It does not matter that Aunt Jemima was a real person and a former slave that her pancake recipe lifted her out of poverty and made her a millionaire.
A descendant of “Aunt Jemima” blasted the decision by Quaker Foods to cancel his great-grandmother’s legacy.
After the company said it would rename the line of products “to make progress toward racial equality,” Larnell Evans Sr. denounced the action.
“This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history, sir,” Evans told Patch.
“The racism they talk about, using images from slavery, that comes from the other side — white people. This company profits off images of our slavery. And their answer is to erase my great-grandmother’s history. A black female. … It hurts.”
According to Evans, his great-grandmother, Anna Short Harrington, was the second woman to portray Aunt Jemima.
Harrington would travel the country touting the Quaker product, which “made her a national celebrity,” according to Patch.
Evans and a nephew sought $3 billion from Quaker Foods in 2014, alleging the company used his relative’s pancake recipe and did not pay royalties. The suit failed.
“She worked for that Quaker Oats for 20 years. She traveled all the way around the United States and Canada making pancakes as Aunt Jemima for them,” Evans told Patch.
“This woman served all those people, and it was after slavery. She worked as Aunt Jemima. That was her job. … How do you think I feel as a black man sitting here telling you about my family history they’re trying to erase?”
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, as Breitbart News reported on Wednesday.
“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.”
Aunt Jemima isn’t the only black face being eliminated from branding. Uncle Ben’s Rice announced, it would also retool.
“As a global brand, we know we have a responsibility to take a stand in helping to put an end to racial bias and injustices,” the Mars-owned brand said.
“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,” the statement said.
B&G Foods, which features a black chef on its Cream of Wheat packaging, announced it is considering removing the man’s image.