Quaker Oats to remove Aunt Jemima name, image from packaging
After 130 years, Aunt Jemima will no longer appear on packaging.
Aunt Jemima's parent company, Quaker Oats, announced in a statement Wednesday morning that it would remove the marketing image and change the name by the fourth quarter of 2020.
“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” said Kristin Kroepfl of Quaker Foods North America. “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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 image of the fictional Aunt Jemima has changed over the years, but at the beginning, she was portrayed as a minstrel caricature who evoked the "mammy" archetype — a black woman who performed domestic labor in service to white people.
The move comes amid a reckoning with the United States' history of slavery and racial discrimination sparked by the police-involved killing of George Floyd, a black man.
Over the past few weeks, protesters and government officials alike have removed several Confederate statues and monuments across the country. Christopher Columbus has been a target of public ire as well — protesters pulled down a statue of him outside the Minnesota Capitol last week.
Earlier this year, Minnesota-based Land O' Lakes announced it would remove the image of the Native American girl that had been on its packaging since the 1920s.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.