The Skittles Dogwhistle Originated With Nazi Propagandist

Julius Streicher, known as “Jew-Baiter Number One”, was executed for war crimes.

On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a meme comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles candy. “If I had a bowl of Skittles”, the image macro reads, “and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” Trump Jr. added some commentary of his own, writing: “This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.”

Ironically, the “poisoned Skittle” analogy has its roots with one of America’s greatest enemies: Nazi Germany.

Julius Streicher, known as “Jew-Baiter Number One”, was a Nazi propagandist and publisher of the children’s book Der Giftpilz (or The Toadstool). The story concerns a mother teaching her son that it only takes one Jew to destroy an entire nation.

“Human beings in this world are like the mushrooms in the forest”, says the mother character. “There are good mushrooms and there are good people. There are poisonous, bad mushrooms and there are bad people. And we have to be on our guard against bad people just as we have to be on guard against poisonous mushrooms. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, mother,” the boy replies. “I understand that in dealing with bad people trouble may arise, just as when one eats a poisonous mushroom. One may even die!”

“And do you know, too, who these bad men are, these poisonous mushrooms of mankind?” the mother asks.

“Of course I know, mother”, replies the boy. “They are the Jews! Our teacher has often told us about them.”

Later, after listing the different kinds of “poisonous” Jews, the mother warns:

“Yes, my child! Just as a single poisonous mushrooms can kill a whole family, so a solitary Jew can destroy a whole village, a whole city, even an entire Volk [nation].”

In 1946, Streicher was hanged at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. The judgement read:

“For his twenty-five years of speaking, writing, and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as ‘Jew-Baiter Number One’. In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution. Each issue of Der Stürmer [Streicher’s newspaper], which reached a circulation of 600,000 in 1935, was filled with such articles, often lewd and disgusting.”

Note (9/21/16)Since the initial publication of this story, it has been noted that Streicher did not author the text of Der Giftpilz. That task fell on his subordinate, Ernst Hiemer. Streicher, however, orchestrated the book’s writing and publishing.

The Skittle Analogy: Politically Poisonous?

Trump Jr. is facing severe backlash on social media and elsewhere.

According to Raw Story, the Skittle analogy has been shared on message boards and social media for years. The “poisoned” candies were originally M&Ms, but that changed after George Zimmerman murdered unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, who was holding a bag of Skittles at the time.

Reaction to Trump Jr.’s tweet has been overwhelmingly negative. Wrigley’s, the company who makes Skittles candy, even issued a statement distancing themselves from the meme:

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