Pop Culture 2020: Racial Stereotypes–Aunt Jemima Changes Name and Image

June 17, 2020–The pancake syrup company Aunt Jemima is changing its name and image after calls for racial equality.

The Quaker Oats-owned company said Wednesday that the iconic Aunt Jemima figure on its packaging is “based on a racial stereotype” and acknowledged that its prior work to update the character was “not enough.”

We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, in a statement.  The move was reported earlier by NBC News and Adweek.

 

a close up of a bottle

 

Shoppers will start to see new packaging at the grocery store without the Aunt Jemima image in the fourth quarter of this year. The company’s new name for the syrup and other products will be announced soon after.

The brand was formed in 1889 after owners Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood developed the pancake mix. The character on the box was brought together and inspired by a Black storyteller and cook named Nancy Green, according to the company’s website.

More than a century later, Aunt Jemima, who is said to have been born into slavery, no longer resembles a servant from the era. Quaker Oats bought the brand in 1926, and in 1989 swapped her red bandanna for pearl earnings and soft curls.

 

a close up of a bottle