The Chicago-based Wrigley Company is known for a lot of things, including its classic Wrigley Gum and Wrigley Field. But for this year’s celebration of LGBT Pride Month, they are now known for something else. Rainbow colors are a hallmark of the LGBT community, based on a history mired in positive and negative associations for some of the specific colors. Jewish gays were forced to wear pink triangles on their clothes during the Holocaust, while other colors were used regionally as an indication of LGBT orientation. In 1978, Gilbert Baker of San Francisco developed the first rainbow flag representing the positive aspects of the LGBT community. Since then, the rainbow flag has become associated with the community worldwide. Alternatively, the Wrigley company has used the rainbow and their catchphrase “Taste the Rainbow” to represent the fruit flavors in their Skittles candy. There is no direct association known between the flag and the candy. But in light of Pride Month, Wrigley has decided to take a step back, and let the LGBT community have their moment to shine.
In England and Germany, Wrigley will be producing white Skittles from March through September so that the rainbow visual will shine a bit brighter for the LGBT communities there. There is, of course, plenty of controversy surrounding the move; however, we at the Alpha Policy Forum wish more companies would have the courage to stand behind the convictions that support civil rights in all its forms. Sure, we would have liked to see the move utilized globally, but we’re happy about the progress. Communities of color must push companies to adopt policies that positively impact our own citizens, and not just rely on minority-owned firms to do all the heavy lifting. Hiring practices that include job training, fair and living wages for employees, and morally positive corporate policies should not be the exception but the norm in today’s corporate-driven world.
For now, we are happy that one company decided that doing the right thing is worth the effort.