In response to nationwide protests regarding police brutality and racial discrimination, food conglomerate Quaker Oats announced Friday that after 130 years, it would replace its historically racist Aunt Jemima mascot with a black female lawyer who enjoys pancakes from time to time.
“The time has come to replace Jemima, a problematic and stereotypical character that originated in minstrel shows, with Sheila, the public defender of cultivated tastes who eats pancakes on occasion, in addition to a variety of other foods,” said Quaker spokesperson Aaron Parshley, who explained that the former Aunt Jemima brand of syrups and pancake mixes would now bear a logo depicting an African American woman who wears a suit, carries a briefcase, and isn’t an aunt per se, though she is godmother to the child of a dear friend she met as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College.
Our new mascot is based on several real-life black women who are lawyers and eat pancakes some mornings when they aren’t too busy litigating on behalf of the disadvantaged.
While Sheila does enjoy our extended line of breakfast foods, that is only one small facet of her rich and complex identity as a human being: Sheila also speaks fluent Italian, likes U2, is bisexual, and enjoys cross-country skiing.
Let us make it clear that Sheila never serves the pancakes herself, but now and then goes to a diner near the courthouse where waitresses and waiters of a variety of races serve them to her.”
At press time, Mars Inc. announced it would follow suit by replacing the mascot of its Uncle Ben’s brand with a black engineering graduate student.
I suppose I should have been buying Non-GMO Organic Steel Cut right along but you know, if you’re eating Oatmeal at all you kind of get this aura of healthiness even if it’s less than 50% of your Oatmeal Cookie mix.
I use Regular and not Instant because it’s instant enough and dried Cranberries instead of Raisins because I like savory and top it with Butter and Salt. Two parts Water to 1 part Oatmeal (you put your dried fruit in at this point too). Nuke it for about 3 minutes (it gets soft and gummy) but only 30 seconds at a time because otherwise it will crawl out and get all over.
Or you can use it in Meat Loaf or Balls to lighten the texture instead of Bread Crumbs (Richard uses it that way).
Aunt Jemima to change name and logo due to racial stereotyping
by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian
Wed 17 Jun 2020
One of America’s most recognizable but unreconstructed household brands, Aunt Jemima pancake products, will change its name and image in an effort by the brand to distance itself from racial stereotypes.
The logo of the brand, familiar to shoppers on every supermarket shelf that features pancake mix and pancake syrup – a staple of the classic American breakfast – features an African American woman named after a character from minstrel shows from the 19th century.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” a statement from Quaker Foods North America, a unit of PepsiCo that owns the Aunt Jemima brand, said, in a statement obtained by NBC news.
The company has long been criticized for the logo and name of its product, and made the announcement as Black Lives Matter protests against racism in the US continue to grow amid a fresh surge in anger following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
“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,” Quaker said.
Quaker said the new packaging will be introduced in fall of 2020. A replacement name will be brought in some time after.
Early Aunt Jemima logos featured various crude renderings of a dark-skinned woman wearing a headscarf, the design clearly influenced by minstrel shows, where white-skinned actors would portray stereotyped black people.
Later Aunt Jemima was portrayed by real women – first Nancy Green, who had been born enslaved, and then Anna S Harrington.
In 1989 Quaker updated Aunt Jemima, removing the woman in a head scarf and introducing the character which still appears on packaging today. At the time a company spokesman said they “wanted a more modern-looking woman, but one who still has traditional values”, who could retain the “goodwill and positive perceptions that already existed”.
According to the Jim Crow museum of racist memorabilia, Aunt Jemima is “the most well known and enduring racial caricature of African American women” and is based on the “mammy” stereotype.
“From slavery through the Jim Crow era, the mammy image served the political, social, and economic interests of mainstream white America.
“During slavery, the mammy caricature was posited as proof that blacks – in this case, black women – were contented, even happy, as slaves. Her wide grin, hearty laughter and loyal servitude were offered as evidence of the supposed humanity of the institution of slavery.”
A pair of businessmen in Missouri created Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix in the late 1880s. They took the name Aunt Jemima from a popular vaudeville song, according to the Jim Crow museum.
In 2014 two descendants of Harrington, whose likeness was used for Aunt Jemima, sued the brand, claiming they were owed royalties. The case was dismissed in 2015, after Quaker said Aunt Jemima was never meant to be a real person.
“The image symbolizes a sense of caring, warmth, hospitality and comfort and is neither based on, nor meant to depict any one person,” Quaker Oats said at the time.
So just generic Racism, nothing personal.