June 18, 2020

"I admit to having a complicated relationship with Aunt Jemima... For a period of time in the late 1940s and early 1950s, my grandmother, Ione Brown..."

"... was part of an army of women who worked as traveling Aunt Jemimas, visiting small-town fairs and rotary-club breakfasts to conduct pancake-making demonstrations at a time when the notion of ready-mix convenience cooking was new. I never knew about my grandmother’s work until long after she died... [W]hile researching a family memoir... I learned that she made good money and covered a region including Iowa, the Dakotas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. She was often treated like a celebrity in small towns, but could not stay in local hotels. She kept an eye out for houses that had a small sign in the window that said 'TOURIST,' a code for homes that provided lodging and meals to black people.... As a family, we are offended by the caricature that Aunt Jemima represents, but deeply proud of the way my grandmother used the stage that was available to lift herself up. You see, in those days Aunt Jemima didn’t look like the lady you see on the box today. She was a slave woman, and Ione was expected to act and talk like a slave woman, using the kind of broken patois that blighted the full-page ads in magazines like Women’s Day and Life.... One of the things that irks me most about the Jemima brand is the way the mammy stereotype hijacked what should be an endearing image for black America and tried to turn it into something toxic. Most of us have someone in our family with fleshy arms and a loving smile who serves up cherished advice along with delicious food. They are our aunts and mothers and grandmothers. Our godmothers. Our queens.
You tried to make us ashamed of what Aunt Jemima stood for."

From "Why did it take so long to set Aunt Jemima free?" by Michele L. Norris (WaPo). (Quaker Foods announced that it is retiring the Aunt Jemima brand because to "make progress toward racial equality.")

ADDED: At the NY Post, I'm seeing "After Aunt Jemima, people call to cancel Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s." I understand about Uncle Ben, but Mrs. Butterworth? I've never perceived Mrs. Butterworth as black.
The syrup, sold in a matronly woman-shaped bottle, is accused of being rooted in mammy culture and was modeled after the body of Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen, the black actress who played Prissy in “Gone With The Wind.” The Jim Crow-era “mammy” character was often used to show that black women were happy working in white households....
That's news to me. I looked up Mrs. Butterworth on Wikipedia and it did not contain that information. I did learn that the voice for the character was done by Mary Kay Bergman, who looked like this:
"Her parents were Jewish," and she died by suicide at the age of 38 in 1999. She was the original lead female voice on "South Park."
Her characters included Liane Cartman, Sheila Broflovski, Shelly Marsh, Sharon Marsh, Carol McCormick and Wendy Testaburger.... Bergman credited South Park for pulling her out of a typecasting rut. 'I'm known for these sweet, cute little characters,' she said, noting her roles in various Disney films. "So I've been doing them forever. My agents were trying to submit me on shows that are edgy, and they're laughing, 'Mary Kay, are you kidding? No way!'" After Bergman's death, the two episodes "Starvin' Marvin in Space" (the final episode for which she recorded original dialogue) and "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" (the final episode in which her voice was used via archive footage) were dedicated in her memory.
No comment on the role of Starvin' Marvin and Mr. Hankey in the quest for progress toward racial equality. RIP Mary Kay Bergman. Watch this (it's phenomenal):



Mrs. Butterworth voice at 1:11.

ADDED: Norris writes that her grandmother, in the role of Aunt Jemima had to use a "kind of broken patois." And I see in the comments that David Begley is asking, "Just asking, but isn’t 'broken patois' the language of today’s rap music?" Which makes me wonder, what's wrong with a patois? To answer my own question, I naturally look up "patois" in the OED.

I see that it's "dialect spoken by the people of a particular region (esp. of France or French-speaking Switzerland), and differing substantially from the standard written language of the country" or — and this is "frequently depreciative" — "a regional dialect; a variety of language specific to a particular area, nationality, etc., which is considered to differ from the standard or orthodox version."

I was intrigued by this example from "The Sheltering Sky" by Paul Bowles (who was born in New York City):
Then he remembered having heard that Americans did not speak English in any case, that they had a patois which only they could understand among themselves. The most unpleasant part of the situation to him was the fact that he would be in bed, while the American would be free to roam about the room, would enjoy all the advantages, physical and moral.

96 comments:

Roger Sweeny said...

One of the things that irks me most about the Jemima brand is the way the mammy stereotype hijacked what should be an endearing image for black America and tried to turn it into something toxic. Most of us have someone in our family with fleshy arms and a loving smile who serves up cherished advice along with delicious food. They are our aunts and mothers and grandmothers. Our godmothers. Our queens.
You tried to make us ashamed of what Aunt Jemima stood for.


But that's exactly what Quaker tried to do a few decades ago when it redid the packaging and gave "Aunt Jemima" a makeover. To make her a strong nurturing woman who people could be proud of. Obviously, lots of people weren't willing to see that change as real.

Jeff Brokaw said...

“we are offended by the caricature that Aunt Jemima represents”

Good for you. How many points is that worth? Do you get extra credit at the gates of heaven, or something?

I always thought she looked friendly and warm and caring. I had no idea she was based on some minstrel character because, well, I didn’t see the need to do research on a brand so I could form the correct opinion about it.

These people are exhausting.

Ralph L said...

So, no fall this year?

Sebastian said...

"One of the things that irks me most about the Jemima brand is the way the mammy stereotype hijacked what should be an endearing image for black America and tried to turn it into something toxic."

It was an endearing, positive image. Progs made it toxic.

rhhardin said...

Rush had a more impressive bio of the original Aunt Jemima yesterday, not one of the imitations.

It's too bad Aunt Jemima didn't do oat bran. Quaker oat bran tends to clump up in the microwave, needing a lot of spoon breakup work at the table.

Dave Begley said...

Just asking, but isn’t “broken patois” the language of today’s rap music?

CaroWalk said...

“ One of the things that irks me most about the Jemima brand is the way the mammy stereotype hijacked what should be an endearing image for black America and tried to turn it into something toxic. Most of us have someone in our family with fleshy arms and a loving smile who serves up cherished advice along with delicious food. They are our aunts and mothers and grandmothers. Our godmothers. Our queens.”
I honestly don’t understand this quote. Aunt Jemima was an icon, a brand, selling comfort food, just as the writer describes above. For a few generations, those aunts and mothers with fleshly arms and a loving smile worked in our homes. Our maid, Anniebelle, was my black mother, serving up cherished advice. I know a lot of people outside the south don’t understand that they were part of our families. Our families were intertwined in complex ways, but we knew each other in an intimacy that doesnt exist anymore. Aunt jemima is not a degrading image to me, anymore than a Madonna.

rhhardin said...

It's too bad Quaker didn't use an angry militant Aunt Jemima, the only acceptable black today. Get your white ass down to the store and buy the syrup, cracker.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Stereotypically, a lot of African Americans are raised by various groups of female relatives, building memories of love and home cooking. Men come and go. Aunt Jemima might stand for love and nurturing, doing whatever is good, necessary and comforting for children. Uncle Ben, always wearing a bow tie, has delivered a type of rice that is improved by modern science. He doesn't personally do any cooking. He may have been inspired by a "maitre d'hotel," not the owner, but a person of knowledge and responsbility. Maybe more of a Booker T. Washington type. Booker was always encouraging blacks to prove their usefulness, and he was interested in improving agriculture.

Bob Boyd said...

Frankly, I resent the cis-privileged presumption that the glass woman isn't a glass man in a dress.

Ralph L said...

There's only one thing worse
In this universe
And that's no Aunt Jemima at all.

Unknown said...

What on earth is she complaining about? That her grandmother made good money representing a woman who, to most Americans of any hue, meant “good eats” ? And were hotels segregated in the Upper Midwest In the immediate post-war period? I suspect not, but could be educated on the matter. As for the branding, I guess that the old- timey AJ might have been offensive although, come on! The current edition is an up to date woman who is black. So see if you can follow me here- if you have fake black spokesmodels that’s racist, and if you don’t have fake black spokesmodels that’s racist, too. Got it. As a sidelight, as a kid I thought Aunt Jemima was married to Uncle Ben. So Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, the Land O Lakes princess are waiting for a fourth for pinochle. Speedy Alka Seltzer? The Hamm’s Bear?

tcrosse said...

The Cream of Wheat guy is next.

rhhardin said...

I can never remember whether it's Butterworth or Butterfield. One's a waffle syrup, and the other is a common-materials horse sculptor.

Kai Akker said...

A subscription plea blocks the story no matter what route I use to try to access. I'd like to have read this one. I am sympathetic to the story; on guard owing to the rhetoric, like "highjacked." Does not sound like someone who understands the past very well. The "mammy" image of love, care and strictness has endured through a lot, from Gone With the Wind, of course, to various modern versions in much later movies. William Faulkner wrote this dedication to one of his greatest (and least appreciated) books, Go Down, Moses:

TO MAMMY

CAROLINE BARR
Mississippi
[1840-1940]

Who was born in slavery and who gave to my family a fidelity without stint or calculation of recompense and to my childhood an immeasurable devotion and love.


Is the history complicated and unhappy? Of course. But also beautiful (as above) or useful (as in WaPo grandmother's life). History is not simple. Except to simpletons.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Aunt Jemima pancakes without her syrup
Is like the spring without the fall.
Only one thing worse
In this universe,
And that's no Aunt Jemima at all.

Dan in Philly said...

Good riddance to the mascot. Slaves who raised kids were often called aunt but we're still slaves for all that. The mascot was of a slave and has no place in the modern society.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Our maid, Anniebelle, was my black mother, serving up cherished advice. Our families were intertwined in complex ways, but we knew each other in an intimacy that doesnt exist anymore.

I was talking to a family friend in her 80s once who was basically raised by her family's black maid as her mother threw herself into local society events.

At one point she said,

I would have laid down my life for that worman.

And then, pausing as if it had just occurred to her:

But she always came in the back door..

Dude1394 said...

Cancel everything, it would make just as much sense. Go deep enough and you will find so right it offend the cancel police in every single person/brand in existence. You might get passed over like the blackface democrat Northam if you are sufficiently useful to the democrats, but other than that, cancel everything. Washington monument, Lincoln memorial, Mount Rushmore, burn many books, everything.

This is the day of the taliban Democrats.

Lucien said...

I‘ve always had a fraught relationship with the Pillsbury Doughboy — especially after the rumors about him and that Bibendum guy from Michelin (cheese eating surrender-monkey (can I say “surrender-monkey”?)).
Then it turns out the Stay-Puft marshmallow man isn’t even real!

pious agnostic said...

I always thought that Uncle Ben was Peter Parker's uncle. Shows what I know.

Jeff Brokaw said...

The self-congratulatory tone here is telling. Where is the admission that there are costs of some kind in taking this action, and we have considered them, and on balance this trade is worth making?

Nope, it’s just “toss it overboard” and worse, “you’ll like what we tell you to like”.

This tactic is not as effective in changing hearts and minds as they think it is.

Jamie said...

"You tried to make us ashamed of what Aunt Jemima stood for."

For good or ill, she's wrong about this, if I'm interpreting "you" correctly as "white America." Why would a brand of comfort food use an image that would inspire, not warm comforting feelings, but disgust? Quaker wasn't trying to make black people ashamed of "mammies" - they were tapping into that old trope from Song of the South et al. that white America of that time cherished: the beloved family retainer who was like a grandmother to the children.

Was it ever true? I don't know. I have had a few white friends who were more or less raised by a black woman; they all believed that she loved them as if they were her own, even though they knew she was employed to take care of them and the house.

Is it degrading? I can see, I guess, that a modern black American would feel that that image harks back to a time when blacks in America were compelled to be "good darkies," compelled to act grateful for receiving anything more from their "masters" than a flat spot to sleep on, compelled (if their enslaved work was in the house) to be body servants for people who thought they were at best perpetual children (and at worst a kind of animal who could be taught to dress and act human but could never be human) without resentment or revenge.

But the intent, the thing either Quaker or white America was trying to do, was not make black people feel ashamed of that image. Maybe they (Quaker, that is - they chose the image) were on some level hoping the image would inspire the behavior contained in the trope. I couldn't speak to their motivations. If so, pretty ironic considering their brand name - but it seems unlikely to me that Quaker might have been trying to keep black people down as it sold its pancake mix; that would be a very far-reaching ad strategy.

Kalli Davis said...

Sorry, hard to believe that any hotel in Iowa, Dakotas, Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota would turn down business from Quaker Oats representative paying at Corporate rates. And it more likely that "tourist" was code for Tourist.

James Pawlak said...

Good By thou good and loyal servant.

tcrosse said...

For historical context, here's a bit of cultural anthropology:
The Beulah Show 1950-1952

Birkel said...

Cancel all the things.

tcrosse said...

For a time, in the interest of diversity, the Pillsbury Doughboy was slightly darkened, to a sort of whole wheat. It didn't last long after the company changed hands.

Fernandinande said...

Quaker Foods announced that it is retiring the Aunt Jemima brand because to "make progress toward racial equality."

That'll work.

Why does the Green Giant keep talking about "hos"?

Roy Jacobsen said...

How long until someone starts bitching that there are no "people of color" representing major brand names?

gspencer said...

I hope they continue to make Uncle Jemima Mash Liquor. It's 190 proof, meaning you can really get bit.

dbp said...

I don't understand this take:

"...tried to turn it into something toxic."

Marketers were trying to sell product, it seems highly counter-intuitive that they wanted the image to represent anything toxic.

Rick said...

In the 80's black leaders claimed America was racist for not more seriously addressing the crack epidemic - the idea being Americans didn't care about the deaths and addictions in predominantly black communities. Today the left considers the actions taken in response to that pressure racist.

Similarly today the left considers the existence of these brand images racist but in 20 years the left will cite cleansing them as proof of America's racism.

William said...

By and large, the truly wretched and oppressed on this earth live out their short, miserable lives without ever once eating pancakes.

BarrySanders20 said...

I was triggered today when I opened the cabinet. I saw Ms. Jemima smiling back at me with that "You racist!" look that I used to think was a warm smile.
And the Morton Salt girl, perpetuating the dumb blonde stereotype, walking along cluelessly spilling the salt behind her. And who lets a child walk alone these days? There was the smiling Quaker Oats man, beaming with white privilege having killed all of the Indians who used to live on that land.
And Orville Reddenbacher, clearly enjoying an undeserved position on the box because of being white.
Don't get me started on the Sun Maid Raisin girl with her flowing brown hair and creamy whiteness. No way that white skin doesn't burn in the sun if she is really out picking raisins from whatever the hell bush raisins grow on. Clearly Mexicans or black people are doing the real work but getting none of the credit or money.
Plus that idiot Keebler Elf. Not enough to deal with white people, white people have to make up fake white races like elfs. Ever see a black elf? Didn't think so. The white ones sold 'em all off.

Michael said...

I won’t buy the replacements for either Aunt Jemima or Uncle Ben’s just as I no longer buy Land O Lakes butter. To me there is nothing more vile or loathsome than groveling corporate assholes patting themselves on the back for bravely fighting racism by wasting stockholder capital through a virtue signaling rebranding. Nauseating.

William said...

In the 19th century my immediate female ancestors were in the servant class. I presume that they were mistreated by their employers and had lives that anyone alive today would consider unendurable. I expect that in the early 19th century my Irish ancestors had worse lives than many blacks in the American south. Starvation is the sincerest form of oppression.....I don't deny that within the spectrum of America, blacks had hard lives but, my goodness, it is vainglorious on their part to claim that they are the most oppressed people on earth. Throughout the twentieth century, people in China, India and the USSR starved to death in the millions....I'm sorry her grandmother had trouble finding a hotel room, but there are sadder stories.

Hey Skipper said...

“ Sorry, hard to believe that any hotel in Iowa, Dakotas, Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota would turn down business from Quaker Oats representative paying at Corporate rates. And it more likely that "tourist" was code for Tourist.”

Won’t be so hard after you read this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Motorist_Green_Book

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

My wife is convinced she met the “real” Aunt Jemima in grade school, recalling the visit as “a really big deal” at the time. However, we’ve always used real maple syrup and neither of us ever bought Auntie J’s syrup. And why can’t they just adopt a little modern patois and call her Aunty J?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The first self made woman millionaire in the US was a black woman. Madam C J Walker back when a million dollars was worth way more than that!

So...no more Aunt Jemima pancake mix. I guess I'll have to switch to Lumberjack Pancakes.

Because!!!--->>He's a Lumberjack and he's OK! The LBGTQRXYZ group should approve of that !!

ndspinelli said...

Fat Sly used to call Condy Rice Aunt Jemima

Kevin said...

The message is clear, no black spokespeople.

The black guy in the Allstate commercials is just too risky.

And they’ll be railing about the exploitation of geckos and emus next.

Unknown said...

In the radio comedy “the Great Gildersleeve” there is a black housekeeper named Birdy. She always gets the best of the the blustering, self-important Gildy.

Jersey Fled said...

“ One of the things that irks me most about the Jemima brand is the way the mammy stereotype hijacked what should be an endearing image for black America and tried to turn it into something toxic.

Funny, but as a white boy growing up in the 50's, I never had anything but a positive image of Aunt Jemima. I loved pancakes, I loved maple syrup, and I loved Aunt Jemima. She was an endearing image for me.

It was liberal scolds, black and white, who turned her into something toxic.

Anthony said...

Another black face disappeared. . . . . . .

Francisco D said...

My best friend in junior HS was a Black kid for the Southside of Chicago. (I'm am not asking for virtue points here. It is what it is).

He taught me the jibe "Ain't Tcha Mama on a pancake box?"

It must have been internalized systemic racism.

effinayright said...

Straight America has always looked askance at Mr Clean: what's with that earring?

rhhardin said...

Bio of Aunt Jemima

A story of good character leading to success; good character is discouraged in blacks today, in favor of anger, resentment and militancy.

Good character in blacks is an outdated and racist stereotype, is the message.

Gahrie said...

No comment on the role of Starvin' Marvin and Mr. Hankey in the quest for progress toward racial equality.

Probably very little. Starvin' Marvin is a starving African child, and Mr. Hankey is an animate piece of shit.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

I’ve always been kind of surprised that Colt 45 has survived the gun control wars. Especially since it’s an ubiquitous accessory in so much racist stereotyping. I’m guessing it doesn’t show up in many White middle-class liberal homes so the outrage is minimal.

hombre said...

Aunt Jemima canceled. She expressed an aversion to Biden the Grifter and has been deemed “not black,” therefore by default “blackface.” See also, Hattie McDaniel.

tcrosse said...

She was a credit to her race.

mikee said...

Log Cabin syrup, for the gay Republican in all of us.
Smuckers strawberry and blueberry syrup, for the gay apolitical in all of us.
Brer Rabbit molasses, for the old school, racist southern Democrat still in KKK robes in 2020.
Mrs. Butterworth, a proudly plus sized woman of color, apparently heteronormatively and traditional, who fetishizes herself in her bottles shaped like a fat black woman.
Karo syrup, named after east Africans, or perhaps the slave labor in the sugar cane fields.

Aunt Jemima was updated a while back to be a black version of Betty Crocker. The entire field of pancake syrups is a minefield of racism, sexism, body shaming, historical oppression and yummy, yummy sugary sweetness. The mob is insane, and so are the syrup companies.

Here's hoping the mob never notices that cleaning products are made of .... CHEMICALS!

wendybar said...

They are now cancelling out all black mascots. How Woke of them!!! No more Cream of Wheat guy, no more Uncle Ben, no more Aunt Jemima, or Mrs Butterworth...who's next?? Samuel Jackson for Capital One???

James Graham said...

I read Paul Bowles "Sheltering Sky" years ago and seem to recall it involved a horrific murder at the hands of some foreigners.

(Will go to Wiki to refresh memory.)

California Snow said...

It feels like we're just reading our own biases into all these products now.

Christy said...

Not a hill to die on.

I do concern my wildly inappropriate self over the future of genre novels. On the one hand I had to stop reading an old fantasy book wherein a college boy (this was written back when we called them college boys) closely follows (what today we call stalks) a college girl 'cause he thinks she knows the truth about leprechauns. A decade earlier I'd have been charmed. In the middle of the Weinstein crap I couldn't stand it. On the other hand I'm wondering if Evanovich can possibly continue her series of the search for the magic stones that embody the seven deadly sins and save the world. Incredibly sexy guys force tender kisses on our magically gifted cupcake baker and fall naked into her bed (just to sleep, of course.). How can this continue in today's toxicity?

PM said...

1. Mr Clean is a folded-arms genie - cleanie? - hence the earring.
2. Aunt Jemima, regardless of backstory, was originally depicted as a fat, black, happy, doo-rag-wearing member of the kitchen help - you know, in the 'Golden Age of Hollywood-style. She was later tarted up but...nevertheless.

Temujin said...

Aunt Jemima is offensive to some today because of its origins. But over the years that iconic logo became a brand that brought smiles and meant 'home' to many (not me, but many). I never used it, so I won't miss it. But I think we're well past the point of looking for reasons. The left are looking for anything in anyone's or any company's history that had anything to do with slavery or racism at any time- whether it be 170 years ago or 10 years ago, or a t-shirt worn on a fishing trip just a month ago.

My only question, if we're being consistent here, is when are they going to demand the elimination of the Democratic Party? You know the party that gave us the KKK and Jim Crow. The party that keeps black children in horrible public schools, and will not allow people to have charter schools because they (the Dems) are beholden to Teachers Union dollars. The party that masses it's efforts to steal tax dollars from hard working American people to prop up and support Planned Parenthood, the outfit that has murdered millions of black babies and who's founder, Margaret Sanger, was a noted eugenist who wanted to limit the number of black babies born. The party that keeps telling the black community you don't need two parents in the household- the state will take care of you. This same Democrat Party has run and controlled most of our worst cities, with the worst crime, schools, and poverty for anywhere from 25 years to 150 years. From Detroit to Chicago, New Orleans, Baltimore, LA, Seattle, Newark, Cleveland, and on and on.

Aunt Jemima is the hill you want to take? OK, take it. Now look around at the number of black kids murdered in Chicago this coming July 4 holiday weekend. See how many are killed by other black men who are not police, or not white. And ask yourself how good you feel about yourself for getting rid of Aunt Jemima or Uncle Ben as if that's the problem. You want change? Really? Quit doing the same things and expecting different results. You want change? Quit voting for Democrats- white or black. They have been killing the black community for decades. Literally- centuries.

Narr said...

Couldn't access, but no matter. I don't like maple syrup anyway--leaves me feeling queasy and greasy inside.

They should have updated the name--Sister Jemima? Aunt Shanika?

Both my parents (greatest gen fuck yeah!) were raised to some extent or other by black women.
This wasn't unusual for middle-class (even barely middle-class) families in their time and place. Even I and my brothers benefited from the practice--our weekly maid had worked at my father's parent's beauty shop for many years before cutting back to part-time domestic work.

Let me assure all that these black women were fully empowered to discipline smartasses.

Narr
I was there



Howard said...

I saw rhhardin protesting Orville Reddenbacker popcorn as offensive stereotype of persnickety dweebs.

Known Unknown said...

IF YOU AIN'T EATIN' WHAM, YOU AIN'T EATIN' HAM!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

BarrySanders20 said...

And the Morton Salt girl, perpetuating the dumb blonde stereotype...

And Orville Reddenbacher, clearly enjoying an undeserved position...

Don't get me started on the Sun Maid Raisin girl with her flowing brown hair and creamy whiteness.

Plus that idiot Keebler Elf.

And let us not forget Log Cabin syrup! I'm sure there are plenty LGBTQATDF!~*XWA-icky-icky-f'tangs who just can't eat breakfast because being reminded that there are other LGBTQATDF!~*XWA-icky-icky-f'tangs who vote Republican is just too much to bear!

Cancel pancakes!

Amexpat said...

Colonel Sanders is next. He's not a nice guy, according to "Kafka on the Shore".

RigelDog said...

I'm surprised that some commenters here doubt that a black person had trouble finding public accommodations/hotels in the post-war period; I thought that was well-known. I WAS startled to learn that the bans went much further than just black people--remember the old TV detective show Mannix? Mike Connors, the lead actor, was Armenian. He had trouble finding hotels to stay in too! Crazy to think of all the ugly discrimination and violence that went on, and we are still paying that price today. You know how people imagine that if they could go back in time, they'd kill Hitler? I would dream of being able to go back in time and somehow stop the importation of African slaves. How sweet would it be now if black Americans were here because their ancestors had migrated voluntarily and never been denied full civil rights?

cubanbob said...

Haven't eaten pancakes in quite a while but when I do, it won't be a Quaker product and I'll use real maple syrup.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Using BLACK (only capitalizing the B is racist and I’m more woke than you for enbiggening all the letters) spokespeople is obviously a risky decision for corporations, fraught with serious unforeseen future consequences with very little offsetting danger in foregoing such a move. And no one in position to make such a decision need say any of this out loud. It’s understood. It’s creating the very systemic bias against Blacks that it purports to “address” with Progressives public lynching of imaginary characters and real life minority success stories who achieve iconic status in our culture. Way to go mobs!

Rory said...

The thing is, it was prosperous whites who were being targeted by this marketing. My parents never bought Aunt Jemima products. We had a big bottle of store brand syrup. They couldn't imagine paying extra for rice that cooked fast. We had a big bag of rice that said "RICE" on it. So now the prosperous kids of the prosperous whites who bought this stuff are pretending that poor whites were big consumers of it, so that their children can rightfully be screwed out of a couple admissions at every college in the country.

Bilwick said...

Aunt Jemima was hot. I could definitely cross the color line for her.

Birkel said...

My relationships with food stuffs was to either like or dislike the taste relative to other food stuffs.

The things that worry some people show they have so very little that is serious about which to worry.

Pianoman said...

Mary Kay was a friend of mine. Her suicide came as a shock to everyone. Apparently she had been battling "internal demons" for several years, and finally gave up.

The Disney character she was best known for was Snow White.

John henry said...

They should have gotten rid of aunt Jemima 30—40 years ago. Ditto uncle Ben.

It is offensive and I'm not even black.

Probably just done it quietly. Maybe phase it in gradually to keep brand awareness.

They should not be doing it now. They have pissed off a lot of people who see it as a craven move to keep the wolf at bay.

And it won't even do that.

John Henry

gbarto said...

Perhaps what makes the modern upper middle class white person (small w) uncomfortable is that only Mexican women are supposed to do the grunt work to raise white children and hold the families together. The connection between the wage slaves of today and the actual slaves of the past is unsettling.

With respect to a patois, I believe we're talking about what John McWhorter calls Black English. This is another thing that makes white, upper middle class people nervous, not only here, but also in France, Italy and Spain. Indeed, the French have a long history of beating children who speak the regional language in an effort to drive home that there is only one way of being French, and that includes talking like you were raised in the capital. The situation in England is rather better with lots of regional vernaculars surviving, though the Brits have tried to stomp out the Northumbrian variants of Anglo-Saxon that became Scots in preference to regionalized variants of the Saxon dialects that became Modern Standard English. Having grown up in rural Michigan, I get comments on my accent now that I live in California but if I slow down and pay attention to my speech, I can pass for a Standard American. Likewise, I think if an African American can switch to a passable Standard American, there's no reason not to speak Black English at home. It's called diglossia, and it's pretty common throughout the world. Indeed, the allure of seeing a stand-in Aunt Jemima speak patois may be not so you can imagine her a minstrel character, but so you can pretend she's talking to you like her friends and family as she shares the family recipe and forget that she's a salesperson for a large corporation.

John henry said...

Fwiw, it is the "ain't" Jemima and "uncle" been that I've long found offensive.

Get rid of that and even the older pictures of her would probably be OK.

What's wrong wit h jihad plain "Jemima's Pancakes"?

Probably too late now.

Just go with "Karen's 'cakes"

That central park woman is looking for work. Maybe they could put her picture and make her celebrity spokes nuisance.

John Henry

MacMacConnell said...

I often laugh when I hear “mammy” is a stereo type. They existed into to at least the 60s. I've known them growing up in Mississippi as a child. One in particular was always a joy to be around. She dotted on my best friend, but was always strict. At my middle class home if you weren't home by noon you missed lunch, at my friend's mammy would fix sandwiches and serve sweet tea. She ruled the house and the servants. She lived in the big house, the servant and two chauffeurs lived in a very large carriage house cut up into apartments.

Wilbur said...

I have no doubt she had difficulty with Midwestern hotels. The Midwestern city in which I was born and raised was very segregated even in the 50s and 60s; de facto, not de jure.

In 1946, the Brooklyn Dodgers had a farm team in that city and were intending to send Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe (the two black players signed the year after Jackie Robinson was signed) to that city. Someone there with the team found out about it and quickly contacted Branch Rickey and told him they better rethink that plan. The players were instead sent to Nashua, New Hampshire to start their careers in white baseball.

Mary Beth said...

Just asking, but isn’t “broken patois” the language of today’s rap music?

I interpreted "broken patois" to mean AAE (African-American English) in a family that was raised to speak standard English. Since, as far as I could tell, his sources for what she did were just other family members' memories, I don't know how accurate they are.

I could certainly see the promoters telling her to try not to speak more proper English than the housewives she was selling to. People still code switch between standard English for work and AAE for family and friends. This could have just been the reverse.

rcocean said...

Frankly, who cares about the labels of syrup, rice, etc. These labels were created years ago because they MOVED PRODUCT. Its all about $$ folks. So now these companies think they can get more $$$ by changing the label. And, why should I care?

One good thing about the internet and social media, is its freed us from the tyranny of monolithic, top down, corporate TV and radio. It must be amazing for young people when they hear that we oldsters used to TALK about Commercials we'd seen on TV. All the little jingles and commercials made to manipulate us into thinking Brand X - made by some cold heartless corporation - was somehow a close family friend.

"Where's the Beef?" "Hold the pickles hold the lettuce.." "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" "Go for the gusto" "Rainier Beer frogs"

And the voice actress? I wonder how she got the job rather than 20 other people. Was she that talented, or did she know someone? I'd bet 10 other actresses could have done as well. Its just voice acting on a cartoon.

Mary Beth said...

Correction: "his sources" should be "her sources".

rcocean said...

Bored at work. Y'know I can't think of the last commercial I watched. Even when we do watch TV, we zap through them change the channel, or turn off the sound and talk till the program resumes. No wonder advertisers address their commercials to young people.

Anyway, I hope every minority is driven off every food/standard product. Lets stop selling products because of someone's picture on the label. Its just rice, syrup, or whatever. Same with Pro sports teams. Get rid of the Redskins, Chiefs, etc. They're just Millionaires playing a kids game for $$$. Stop pretending about Pro Sports - its just a business. Call 'em the Robert Kraft or the Jerry Jones Football team. Cause that's what they are.

bagoh20 said...

I don't look at Homer Simpson and assume everyone thinks all white people are like that. All this shit is so blatantly stupid and illogical. Nobody ever assumed that all Black women were aunt Jemima, and it was never a put down anyway, anymore than Betty Crocker was. Now Murphy Brown, that was a put down.

Saint Croix said...

Aunt Jemima replaced by Sheila.

good one from the Onion

n.n said...

I don't look at Homer Simpson and assume everyone thinks all white people are like that.

First, Simpson is yellow, Trump is orange, color judgments are a progressive condition. Second, yeah, diversity breeds adversity. The people who indulge diversity should be aborted (e.g. cancelled) or ignored to mitigate progress.

n.n said...

Diversity? Et tu, pancakes?

n.n said...

Aunt Jemima, regardless of backstory, was originally depicted as a fat, black, happy, doo-rag-wearing member of the kitchen help

Aunt Bea? And numerous others. It may have been a stereotype, but was diversity a motive?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

CUBANBOB Haven't eaten pancakes in quite a while but when I do, it won't be a Quaker product and I'll use real maple syrup

Is it time for Tres Leches pancakes again....or would that be racist against Latin American types?

😎

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Howard said...I saw rhhardin protesting Orville Reddenbacker popcorn as offensive stereotype of persnickety dweebs.

Ok. That one was actually funny.

Michael K said...

These corporations are killing brands that took 100 years to build. They have learned nothing from Gillette.

The story of Aunt Jemima.

Little Known Black History Fact: The History of Aunt Jemima
BlackAmericaWeb.com StaffBlackAmericaWeb.com Staff

In 1890, a former slave named Nancy Green was hired to be the spokesperson for Aunt Jemima brand food products.

Nancy Green was born into slavery in 1834 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. In 1889 the creators of Aunt Jemima, Charles Rutt and Charles Underwood, sold the company to R.T Davis, who soon found Nancy Green in Chicago. The previous owners had already agreed upon her ‘look’ of a bandana and apron. Davis combined the Aunt Jemima look with a catchy tune from the Vaudeville circuit to make the Aunt Jemima brand.

Green’s identity was first uncovered at the Worlds’ Columbian Exposition in 1893. There were so many people interested in the Aunt Jemima exhibit, police were called for crowd control. Green served pancakes to thousands of people. People loved her warm personality and friendly demeanor, not to mention her cooking. Green was given an award for showmanship at the exposition.

As a result of her dedication, Aunt Jemima received 50,000 orders for pancake mix. Not only did flour sales soar, but Green received a lifetime contract to serve as spokesperson. She was a living legend of the brand until she died in a car accident in September 1923.


Erased from history by idiots.

Kalli Davis said...

Your source states this magazine applied to travelers in southern states that allowed proprietors to discriminate during the Jim Crow laws era. largely not true in the north. Generally speaking of course. There will always be those individual racists.

Michael K said...

Both my parents (greatest gen fuck yeah!) were raised to some extent or other by black women.
This wasn't unusual for middle-class (even barely middle-class) families in their time and place. Even I and my brothers benefited from the practice--our weekly maid had worked at my father's parent's beauty shop for many years before cutting back to part-time domestic work.



I was too and Ritmo never shut up about it. It was very common in the 40s.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

may as well go after the SunMaid Raisin girl too

...she's probably Lebanese or something.

and per the Bee-- Crackerjack's is now 'Caucasian Jack's'

Narr said...

James Loewen's "Sundown Towns" is a good overview of the nationwide reach of Jim Crow back in the day. Don't fool yourselves that northern or western cities were not often as segregated in reality as southern ones, and businesses as racist.

Narr
Lots on the intertubes about them

I'm Not Sure said...

I don't get this need to be perpetually offended. Some people need to find themselves a better hobby.

Amadeus 48 said...

Try to get around London with a Geordie accent—it is a patois spoken in northeastern England. You are immediately seen as a thick-witted northern boob. My experience was that the Brits liked American midwestern accents but New Yorkers had worn out their welcome long since.

As to the lady who made a good living acting Aunt Jemima, what did she make of Hillary goin’ country on us? She ain’t noways tah-ard...

Amadeus 48 said...

Can’t I just eat my waffle?

Bunkypotatohead said...

INGREDIENTS: CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE

They should cancel the syrup just for the ingredients. Go buy some pure Vermont maple syrup from a lily white New England producer.
And get New Hope buttermilk pancake mix instead of that jemima crap.