‘Aunt Jemima’ to change name as brands seek to erase any hint of racism

Mrs. Butterworth and Cream of Wheat take steps to rebrand as well. 

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Three breakfast brands announced on Wednesday that their products will be taking steps to rebrand in response to calls for the elimination of racist symbols.

Quaker Oats will remove the image of Aunt Jemima from its packaging and change the brand name within the coming year. Aunt Jemima was inspired by a former slave in the Civil War era.

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America told NBC News. “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.”

Conagra Brands, the parent company of Mrs. Butterworth, announced it will contemplate making changes to its brand.

“We understand that our actions help play an important role in eliminating racial bias and as a result, we have begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth’s,” a statement by Conagra Brands said.

“It’s heartbreaking and unacceptable that racism and racial injustices exist around the world. We will be part of the solution. Let’s work together to progress toward change,” the statement added.

Critics argue that Mrs. Butterworth symbolizes a “mammy,” a stereotype that portrays black women as obedient maids to white families.

B&G Foods Inc., the parent company of Cream of Wheat, announced that it too was conducting a review of its brand.

“We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism,” a statement by B&G said.

Many argue that Cream of Wheat’s image symbolizes an “Uncle Tom,” a stereotype in which black men are depicted as obedient and subservient to white people and crave their approval.