I’m always intrigued by how racial taboos materialize and dematerialize over geography and time. But I’m still not sure what to make of a tin box containing Besitos de Negra Colombiana—Little Kisses from a Black Colombian Woman—a confectionary item boldly displayed on a front shelf in the gift shop of the Cartagena airport’s international departure lounge. Doubling down on the product name, the lid contains a matronly cartoonish image that drives home the product concept.
So what is a little kiss from a black Colombian woman like? Perhaps I do not know enough about Colombian culture to form a more complete understanding, but the chocolate-covered dollop of sweet, fluffy nougat over a thin wafer seemed racially and culturally neutral. It’s just a treat that almost anyone could have made. A treat for anyone to enjoy.
I can’t avoid thinking that the chocolate exterior surrounding a white interior could be considered offensive, in the Oreo sense. But I don’t think that was the intent. I any case, I am hesitant to see what kinds of search terms lead people to this page. Search terms can be telling vehicles of desire and thought. When I was researching my trip to Colombia, I noticed that even benign searches in Google about Colombia often brought up travel tips involving pictures and advice that cater to carnal pursuits.
In the meantime, I will enjoy the last few sinful little kisses from a black Colombian woman, and they will have to tie me over until my next trip. If you still have any questions, I’m sure the Secret Service knows a bit about this topic (minus the sweets), based on their experiences during their last visit down there.