The NAACP has joined the ranks of those opposed to New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary sodas. The organization’s New York chapter claimed in court on Wednesday that while obesity is a significant problem in the black and Latino community but the ban would “would disproportionately hurt minority-owned small businesses, which faced competition from larger convenience stores like 7-Eleven that would be exempt from the soda restrictions because of a quirk in New York’s regulatory structure.”
The nytimes revealed the NAACP’s ties to soda companies like Coca-Cola and the initiatives they support like Project HELP, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People health education program. Instead of the ban or a soda tax they recommend “a more holistic program to attack the problem, including an increase in financing for physical education programs in public schools.”
I’m no fan of our imperial three-term-mayor Bloomberg but I’m also no fan of soda or obesity in black, Latino, and poorer communities. The NAACP’s suggestion of a health program is an interesting one, however it seems to target children, and they are not the heads of households that buy sodas for families. Nice try. Also many New York City public schools are already underfunded and the education system here is rife with charter school fiascos. Where would the schools get funding for health initiatives when class sizes are still over 30 students per class in many places?
Corporations like Coca-Cola and McDonalds sponsor many scholarships and initiatives with black and Latino organizations so we should expect their hands to be tied and unusual levels of loyalty from those who approve or indirectly benefit too.
Better approaches to slowing or halting the consumption of soda would have to come from outside Bloomberg city government and NAACP/small minority business owners matrix. There’s room for education, community gardens, even movies like Soul Food Junkies or Food Inc that get people talking about food, health, and corporations that don’t have your best interest at heart. We need to make those discussions a priority because all kinds of people are dying due to diseases that are typically found in industrialized nations and the diet associated with the United States in particular.
Photo Credit: Chris Jordan‘s “Can’s Seurat” (2007) is 60×92″ and it “depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.”
Do you think the mayor is right for banning the sale of soda over 16 ounces? Do you think the NAACP is right for joining the lawsuit against the city? What do you think is the best way to get folks to stop drinking soda?