Last week, I wrote about Lady Antebellum changing their name to “Lady A” due to the negative connotations of their original name. We did not have to wait long to see other brands reconsidering their image.
Do you like pancakes? (If you do not, then I am not sure we could be friends. Kidding, I am.)
Lexico defines pancakes as:
“a thin, flat cake of batter, usually fried and turned in a pan. Pancakes are usually eaten with syrup or rolled up with a filling.”Lexico.com
Basically, they are what their name is – cakes made in a pan. The traditional toppings include butter and (maple) syrup. The salt from the melted butter, combined with the sweetness of the drizzles syrup makes for a perfect flavor combination. However, if you prefer your breakfast to be more nutritious, feel free to add fruits to the dish. I also like peanut butter and jelly on my pancakes from time to time.
What do pancakes have to do with racism? Apparently, a whole lot.
When drafting my posts, I use Pixabay.com for my images because they are free, I do not have to ask for permission and worry about figuring out whom to attribute the credit to. As I tried to search for a few photos to insert into this post, I realized that they are not available. It looks like they have been erased from existence. One search return only a few results for which I would have to pay to obtain the images. Very suspicious.
If you live in the U.S., you might already know what I plan to discuss today. However, if you are from abroad, chances are that you might be totally clueless. I do not want you to get any more grey hair from all that anticipation, so here it goes.
A very popular brand of pancake mixes (Yes, we like to make things easier on ourselves.) and syrups is called Aunt Jemima. The beginnings of the company date back to the late XIX (19th) century. The face of their brand is a black woman smiling ear to ear. Do you now see where this is headed? Due to recent racial discussions around the country, the company decided to change the name of the product and choose a new “mascot.”
Aunt Jemima is modeled after “Mammy” archetype, which was made popular during times of slavery. A “Mammy” was a black woman who worked for a white family and took care of their kids.
While shopping the other day, I saw a woman purchasing an Aunt Jemima brand syrup. In her opinion, the face/name was a tribute to the people who take care of our kid (any nanny) and make us feel happy with delicious food. I could not disagree with her logic. I have never associated that brand with nothing but love, happiness, and comfort.
Interestingly enough, while many are up in arms to revamp the company’s image, a certain Texan family is asking them to reconsider. It is their relative that is depicted on the boxes of pancake mixes and syrup bottles. They, too, like the woman I met at the store, believe that it is an honor to be a face of such a brand. They recall how much fun she had touring the country and serving pancakes.
As I mentioned in the last NROP, people enjoy jumping on the trend bandwagon more often than not. Aside from Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butter-Worth’s syrup as we know it is also going to vanish. The bottle is shaped to resemble a “loving grandmother,” which in this case is a little plump. Somehow, that too is against the company’s mission to not be offensive towards “black and brown” people.
Uncle Ben’s rice will also soon be a thing from the past. Why? Because there is a photo of a black man on the box. Where does that lead us? To shopping aisles filled with non-black faces. I thought we were trying to avoid that. Soon enough, we will see people protesting due to the lack of diversity in product packaging. “There is no representation of black people,” they will say. But, we should not think ahead. Let us focus on the eradication of history and silencing people.
For a photo of all the products and a more detailed article, visit a MarketWatch article.
I do not know if there is anyone out there who has not heard about “Jungle Book.” It is a childhood classic around the world. So is “Alladin.” When I read books or watch movies, I focus on the plot. But maybe it is because I am privileged…
“This film has outdated attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offence today.”“Aliens” via Sky
In the U.S., Netflix and HBO actually took down a few movies to show that they are not in the business of “promoting” racism.
Even though I say that nothing surprises me anymore, things still leave me flabbergasted every now and again. One recent instance was when I read about International Aisles in the supermarkets being racist. Apparently, putting select items from other countries in a specifically dedicated aisle is considered segregation. How do I view such aisles? I stroll down those aisles quite often. Why? Because that is how I discover things that I would otherwise have no way of trying. How can I buy something if I do not know that I want it? By checking things out in the international aisle, I learn about new things. I try new things. I get to know about other cultures. How is this bad? Is me saying “other cultures” a negative thing?
In today’s day and age, you’re not only at fault for doing something with malice. You’re also at fault when someone says you are.
How do you top your pancakes? Butter and syrup or something else?
Do you use any of the products mentioned above? How do they make you feel?
Do you associate pancakes with slavery?
What do you think is next in this war on racism?
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