Seattle Mayor Levies Diet Soda Tax to 'Tackle White Privilege'

It's a way to fight “white privileged institutionalized racism.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has updated the rules of a proposed soda tax — which would fund education for minorities – to include diet drinks in order to combat the systemic racism of whites who tend to consume those more.

Heat Street reports that Murray proposed a soda tax in February that would require distributors of sugary drinks such as Coke and Pepsi, energy drinks like Red Bull, fruit drinks, sweetened teas and bottled coffees such as those sold by Starbucks to pay 2 cents per ounce.

Murray estimated that the tax would rake in $16 million that would go toward education programs aimed at reducing disparities between the city’s white students and students of color.

But since poor minorities consume higher amounts of soda than white residents do, the tax would actually impact those minorities disproportionately. So the mayor updated the plan, lowering the tax to 1.75 cents per ounce and including diet drinks because they are by preferred by affluent white Seattle residents. Heat Street points out that most diet drinks have no calories and therefore don’t contribute to obesity. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of social justice.

Heat Street also notes that, according to Reason, taxing diet drinks has become “an issue of equality” to Mayor Murray because they are more likely to be consumed by “upper middle class white people” and therefore must be taxed as a way to fight “white privileged institutionalized racism.”

You may recall that Murray is the target of a recent lawsuit from one of four men who have accused him of paying them for sex and sexually abusing them in the 1980s when they were teens. The suit claims that Murray “raped and molested” the man over several years, beginning in 1986 when the plaintiff was a 15-year-old high school dropout.