These Tweets About Quaker Retiring Aunt Jemima Are All For This Update
On Wednesday, June 17, Quaker announced its decision to retire Aunt Jemima brand syrup and pancake mix because of the brand's racist connotations. The brand has been around for 130 years, and its character stems from the mammy caricature, which is rooted in pro-slavery propaganda and a racist stereotype. These tweets about Quaker retiring the Aunt Jemima brand celebrate the move and point out the racist origins.
While the image of Aunt Jemima has changed over the decades, the brand's earliest images of a Black woman on the packaging were a mammy caricature, a stereotype portraying older Black women as happy, motherly maids to white children and families during the time of slavery through the Jim Crow Era, according to The New York Times. According to David Pilgrim, the founder of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University (FSU) in Michigan, the caricature was propaganda to portray slaves as happy and contented in serving a white family that they supposedly loved. Over the decades, the mammy depiction was used often to sell household items and breakfast foods, and according to the museum's homepage, mammy images were used in advertising as early as 1875.
Because of these links to a racist past, Quaker's parent company, PepsiCo, is taking the step to completely remove the brand from its portfolio and replace it with a rebranded version of the syrup and pancakes. Addressing the change. Kristin Kroepfl, the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quaker Foods North America said in a June 17 press release, "We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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."
The move comes shortly after a viral TikTok by musician Kirby called out the brand's racist roots. Captioned, "How To Make A Non Racist Breakfast," Kirby explains the brand's background while pouring pancake mix down the drain.
So many Twitter users are happy to see the brand leave for good, but they are also pointing out how the brand has always has racist origins, citing some of the earliest Mammy caricatures from 1910 and 1920. Some early ads even bringing up an "old plantation flavor."
Some people are calling out the fact that Aunt Jemima lasted this long as a brand before being removed from the shelves:
It couldn't have happened soon enough, as many are pointing out it was a blatant reminder of racism for many years, despite the rebranding efforts:
Quaker has yet to announce what will replace Aunt Jemima. In the release, Kroepfl indicated this is a starting point: "We are starting by removing the image and changing the name. We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry." Packaging without the image is expected to roll out in late 2020, and a name change will follow, per the press release.