Aunt Jemima, the popular syrup and pancake brand will get a new name and image. Its parent company, Quaker Oats acknowledged that the brand’s origins were “based on a racial stereotype.”
Aunt Jemima which was founded 131 years ago, is built on the image of a black female character that have often been seen as a symbol of slavery. The image has gone through several redesigns over the years including removing a scarf and adding pearl earrings.
Riché Richardson, an associate professor of African-American literature at Cornell University once described “Old Aunt Jemima” as “an outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the “mammy”. A ‘mammy’ is a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.”
Anti racism protests across the US, following the death of George Floyd has forced companies to look at how they may have been projecting racial stereotypes.
On Wednesday, Quaker Oats, which is owned by PepsiCo, said that it was taking “a hard look at our portfolio of brands” as it worked “to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives.”
The company said package changes will begin to appear by the end of the year, and the name change will come soon after.