Between 1947 and 1958, B.C. Sugar—western Canada’s largest sugar manufacturer—ran six major advertising campaigns that depicted Black people as laborers on sugarcane plantations. One of these campaigns, moreover, played upon offensive stereotypes of Black men as happy-go-lucky, childlike, and suited for manual labor. Analyzing the reach, content, and significances of these campaigns, this article suggests that despite increased civil and human rights advocacy in the 1940s and 1950s, at least one major Canadian corporation persisted in distributing anti-Black racist advertising. Such persistence reveals that white supremacist sentiment was entrenched in western Canada during this time. It also suggests that the western Canadian sugar industry particularly, and the North American food industry more generally, have been prone to anti-Black racism within advertising.
Anti-Black Racism in Food Advertising: Rogers’ Golden Syrup and the Imagery of White Supremacy in the Canadian West
Donica Belisle is Associate Professor of History at the University of Regina, situated on Treaty 4 lands with a presence in Treaty 6. She is writing a book on the global history of Canadian sugar. Previous books include Purchasing Power: Women and the Rise of Canadian Consumer Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2020) and Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada (University of British Columbia Press, 2011).
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Donica Belisle; Anti-Black Racism in Food Advertising: Rogers’ Golden Syrup and the Imagery of White Supremacy in the Canadian West. Gastronomica 1 May 2021; 21 (2): 14–27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.2.14
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