There is an old adage that says to never bite the hand that feeds you. It shows a certain level of ungratefulness and takes the risk of turning that helping hand against you.
That seems to be where certain minority groups stand at the moment as it pertains to regulating sugary beverages in New York City. A New York State judge recently struck down Mayor Mike Bloomberg's ban on large sodas, a measure that's garnered much objection from minority groups that receive a lot of dough from the beverage industry.
A report by the New York Times reveals that soda companies have sponsored conferences for the National Hispana Leadership Institute, scholarships for local chapters of the NAACP, financial literacy classes offered by the National Puerto Rican Coalition and programs from the National Hispanic Medical Association.
With written support from the New York chapter of the NAACP and Hispanic Coalition for the beverage industry's effort to stop Bloomberg's ban, the judge ruled on Monday that the limits would be “arbitrary and capricious” because they would apply unequally to some establishments and to different kinds of sugary beverages.
Here's the conflict: minorities are most affected by obesity, diabetes and heart disease. These sodas contribute to the ailments, whether banning them is part of the solution or not. But for some of the major minority groups, the relationships date back decades, even to the industry's early embrace of the Civil Rights Movement.
Officials at PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have said there is no connection between grants to community groups and their positions on soda bans. But how are you supposed to bite the hand that feeds you?