After over 130 years, Aunt Jemima’s brand and logo, based on a racial stereotype, will officially be retired.
Quaker Foods, who owns the brand of syrups and other breakfast products, made the announcement in a press release. In the statement, Quaker Foods North America VP and Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Kroepfl acknowledged the racial origins of the brand, saying that “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 Aunt Jemima logo is based on an economic and racial stereotype has long been used against Black communities in the United States. A caricature of African American women, it has been used across time to claim that Black women were “happy to be slaves” or “only fit to be domestic workers,” as put by an essay on the stereotype by Ferris State University.
Both the logo and the name have been used since 1889, based on a song from a minstrel’s skit that included the caricature. Editorials from papers like the New York Times have called for getting rid of the logo and name for years, and amidst the current global Black Lives Matter protests, the conversation has been enough to finally convince Quaker Oats to rework the brand.
In the last quarter of 2020, bottles of the syrup will have the logo removed and the name reworked to something currently unknown. Meanwhile, Quaker’s decision to retire the Aunt Jemima Brand has led other products who brand on racial stereotypes, like Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s, to overhaul their logos and packaging as well.