Eskimo Pie dies, Aunt Jemima relatives fight back
Several American brands have announced that they will change their logo, name or label in light of protests over police brutality that stemmed from the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.
Brands that could be considered demeaning to various races are out: Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth to name a few. Eskimo Pie announced that it’s joining the list.
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term [Eskimo] is derogatory,” said Elizabell Marquez, a spokesman for Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, which bought Eskimo Pie in 2007.
It’s more likely that Dreyer is committed to a new, trendy marketing effort: “corporate responsibility.”
Some people are fighting back, saying the names have nothing to do with denigration.
“This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history, sir,” said a descendant of one woman who played Aunt Jemima, Larnell Evan, Sr.
“This woman served all those people, and it was after slavery. She worked as Aunt Jemima. That was her job,” he continued. “How do you think I feel as a Black man sitting here telling you about my family history they’re trying to erase?”
Another relative of a different woman tasked to play Aunt Jemima says that her relative “made an honest living,” when good jobs were in short supply in Texas in the 1920s and 1930s, especially for black women.
“She was considered a hero in [her hometown of] Hawkins, and we are proud of that. We do not want that history erased,” said Vera Harris of Texas.
So far there is no word from the Quaker Oats company, which owns the Aunt Jemima brand, if they will reconsider the decision to rebrand the pancake syrup.
At least one black commentator Terrence K. Williams thinks they should leave Aunt Jemima alone.
Scroll down to comment!