In the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis officers, protests have swept across the country, bringing attention to the Black Lives Matter movement while also shining a spotlight on systemic racism and police brutality. With a greater awareness raised over the past few weeks, companies with ties to racism in one way or another are under a microscope.
The latest is Quaker Oats' Aunt Jemima, which traces its roots back to 1889. The mascot was inspired by a former slave named Nancy Green, who was to look like a "Mammy" caricature. According to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, the "Mammy" image served as the "political, social, and economic interests of mainstream white America." An opinion column in The New York Times from 2015 by Riche Richardson called for the company to remove the image as it was linked to "Southern racism. She mentioned how the "Aunt Jemima" name came from a minstrel song, "Old Aunt Jemima." White performers performed minstrel songs in blackface. In regards to the "Mammy" caricature, Richardson explained how the image portrayed a "devoted and submissive servant" to her white owners.
With much more attention placed on racism with statues in some states being being removed, and major sports like NASCAR banning Confederate flags at its events, social media has finally begun to take notice of what has been sitting on the grocery shelf all of these years. Here is a look at what is being said about the Aunt Jemima brand across Twitter.
y’all are just finding out about aunt jemima? pic.twitter.com/NnWHDIFmee— Norris J. Blige (@norrisj23) June 16, 2020
Yall really finding out about Aunt Jemima now pic.twitter.com/K2FckqVSwX— BranFlakes? (@FuckBranFlakes) June 17, 2020
The company that makes Aunt Jemima when the BLM movement started pic.twitter.com/T3KY5BoIr1— Daniel Muro (@dmuro88) June 16, 2020
Black Owned Business:
If you’re still using Aunt Jemima Pancake and Syrup you need to ditch them now.
Please switch to these Black owned Pancake and Waffle Mixes and Syrup Businesses.
I added some history on the racist past on the Aunt Jemima brand in the thread.
Thread: pic.twitter.com/gDVw6oXAWp— Je'lon Alexander (@JelonAlexander) June 16, 2020
What about Aunt Jemima ever felt not racist to yall 😭😭— Fiona Applebum says block Shaun King! (@WrittenByHanna) June 17, 2020
All y'all woke idiots can't tell me you just realized Aunt Jemima is based on black minstrel shows. You've known that shit for decades, and you didn't care, so stop pretending to care now.— Just Some Guy (@justsomeguycc) June 17, 2020
Can't believe people are just learning now that Aunt Jemima is a racist brand. Don't y'all remember the "fat mammy" bottle they had back in the '70s? That was so gratuitous.
I haven't bought Aunt Jemima in 20 years.
Get you some maple syrup. That's where it's at, anyhow.— Steffani Cameron, Social-Distancer (@SnarkySteff) June 16, 2020