It’s the end of an era: America’s gold standard for delicious pancake-topping goodness is getting a makeover.
That’s right — the iconic Aunt Jemima syrup will be renamed.
So pancakes and syrup are racist now. Goodbye Aunt Jemima, you had a good run.https://t.co/13XQKsH6Ne
— Mister Toxic (@MisterToxicMan) June 17, 2020
As reported by The New York Times, the brand — which was begun in 1889 — “is built on images of a black female character that have often been criticized as offensive.”
Over the years, there’s been a series of updates:
Evolution of Aunt Jemima's appearance (2) at African American Heritage Museum pic.twitter.com/mbw670KGAt
— JerseyArts.com (@jerseyarts) November 25, 2013
We learned how @thejemimacode defines this code, and why it matters. [Image 1] Take for example the evolution of the Aunt Jemima advertising trademark [Image 2] compared to how this history is visually represented on the company website today [Image 3]. pic.twitter.com/cj12POTGYT
— Emily Contois (@EmilyContois) November 12, 2019
But it appears they’ve been deemed insufficient:
Even after going through several redesigns — pearl earrings and a lace collar were added in 1989 — Aunt Jemima was still seen by many as a symbol of slavery.
AJ’s produced by Quaker Foods, the company responsible for the whitest man in America — and who, despite an online conspiracy, is not singer Harry Styles:
— 💙 (@dazzleharrys) November 28, 2014
As per a statement by Quaker Foods North America VP and Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Kroepfl, the company’s determined to move in only One Direction — forward:
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. We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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.
We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today. We are starting by removing the image and changing the name. We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.
So how will the redesign look? That remains unclear, but — according to NBC News — it’ll debut in the fall.
And “a new name…will be announced at a later date.”
As for the new packaging, satirical site The Onion made a progressive proposal:
— The Onion (@TheOnion) June 17, 2020
However it turns out, it won’t be your kitchen cabinets’ only familial change — on the heels of NYT’s syrupy story, Mars Inc. made quite the announcement itself.
Say goodbye to both your aunt and your uncle:
Uncle Ben’s announces plan to change branding of the rice, a move that follows a similar announcement from the company that owns Aunt Jemima’s syrup. https://t.co/U83iI34NdA
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 17, 2020
A suggestion for that one: Fight the patriarchy and introduce Condoleeza Rice™.
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