- Brands including Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, and Cream of Wheat acknowledged criticism of their racist roots this week.
- Aunt Jemima is changing its name and image, while Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat said they will conduct a complete review of the brands.
- Earlier this year, Land O’Lakes removed the drawing of a Native American woman on their packaging.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Companies are finally being forced to change brands, mascots, and logos that have long been criticized as racist.
In a single week, four brands have announced plans to change or consider changing their mascots and names. Parent companies have committed to entirely overhauling the brand, as in the case of Aunt Jemima, which announced it would lose its name and brand image.
While much of the criticism of brands such as Aunt Jemima and Cream of Wheat has been going on for decades, the recent killing of George Floyd and the following protests are helping force companies to make changes now. As massive corporations make donations to fighting inequality, they are also being force to look inward — and, in some cases, make changes.
Here are six brands that have committed to reviewing their racist roots in 2020.
Also on Wednesday, Uncle Ben’s parent company Mars said the company was planning to make changes to the rice brand. The name of the brand is linked to the practice of white Southerners calling older Black people “aunt” and “uncle” because they refused to use “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” Mars said in a statement
Cream of Wheat
B&G Foods announced late Wednesday that it was reviewing the chef mascot which features prominently on its Cream of Wheat brand. The chef was once featured in advertising as “Rastus,” a pejorative term associated with Black men.
“We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism,” the company said in a statement. “B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind.”
On Thursday, Colgate announced it planned to Darlie, a Chinese toothpaste brand that used to be called “Darkie.” Reuters reports that the brand used to feature a man in blackface as its logo, and that its Chinese name continues to translate as “Black person toothpaste.”
“For more than 35 years, we have been working together to evolve the brand, including substantial changes to the name, logo and packaging. We are currently working with our partner to review and further evolve all aspects of the brand, including the brand name,” a Colgate spokesman told Reuters.