Press "Enter" to skip to content

Quaker to Change Aunt Jemima Name and Image Over ‘Racial Stereotype’

Kristin Kroepfl, the Quaker Oats chief marketing officer, said in a statement on Wednesday, “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.”

Nancy Green, who played Aunt Jemima at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, was born into slavery in Kentucky in 1834. In magazine ads throughout much of the 20th century, some by the artist N.C. Wyeth, the character was shown serving white families. From 1955 to 1970, Disneyland had an Aunt Jemima restaurant. It featured an actress costumed in a plaid dress, apron and kerchief who served food, sang and posed for photos with patrons, according to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Michigan.

Black artists, including Joe Overstreet and Betye Saar, have challenged the character for decades. Mr. Overstreet painted Aunt Jemima wielding a machine gun in 1964 and created an expanded version of the work, called “New Jemima,” in 1970. Ms. Saar’s 1972 mixed-media sculpture, “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima,” presented a “mammy” figurine armed with a rifle and a hand grenade against a backdrop of repeated images of Aunt Jemima’s face.

In 1980, in a commentary for National Public Radio, the black writer and culinary historian Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor called on Quaker Oats to retire the character.

Other food brands, including Cream of Wheat, Land O’Lakes and Uncle Ben’s, marketed themselves in the last century with racist stereotypes.

After the Quaker Oats announcement on Wednesday, the food and candy giant Mars, the owner of Uncle Ben’s, said it was “evaluating all possibilities” concerning the brand. Mars said it did not yet know the changes it would make or when they would go into effect, but added that it had a responsibility “to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices.”

Also on Wednesday, the syrup brand Mrs. Butterworth’s said it was starting “a complete brand and packaging review” after acknowledging that its bottle, which is “intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother,” could “be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.” The brand, owned by ConAgra Foods, said that “it’s heartbreaking and unacceptable that racism and racial injustices exist around the world” and pledged to “be part of the solution.”

Source link

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *