Just an FYI. Aunt Jemima being ‘retired’ is not a bad thing and should not come as a surprise. Well actually, I’m sure it would be a surprise to many. Aunt Jemima is much much more than a “Syrup” mascot.
Several cited history notes from Wikipedia and then I’ll continue after:
“Aunt Jemima was a symbol from the civil war era to try and romanticize the antebellum plantation southern image. According to some early accounts, she was originally found in minstrel shows, the original inspiration for the Aunt Jemima character was a white male in blackface, whom some have described as a German immigrant. A character named “Aunt Jemima” appeared on the stage in Washington, D.C., as early as 1864.
The inspiration for Aunt Jemima, the Spokesperson, was Billy Kersands’ American-style minstrelsy/vaudeville song “Old Aunt Jemima”, written in 1875. The Aunt Jemima character was prominent in minstrel shows in the late 19th century and was later adopted by commercial interests to represent the Aunt Jemima brand.
Aunt Jemima’s character is based on the common stereotype of the mammy archetype, a character in minstrel shows in the late 1800s. Her skin is dark and dewy, with a pearly white smile. She wears a scarf over her head and a polka dot dress with a white collar, similar to the common attire and physical features of “mammy” characters throughout history.”
Blackface is incredibly offensive first of all. Second, this is something the black community has given the side eye for YEARS. There have been campaign after campaign after campaign to have her (and Uncle Bens) removed and they’ve never listened.
Right now, I see a lot of rage to hold onto this “icon”. This is part of the “systemic racism” that is spoken about. I say systemic because it has been something that had become accepted and yet, tolerated by the black community. Almost to the point of it being a calloused subject that was just “not touched upon” heavily. This is a learning moment for a lot of people. Based on a lot of posts and comments I’ve woken up to… I’m seeing the following:
“I’ve never seen this as racist. THIS IS RIDICULOUS”
“Why would blacks want this beautiful icon removed?”
“Does George SOROS have stock in other products?”
(yes that is a real one)
Truth be told, this is right along the lines of pulling down confederate monuments. This is a “Piece of history” that belongs in history books and museums… not store shelves.
I mean, don’t get it twisted. “Aunt Jemima” syrup will return under a different name. PepsiCo/Quaker will make that money and rebrand. Look for the “New and IMPROVED” Syrup. For those that do not want the “Brand” to go away, it may not be major to you but trust me when I say that this is a good thing. It is not an over reaction. This has been a long time coming.
Look for this to begin happening all over. Uncle Ben’s? Mars company is already reconsidering their use of the Uncle Ben’s Brand. Look for other past renaming campaigns to surface again (like the Redskins, Cleveland Indians, etc).
#EndSystemicRacism #BlackLivesMatter #MayNotBeABigDealToyou #ChangeMatters