Consider the following:
1) I adore milk chocolate and eat a lot of it. If Americans eat, as claimed, about 12 pounds of chocolate per year each, then I’m doing the work of two or three.
2) I encourage my English 100 composition students to write their research papers on topics that they want to learn more about, and they often learn amazing things about pretty ordinary subjects.
3) I very much admire Quaker John Woolman, who wore undyed cloth because slaves in the South grew and processed indigo. Woolman also urges us to examine our possessions and habits to see if they contain the “seeds of war” or oppression.
Combine those three points and imagine my horror when I was helping a student do some research for a paper on chocolate and learned that all of our big, multi-national chocolate companies (M&M/Mars, Hershey, Nestle, etc. and SEE’S*) buy cocoa from the Ivory Coast, where extensive child slave labor has been known to be used on cocoa farms since at least 2001. The companies have done little to change this (including successfully lobbying against a US congressional effort to label chocolate sort of like tuna: Slave Free).
*Sigh* now I just can’t eat the stuff.
Fair trade chocolate is slave-free, of course, as is organic since Ivory Coast doesn’t do organic farming and organic farms must be inspected and certified, but a) do you know what that stuff costs? and b) they do very little milk chocolate. Evidently the chocolate connoisseurs who eat fair trade and organic prefer dark chocolate. Bastards! Where’s a middle-aged English teacher with ethics and creamy, delicate sensibilities supposed to find fair trade milk chocolate in rural Iowa?!
Okay, so my pain isn’t as bad as, say, that of a chocolate farm slave.
I’m going to have to switch to Red Vines licorice as my paper grading reward, and only one store here sells hat — Walmart (talk about a rock(candy) and a hard place). Everywhere else in town, it’s Twizzlers, which is the Devil’s own candy.
*See’s milk chocolate covered butterscotch squares and dark chocolate covered raspberry cremes –*sigh* If only I’d known the last time I had them that it was the last….naw. I still would have scarfed them down.