In the light of the Black Lives Matter movement, notable food brands across the United States are making conscious efforts to eradicate origins that may be based on a "racial stereotype." The two significant brands include Aunt Jemima, a brand known for its breakfast foods and Uncle Ben's, a brand known for parboiled rice and other related food products.
If nothing more, the Black Lives Matter movement has helped people worldwide make a stand against racism no matter what form it takes. For reputable food brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's, that includes changing their names and logos because they hint at racism.
Recently, Quaker Oats issued a statement saying that customers should expect a new name and logo for its Aunt Jemima brand.
"We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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."
The changes will make for a new packaging for the brand's new range of products which include syrups and pancake mixes.
The brand's logo has been continuously criticized, and with the brand coming up with the defense that their signature was "brought to life" by Nancy Green, they describe it as a "storyteller, cook, and missionary worker."
However, Nancy Green was reportedly a former slave herself and dressed likewise in the logo. Thus, the racial undertones the brand has now chosen to tackle.
Riché Richardson, an associate professor in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, is a significant figure that called for the logo's removal back in 2015 in a piece for The New York Times.
"This Aunt Jemima logo was an outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the ‘mammy,' a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own. Visually, the plantation myth portrayed her as an asexual, plump black woman wearing a headscarf."
Quaker Oats' new statement is one that has so become widely appraised by other brands as they similarly aim at eradicating racism from their logos and brand names where necessary.
Another such brand is Uncle Ben's. Via a statement published on the brand's website, Mars shares that they are working to "evolve the Uncle Ben's brand" to pay heed to their black customers and employees.
Although the brand admits that they are not sure what form the changes will take, they say that they "are evaluating all possibilities."
Here's to hoping these gradual changes will indeed make the world a better place by all standards.