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Omnivore - Should Skittles donate profits to Trayvon Martin's family?

The candy becomes a best-selling symbol

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  • Getty Images/Blueprint Creative Group

Starbucks becomes a symbol — both positive and negative — of gay marriage and now Skittles have become the candy du jour for very sad reasons.

The New York Times reports this morning:

At Spelman College, the historically black women's liberal arts school in Atlanta, the student government is buying Skittles in bulk and reselling them for 50 cents a bag to raise money for the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot and killed by a crime watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., last month carrying only a packet of the candy and a bottle of iced tea.

Similar actions are occurring all over the country, causing a significant spike in sales of the popular candy. Many are arguing that Wrigley, which makes Skittles, should give a share of the profits to Trayvon Martin's family. The company has yet to make a decision.

The Times article recalls when two products became similarly negative symbols:

Like Twinkies - whose poor nutritional value ended up as a legal defense in the 1978 murders of the San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, and Flavor-Aid, the powdered drink that the cult leader Jim Jones laced with cyanide to kill more than 900 people in Guyana that same year - Skittles has now entered the elite world of food products that have become symbols through no fault of their own.