Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Negro candy shocks some...

A bag of Hungarian Negro candy.

To begin with, Hungarian Negro candy has nothing to do with racism or insulting black or African people. Negro candy, pronounced as “NAY-GROW”, has been produced for decades in Hungary. Since 1980, the candy has been produced by the company Győri Keksz. Győri is now owned by France's Danone group, which still continues to manufacture the popular candy. This type of candy is also produced in Serbia under the same name. Many Hungarians love to eat this candy, my own grandmother used to eat bags of Negro while reading her daily newspaper in her old age.

Negro candy is Hungary's leading brand of hard candy and throat lozenge. It is among Hungary's best known consumer products. According to factory lore, the candy was named after an Italian confectioner named Pierto Negro. In the 1920s, Pierto Negro looked to create a new type of hard candy while finding ways to use the byproducts from the production of sour candies. He would eventually create the hard candy now known as Negro candy.

The word Negro or negro is not an insulting or racist word. In many European languages, the word negro means the colour black. Negro is also an abbreviation of the word Negroid which is the scientific classification for people with black backgrounds or heritage. The Hungarian candy Negro comes in many flavours but the most popular one is the black coloured candy, hence the name Negro. From time to time on the internet or on the news, you hear about black or African people who get upset when they find out about this candy. 

 The man in this YouTube video is holding the Serbian version of Negro candy.

The most recent case is that of 50 Cent's recent blog post about Negro candy. 50 Cent is the famous black rapper in the United States. He wrote about the candy and how he thought the candy was made as a racist insult against black people. Unfortunately, many people in the west and in America don't know about the history of the candy. There is now an uproar by blacks and the politically correct establishment about the name of the candy. Hungarians on the internet have now come to the defence of Negro candy on blogs and message boards. 

The name of the candy was not meant to insult and it has actually been around in Europe even before the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the 1960s. Another recent controversy occurred with the candy in 2003, when a Serbian refugee in the United States gave out the candy to children during Halloween. One of the children, who happened to be black, got so upset when she received the candy. She thought that the person giving the candy out was racist and she interpreted it as a racist insult and cried all the way home. The poor man who gave her the Negro candy was not trying to insult anyone and didn't figure that the candy would hurt anyone. He just wanted to be nice to the children by giving them candy at Halloween. As a non-English speaker he didn't know that the candy might offend a black child. 

With globalization, we can see that the cultures of the world are coming into contact with each other at a faster rate than ever before in history. Due to the speed of the internet and the growing access to it, and the fact that there are more blacks in Europe, it was only a matter of time before the issue of Negro candy was going to get blown way out of proportion. I really don't think that the name of Negro candy will have to be changed anytime soon. The word itself is not racist and simply means the colour black in many languages, especially in the Latin languages in Europe (Italian, Spanish, French etc.).

I think that the ones that are most offended by the name are those of the politically correct establishment, the majority of whom are white and not black. The sad thing about the politically correct establishment is that they even have the nerve to tell other cultures what is appropriate (politically correct) and what isn't (offensive). Hungarians really don't know what all the fuss is about regarding the name of the candy. They just know that it is one of their most cherished candies and it happens to be called Negro.

50 Cent's blog post about Hungarian Negro candy: 

More information about Hungarian Negro candy: