Twitter Users Think Aunt Jemima Retiring Products Is Long Overdue After Being Based On Racial Stereotype
The Black Lives Matter Movement has been sweeping across the world after the death of George Floyd and people are not afraid to call out big brands for their behavior. Aunt Jemima food products have been a breakfast staple for many households for over 100 years, however, the entire brand has been built around a racial stereotype. Quaker Oats just announced that they will be changing the name and the image of Aunt Jemima products in an act that many are calling too little too late.
Quaker Says The Aunt Jemima Brand Was Based On A Racial Stereotype
By fall 2020, a new logo, image and name are expected for what was formerly known as Aunt Jamima products. Social media users pushing for a rebranding and exposing the brand for using such an offensive name and image were a huge factor as to how the Quaker brand made this decision. In a statement, Kristin Kroepfl vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America told NBC “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. She continued on to say “While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough.” One TikTok in particular really informed people who did not know about Aunt Jemima’s origins and led to over a million people calling for change of the brands image and name.
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The Aunt Jemima brand features a logo of a black woman who was originally dressed as a minstrel character. This was a form of entertainment in the 18000s to early 1900s where performers wore blackface to depict black characters through forms of dancing, acting and singing. These minstrel shows portrayed black people by using negative stereotypes and were and still are extremely offensive. Aunt Jemima was based on a woman, Nancy Green, a former slave that served as the face of the brand beginning in 1890. Several changes have been made to the brand logo over the years including removing the woman’s kerchief from the logo. But now, a complete rebranding is in progress because simply put, that was not enough.
People On Twitter Think Rebranding The Logo And The Name Should’ve Happened Sooner
While people are happy that this logo based on a racial stereotype is finally being retired, they truly think it should have happened a long time ago. “This is LONG overdue” said one Twitter user while another said “It’s about time.”
Another Twitter user shared her experiences of being called “Aunt Jemima” when she was growing up. “I’m happy to see this go, though I think it’s waaay overdue. And while we are at it, if you have Mammy or other racist figurines donate them and let them go,” she wrote.
Some People Didn’t Know The Aunt Jemima Brand Was Problematic
Others were trying to explain the reasoning to those who did not want to see the brand go. “Guys, the name ‘Aunt Jemima’ is based on a minstrel song from the late 1800s. You will not die if they change it because it’s 2020 and we don’t really need racist imagery on our pancake syrup anymore,” said another.
“There were people who didn’t know Aunt Jemima was racist? Do y’all also think Uncle Ben is a homage to Peter Parker’s uncle? DO YOU THINK THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS IS OKAY?” said another user.
In a tweet that has over 1,000 likes, one person wrote “People are up in arms claiming they didn’t know that Aunt Jemima was based on a racist stereotype and that pretty much sums up America’s race problem in a nutshell.”
Quaker Oats announced that it will donate at least $5 million over the next five years “to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”
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While the Aunt Jemima brand is being retired, people continue to question if other brands like Uncle Bens or the Washington Redskins football team will soon follow suit in changing their logos and images.