Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name and Image Over ‘Racial Stereotype’
Aunt Jimima, the famous beverage and pastry brand that marketed with photos of the South in the era of slavery, will get a new name and a new image after Quaker Oats, the parent company, admits that its origins are “based on a racial stereotype”.
The company, owned by PepsiCo, said on Wednesday that it “is taking a closer look at our brand portfolio” as it “progresses towards racial equality through many initiatives”. The packaging changes, first reported by NBC News, will appear at the end of the year, and the name will change soon.
The Tante Jemima brand, founded in 1889, was built on portraits of black women who fostered false nostalgia and nostalgia for slavery in the United States. A former slave filmed the character at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and the white actress known for playing on the black front played Aunt Jemima in a radio series in the 1930s.
In magazine advertisements for most of the 20th century, a character serving white families was shown. Aunt Jemima has undergone an overhaul of several decades over the decades. In 1989, Quaker Oats radically changed the character’s appearance, adding pearl earrings and a lace necklace.
“Despite the work that has been done over the years to update the brand in a way that is supposed to be appropriate and respectful, we realize that these changes are not enough,” said Kristen Kropfel, director of marketing for Quaker, in a statement.
PepsiCo purchased Quaker Oats in 2001, inheriting the Aunt Jemima brand. “A journey to racial equality has long been part of our corporate DNA,” wrote Ramon LaGuarta, CEO of PepsiCo, in an article published this week in Fortune magazine.
Amid global protests against racism and police brutality caused by the murder last month in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a Black man who died after being seated on the bottom by a white policeman, many businesses rushed to precise their solidarity with black lives. The movement has often been accused of hypocrisy.
PepsiCo was conscious of the implications: in 2017, after a brutal reaction, he apologized for running a billboard that featured Kendall Jenner, a white model, delivering a Pepsi can to a white enforcement officer in Protest sign against Black Lives Matter.
The Aunt Jemima brand has its roots within the song of the 19th century black astrologer, “Old Tunt Jemima”, which expresses nostalgia for the south within the era of slavery. Gregory Smithers, professor of yank history at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the character was a “basic racist” and one among the “many racist cartoons” that “created a white imagination” during the increase of the marketing industry.
“Racial marketing companies sold everything from soap to toys to food,” said Smithers, who has written a book on the utilization of racist images in popular media. “Until racism becomes so ubiquitous in marketing and popular culture that it results in the naturalization of oppression in American society and constitutes the white privilege of the 20 th century and beyond.”
But he said now that business leaders “are making their forecasts and therefore the calculations aren’t very pretty.”
“We are at a time when rejection of systemic racism is so widespread – it cuts across racial, ethnic, religious and political lines – that to ignore the politics of the instant are going to be cruel and morally economic,” he added.
Richie Richardson, professor of African American literature at Cornell University, said she welcomed the Quaker Oats movement. She said: “I hope this portal will really be more reflection on this subject and a catalyst for further changes.”
Richardson, who involved the top of the character of Aunt Jemima during a 2015 opinion piece within the ny Times, added that the image “may not be clearly linked to violence, racism and terrorism within the south because the Stars and Bars, but it’s still charged with the history of slavery and Jim Crow. ”
She added: “It may be a symbol anchored within the stereotype” Mami “, which is predicated on other concepts of black and inferiority, and which matches back to a time when blacks were thought mainly and ideally in what servant positions, they were loved and accepted as long as they stayed in their places.
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian amplified Kirby’s message subsequent day on Twitter, with 334,000 followers. “How should Aunt Jemima not be abolished?” Books, links to the TikTok video. (Mr. Ohanyan recently resigned from the Reddit Council with an invitation that a black alternative succeed him.)
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