Looks like the Aunt Jemima brand is finally getting a new name and look. Quaker announced Wednesday that it plans to replace the 130-year old brand after recent pressure on businesses to be racially equal. The death of George Floyd has brought racial injustice to the forefront and many businesses are finally getting on board and changing names, changing how their business is structured, and how they want to be perceived from the public.
Quaker Removes Aunt Jemima From Packaging
Quaker, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, shared that they will be removing the image of Aunt Jemima and the name "to make progress toward racial equality."
According to a press release, Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, shared, "We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers' expectations."
Kroepfl went on to say how they have changed the Aunt Jemima logo in the past, however, it seems like the changes were insufficient. The brand plans to create new packaging and change the name. So long Aunt Jemima pancakes. Au revoir Aunt Jemima syrup.
The History of Aunt Jemima
Debuted in 1889, the Aunt Jemima brand was inspired by Billy Kersand's minstrelsy song, "Old Aunt Jemima" which was usually performed by a white man in blackface in drag. Aunt Jemima's origins are based on the common stereotype of the Mammy, a Black woman who worked for a white family and nursed their children. Plump, white teeth, and a kerchief tied around her head, the racial stereotype was created by white men to "prove" that they did not find Black women attractive. Catherine Clinton's book The Plantation Mistress: Woman's World in the Old South, shares, "Mammy was made to appear unattractive so no white man could want her over his white wife therefore 'proving' that white men did not find black women sexually desirable."
After attending a minstrel show featuring the Old Aunt Jemima act, Chris L. Rutt and Charles G. Underwood decided to use Aunt Jemima as the mascot and brand for their new ready-made pancake mix. In 1890, the brand, which was bought by R. T. Davis Milling Company, hired former slave Nancy Green as the spokesperson. She operated a pancake cooking display at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
The Quaker Oats Company bought the brand in 1926 and changed her look slightly throughout the years. In 1968 her kerchief was removed to show pearl earrings and a natural hairstyle. However, it didn't do enough. The Aunt Jemima image is still rooted in racism, pushing the racist stereotype that slaves were happy working for their masters.
Goodbye Aunt Jemima, Hello Black-Owned Pancake Companies
Now's the perfect time to switch your pancake and waffle brand. Not only are the following brands delicious, but they are also Black-owned.
Vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and available in original, blueberry, and pecan, this waffle and pancake mix has everything you've ever wanted for breakfast.
Rosella Baked Goods
If you haven't tried sweet potato pancakes before, you are surely missing out!
Blanket Original Syrup
All-natural with no high fructose corn syrup, Blanket Original Syrup is the perfect topping to all your pancakes.
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