A Can of Watermelon-Flavored Soda: Another Racist Depiction? (w/Update)

Watermelon Soda, made by Cawy Bottling Co., was first bottled in 1948, in Cuba.  It probably hasnt had a label makeover since (Courtesy: Cawy Bottling Co.)

Watermelon Soda, made by Cawy Bottling Co., was first bottled in 1948, in Cuba. It probably hasn't had a label makeover since (Courtesy: Cawy Bottling Co.)

UPDATE: The company that makes Watermelon Soda has 50 employees and is located in Miami, FL, but its products appear to be targeted towards Latinos, especially Cubans. It certainly doesn’t look as if Cawy Bottling Co. has entertained a label makeover since 1948, when it was first manufactured. The company came here after the Cuban Revolution of 1959. They make several fruit-flavored drinks, including Materva, which is a yerba mate drink that claims to improve health.

Cawy Bottling also manufactures Jupiña and Coco Solo. Its products are distributed throughout the US, Canada, Spain, and Central America. Cawy’s first soda marketed to Americans was Cawy Lemon Lime.

If you want to complain to the Cawy Bottling Company, write or call:

Cawy Bottling Co., Inc.
2440 NW 21st Terrace
Miami, FL 33142
FL Tel. 305-634-8669
Toll Free 877-917-2299
Fax 305-634-2291


Cawy’s yearly earnings as of 2008 was $5.8 million. Hardly Coca Cola. But there are plenty of racist depictions of Native Americans and blacks in Canada, Spain, and Central America, too. Give them a nudge.

One last point, this Target is either in Washington Heights/The Bronx.


I dunno. It would have been a problem for me if the soda had been packaged without the white kids in evidence on the cans as well. That is, the black child would the ONLY child shown on the cans. But it isn’t.

The can with the black girl character is like a physical mirror image of the white boy, but made pigtailed, dark-skinned and female. In some ways, it becomes a kind of blackface illustration.

Don’t get me wrong: these are some difficult, crazy times. We have a mainstream media that continually demonizes black people, and this includes advertising that belittles or demeans black humanity, and even a hip-hop industry that may stoop to minstrelsy to sell a product. Having a black president hasn’t ended racism or created that post-racial utopia. I think that when people see it, they oughta call it, but we may also have to create room to discuss what is and what isn’t a racist depiction.

I think that whoever packaged this can was stupid. Racist, probably. But stupid, yes. I’d like to know who put this product together and where. China? Mexico? New Mexico? And who within the Target organization chose it for the New York market, without an ounce of common sense? Is it showing up elsewhere in the country? Those are the questions that also need to be asked.

~ by blksista on October 18, 2009.

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