Dining hall, at Pennsylvania’s The Hill School; Don Jr. and Eric Trump’s 9–12 alma matter. Image totally swiped w/o permission.

American Skittles

nina alter
Sep 21, 2016 · 4 min read

A bowl of Skittles is pictured, with the question: “If I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?” The individual asking the question is a young white American man. College educated, elite boarding-school reared, and the son of a presidential candidate; EVP of a major corporation, founded by his grandfather. Let’s look more closely at this analogy.

Each 2oz bag of Skittles averages 54 pieces of candy. Having worked at a bulk candy counter in high school, I’d say I’m a pretty good judge of candy volume. The bowl pictured, I’d estimate, showed about 8oz (half a pound) of Skittles. So: 216 pieces of candy.

As such: 1.3% of the bowl’s Skittles, are lethal.


4.5 is the US murder and non-negligent homicide rate from 2014 (450 offenses for every 100,000 ppl), which is the lowest that number has gotten since the early 1960s. (6)
1.4 is Canada’s homicide rate, in contrast. (5)
6.2 is the rate of Black Americans (per 1,000,000) killed by those paid to protect and serve our communities. (7)
2.1 (per 1,000,000) is the rate at which White Americans are killed by those same officers, in contrast. (7)
…and, ok: the Black-on-Black homicide rate is high, at 90%, but the White-on-White homicide rate is not far off, at 82.4%; so the point with the prior always being cited, is… ??? (7)

A 1.3% mortality rate represents one mighty safe bowl of Skittles, as analogous to society.

Sexual Assault

14.8% of all American women, have been raped. (3)
28% of women serving in the US Military report having been raped while in service. (4)

Rape survivors comprise the largest percentage of Americans living with PTSD.

…and yet:
10% of all rape victims, are men.
Males aged 18–24 and in college are 5x more at risk for sexual assault, than their non-collegiate peers.(3) This last one seems entirely reasonable to question, as we never seem to hear about men being raped—our society mocks and socially emasculates men who admit to having survived abuse.

So: non-violent white men known to their victims, are above and beyond the most statistically likely candidates to commit a sexual assault. In college, that number goes out of control—and for men in fraternities and women living in sororities, oy! (4)

White heterosexual men above age 24, not in the military, college educated, physically-abled, and in good mental health, are the least likely population in our country to personally experience trauma from human violence.

Empathy matters

67% of Americans are White (8)
76% of Americans identify as Christian (8)
Only 1.5% of American households earn $250k or more. (8) Trump Jr is more likely in the +0.5%, but the 1.5% felt like a safe assumed bracket.

Social privilege is a statistical fact, in the writer’s PoV that a hypothesized 1.3% rate of violence presents a dire threat, respective to the lives the rest of us live every day. It’s not “Political Correctness” to say that. If anything, “Political Correctness” has emerged as a piss-poor label for any PoV that considers how the bias of a speaker’s privilege can blind them to different social realities, normal to others from different backgrounds.

A handful of Don Jr’s Skittles is in fact safer to eat, than going to college or serving in our military as a woman, or daily life as a Black person (or heck, any PoC) in America. Given that, I’ll load-up on a handful of Jr’s candy, instead, thanks.

A good follow-up read from one of my favorite social scientists is danah boyd’s reflection on her experience as a Chelsea neighborhood resident, during last week’s bomb scare. It perfectly puts media ¡OMGWTF! on all things people-who-aren’t-me worrisome, in its place.


Regrettably, Don Jr and many others point to immigrant American residents and many others of dark skin-tone and non-Judeo-Christian identity, as factors in much of the crime we all experience in the United States. Unfortunately the US Census Bureau tracks Black, White, Asian, and Latinx peoples differently, across the “Race” and “Ethnicity” categories. People from the Middle East, Africa, India, or the difference between multi-generation Latinx Americans and new immigrants from Mexico or South America, all get lumped into “other.”

Non-binary gender identity, sexual orientation, or non-marital partnered families—the US Census doesn’t even go there.

How peoples see each other on the street, or ourselves against the crowded American landscape, is not counted. In matters of education, crime, and employment statistics, the boxes and bubbles on the US Census forms are failing the capabilities of our best demographers and sociologists to tell our true stories through data. The US Congress must currently approve all changes to the US Census forms, and so private organizations and academia have emerged as our closest truth-tellers, depending on multi-million-dollar grants to quantify what a better US Census system should.

In an increasingly data-driven culture, the above is a huge problem. Please raise it with your local representatives, and get it higher on the national radar as something we badly need to modernize.

Until then—let’s celebrate the one attribute of our country that men and women have been celebrating as inclusive, wonderful, and at the roots of our American identity, since our earliest days as the collection of cities and states we know and love, today.

Human Development Project

A disruptive digital storytelling project supporting humanitarian initiatives, freeing shackled minds, and amplifying the voices of the oppressed.

nina alter

Written by

Maker of things. Instigator of change. Optimist. Estropreneur. For now. Michigan girl, always. bigwheel.net

Human Development Project

A disruptive digital storytelling project supporting humanitarian initiatives, freeing shackled minds, and amplifying the voices of the oppressed.

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