes in the American Journal of Public Health said, "Unless current trends reverse, it seems likely that one-third of all children (anyone under 18 years of age) — and even higher proportions of black and Hispanic children — will develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime and can expect shortened life expectancy because of it."

I guess what I’m trying to ask you is…. Do you like the idea of giving me money, and in return I give you nothing but perhaps a shorter life? I’m pretty sure your answer would be NO, but I bet that you didn’t realize that is exactly what is happening when you have limited food and beverage choices that are mostly unhealthy in your community. These fast food and sugar sweetened beverage companies are taking your money in exchange for foods and drinks that can cause you harm. I bet you also haven’t realized that they are reaching out to specific ethnic groups like African Americans more than others. They are pushing out ads to African Americans trying to convince us to give them our money and they will provide us something of “value”.

For example, McDonalds came up with a program called “365Black”. The program is basically promoting 365 days of celebration of the African American culture through ads featuring African American celebrities.  I would understand if they were advertising healthy foods to us every day of the year, but they’re not. They are advertising unhealthy foods and beverages (like fruit blended smoothies filled w/ sugar).  I don’t understand how you are trying to celebrate someone, or their culture, by marketing them something that isn’t good for them or of “value". Their 365Black website says they are “deeply rooted in the community” but I want my community rooted in things that promote well-being not an early death. This whole program makes me sick, and I want to know if you feel the same way.  Sadly, this is just one example of the numerous food and beverage company targeted marketing programs that are out there. They all promote how they are giving back to black communities but they seem to be taking a lot more away from the community instead. Does this outrage you as much as it does me? Comment and tell me what you think.

George, SHIFT Crew Leader

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