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In her 2015 New York Times piece, Richardson explained that the brand’s name and the original logo were inspired by a minstrel song, “Old Aunt Jemima.” Minstrel shows, which were popular throughout the United States in the mid-1800s, often featured white actors in blackface portraying Black people as lazy, stupid and subservient. For decades, Aunt Jemima product packaging has featured images of a smiling Black woman that has been criticized for years for depicting a racist mammy stereotype dating back to slavery. exactly what I thought. The people who are crying racist are the ones who have dredged this up from decades ago and shouted about it, most of us saw nothing but pictures on the food cartons and made no connection to race. Such a shame. Aunt Jemima was based on a former slave (yes slave) Nancy Greene. None of the campaign was about good cooks. It was about giving southerners (I’m paraphrasing here) something that they were used to. The mammy in the kitchen cooking.
As a point of fact this is not new. Well it is new that Pepsi (parent co) decided to change it, but they have been complaining about the image for years. They made billions and they will continue to make billions off the name and the image whether it’s on the box or changed to something else. But at no point was the mammy image something to be proud of. Why would you think that? Shirley Diane Turner Bostelman Call it what is. At least be honest. It’s the mammy bottle. My grandma didn’t look like that. And she could cook circles around Aunt Jemima. No offense to Nancy Greene, but she could. We’ve all grown up with that brand. But don’t think that no one complained about. Because they did. They complained bitterly, but the owners didn’t care they weren’t marketing to blacks. They were making money marketing to southerners who had grown up with that image. Much the same way you grew up with Colonel Saunders and KFC. Who was not a colonel by the way.
Just because you grew up with that image and didn’t hear any complaints doesn’t make it right. That’s the defense Paula Deene used isn’t it? “But I’ve always called them that. It’s the way I grew up.”