Chris Lemler | June 17, 2020
I just read that Aunt Jemima is changing their labels. I think they are taking this way overboard and being petty. This whole racist thing is getting out of hand cause a few cops are bad. First they want to take off cop shows and now Aunt Jemima wants to change labels. What is this world coming too. What is everyone's thoughts on Aunt Jemima pancake company changing labels?

Kelly Lee | June 17, 2020
It's finally waking up that an awful lot of our culture is racist, is what is happening.
Aunt Jememia and Uncle Ben are absolutely racist stereotypes that we shouldn't embrace. Those statues of Black Jockeys that people put in their yards are racist stereotypes. And they are harmful to everyone.

We don't need our maple syrup to be about slavery. Why the hell it lasted this long in the first place, I don't know.

I mean, JESUS CHRIST THERE HAVE BEEN LYNCHINGS OF BLACK MEN, we don't need any more of this Uncle Tom bullshit. We can let go of it and grow as a nation.

Lori Lancaster | June 18, 2020
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Erik Bates | June 18, 2020
White Southerners in the Jim Crow era used "uncle" and "aunt" for older blacks because they refused to give them proper respect by calling them Mr. or Mrs.

If you have Hulu, I highly recommend watching "C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America"

It was an eye-opening mockumentary for me.

Scott Hardie | June 23, 2020
The Aunt Jemima character has quite racist origins. The company has improved her over the years by modernizing her, but there's really no way to fix her that eliminates what she used to represent. This isn't like Land O' Lakes butter, where the brand can go on without the character. Canceling the brand altogether is the only viable solution. The syrup itself is inoffensive; the company can go right on selling it if they start over with a different brand identity.

Why is making this change not going overboard? Because that brand hurts people. That's the crucial connection that I keep missing in news coverage of this sort of thing*: People aren't just mad about Aunt Jemima because black people shouldn't be mascots; they're mad because those messages promoted by the character are hurtful and demeaning, and that remains so no matter how much the corporation buries the message under the surface by giving the character a makeover. I have no stake in breakfast syrup; it doesn't affect me at all what the name on the bottle says. So if my neighbor is truly hurt by it, and I'm not hurt to change it, why in the world would I object? The argument that "it's just syrup" works both ways.

*As an aside, I saw the same problem in recent coverage of fans "canceling" J.K. Rowling over her comments about transgender people. The problem is not that Rowling is not "woke" enough or not being politically correct, which is easy to assume when no context is provided. The problem is that her comments are genuinely hurtful to transgender people and contribute to making the world a much more dangerous place for them. I don't want to get into comparing people's misery here (although if I did, the 50% of transgender people who experience violent assault seems at least as notable as the 14% of women who experience it that Rowling is concerned about); I just want the news to connect these important dots for the audience because it's so easy to misunderstand why society is changing.

Erik, you beat me to the CSA recommendation. As weird as it feels to type this sentence, that movie is a fun way to learn about the racism embedded under the surface of our culture. It really illustrates why Aunt Jemima and other brands -- including the recently-cancelled TV show Cops -- are so problematic. I recommend it to everyone.

Lori, my heart goes out to you. You've written about this sort of thing before. I can only imagine what it's like to deal with that, but you've made it pretty clear. I'm sorry to think that you and other people have to bear the brunt of the most toxic and hurtful elements of our society. :-(

Lori Lancaster | June 23, 2020
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Kelly Lee | June 23, 2020
It is on Hulu, if you have it.

Lori Lancaster | June 24, 2020
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Scott Hardie | June 24, 2020
Somebody put the whole movie on YouTube. I can't help but notice the comments debating whether or not the alternate-universe events portrayed in the movie could have plausibly happened, completely missing the point. :-)


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