Controversial history causes collapse for Aunt Jemima
In light of public outcry that the branding perpetuates a racist stereotype, breakfast brand Aunt Jemima will remove its logo and be renamed. In a statement, Quaker Oats announced that it will remove the controversial image of Aunt Jemima from its line of maple syrups, pancake mixes, and other foods at the end of 2020, while a name change will occur at a later date.
The brand, which has been around for more than 130 years, has undergone some changes in the past. Featuring a smiling Black woman on the logo, Aunt Jemima has been criticized for depicting a racist stereotype that dates back to slavery. The company softened the image over the years, even removing her kerchief.
Others like Dr. Riché Richardson, associate professor of African American literature in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, claim that the logo alludes to an antebellum plantation. She previously published a 2015 editorial for The New York Times titled “Can We Please, Finally, Get Rid of ‘Aunt Jemima?'”
Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, stated, “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.”
In addition to the rebranding, the Aunt Jemima brand will donate $5 million to create “meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community,” according to PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats.
By: Maytinee Kramer