NATIONWIDE – While protests and calls for racial justice continue across the country, some major household brands are lining up to discontinue long-time brand designs that highlight racial stereotypes of black Americans.
What You Need To Know
- Aunt Jemima announced plans to change brand on Wednesday
- Uncle Ben's imagery identified as "southern honorifics"
- Mrs. Butterworth bottle has maid-like figure shape
- Branding changes come amid racial injustice upheaval around the country
On Wednesday, syrup and pancake mix product Aunt Jemima opted to remove images of the black woman, whose history stems slavery, from their branding after 131 years.
Following in those footsteps are Uncle Ben’s rice brand and Mrs. Butterworth syrup.
According to CNN Business, the rice brand’s owner, Mars, is planning to change the rice maker's "brand identity”.
Mars posted a statement to its website making a stand against racism and that says "now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben's brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do."
According to the Uncle Ben's website, the name was first used in 1946 in reference to a black farmer known as Uncle Ben who excelled in rice-growing. The man pictured in the logo is a "a beloved Chicago chef and waiter named Frank Brown."
A 2007 New York Times article notes that the imagery represents a servant and uses a title that reflects how white Southerners "once used 'uncle' and 'aunt' as honorifics for older blacks because they refused to say 'Mr.' and 'Mrs.'"
Conagra, which makes Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, said it "can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values," reported CNN Business. The company is also in the works of rebranding its image, which includes a bottle that represents a maid-like figure.