TOWARDS THE END OF AUNT JEMIMA

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Pancake flipping. Broadly grinning. Greasy, smiling, shining face. Teeth broadly flashing a huge show of white. Head rag, bandanna wearing, servile, anything for the white folks. Icon of  the world of segregation and meek utter unconditional unending servitude.
The racist, sexist image of Aunt Jemima has become entrenched into the subconscious memory and culture of all Americans, and like a health-destroying bad habit, has sneaked into our existence and psyches as to have become a normal image that no longer holds feelings of disgust, shame and revulsion. That the manufacturers of Aunt Jemima have for over 100 years been able to so skillfully integrate this disparaging symbol into American culture, as to lend it as imparting endearing qualities across all racial, gender and ethnic groups, has had a profound impact on the image black Americans have had of themselves and of the image whites, and other races, have had of black people, and especially the image that black women have had to contend with.
That black women were relegated to being wet-nurses for the children of white people, that this asexual image of the all-giving mammy was created by white men to cover up their massive rapes of black women during slavery, regardless of the fact that black women in slavery on average were very thin/skinny because of a sub-standard slave diet, and that the majority of black women slaves did not live past the age of fifty years, this image was created to present the propaganda that black women were so matronly, so obese, so un-womanly, that there was no way any white man would have sex with such a black woman, let alone rape her.
Hence the creation of the Mammy/Aunt Jemima icon to justify rape of black women not only during slavery, but the continued perpetuation of legally and publically sanctioned rape of black women during Jim Crow segregation. Contrary to what many people think, the many black women who were forced into white homes to care for the white family because of the role of domestic servant was the only employment they could obtain, the image of the well-endowed, obese black Mammy is a lie. The majority of the black women who worked in white homes during segregation were young, slender black women. The creation of Aunt Jemima by white men was to soothe the conscious and fears of white women who felt that these “Jezebels” (ironic that the white men who raped black women would have the balls to call black women whores after they, the white men, raped black women for generations, and would slander black women with the epithet “Whore/Jezebel), but, white men created the Mammy image so white women would not have to fear that the Jezebel black woman would lure their weak-willed white men away, so that white women would not have to fear that these “temptresses” would wreck their already in turmoil white home life, therefore, Aunt Jemima was created to give the South an image of tranquil, docile, happy ex-slave black people who only lived to serve the white people’s bottomless needs. On the contrary, the many black women who were forced into working in white people’s homes resented this type of work and the horrors that came with it, since the job of domestic was all that was allowed to black women then.
And the all-pervasive degrading image of Aunt Jemima has relegated black women into a low economic status of life, forever slaves to a hateful stereotypical image of the all-serving, selfless, all-giving, give-out, work to the death, slave like a mule hitched to a plow, deny any and all essence of her being a human being—–MAMMY.

 

And despite all their efforts, despite all their work and accomplishments that so many black women have done, the  mammy image always forces them back into the slave plantation kitchen of many American’s minds. As the author, Deborah Gray White, author of “Ar’nt I a Woman?” put it so well:
“In the pictures painted by Americans, Mammy towered behind every orange blossom, mint julep, erring white child, and gracious Southern lady. . . .In the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s Hollywood film producers and New York advertising agencies built their own monuments to Mammy. With their films, their pancake boxes, and their syrup bottles, they imprinted the image of Mammy on the American psyche more indelibly perhaps than ever before.We probably can not measure the effect of the mass packaging of Mammy with precision, but the fact is that Mammy became a national symbol of perfect domesticity at the very time that millions of black women were leaving the cotton fields of the South in search of employment in Northern urban areas. Surely there is some connection between the idea of Mammy, the service and domestic jobs readily offered to black women, and their near-exclusion from other kinds of work.”
A CHRONOLOGY OF THE HISTORY OF THE RACIST STEREOTYPE AUNT JEMIMA
1889    
Pearl Milling Company founded by Charles Rutt and Chris Underwood.
Creation of the first ready-mixed pancake flour.
Aunt Jemima chosen by Charles Rutt as advertising’s first living trademark.
Aunt Jemima Manufacturing Company replaces Pearl Milling Company.
1890
Aunt Jemima trademark registered by Bert Underwood, brother of Chris.
Aunt Jemima Manufacturing Company sold to R. T. Davis Milling Company.
1893
Nancy Green debuts as Aunt Jemima at World’s Columbian Exhibition, Chicago, 1893.
1895
Aunt Jemima paper dolls introduced.
1900
Master of promotional strategies for Aunt Jemima trademark, R. T. Davis, dies.
1903
Reorganization of R. T. Davis Milling Company.
1905
Aunt Jemima rag dolls introduced.
1914
R. T.Davis Milling Company reincorporated as Aunt Jemima Mills Company.
1926
Aunt Jemima Mills Company sold to Quaker Oats Company for $4,202,077.28
1940S
Painted package illustration of Aunt Jemima becomes a realistic photograph.
1955
Aunt Jemima Restaurant opens at Disneyland.
1960s
Aunt Jemima image featured on packages and in advertising campaigns becomes a composite.
1989
Aunt Jemima trademark is 100 years old.
1989
Trademark modified and reintroduced on May 27.
1991
Quaker Oats/Aunt Jemima forms an alliance with the National Council of Negro Women.
 

Women Who Have Portrayed Aunt Jemima

 

Nancy Green (1834 – 1923)
The first Aunt Jemima, Nancy Green, was born a slave in 1834. She signed an exclusive contract which gave her the right to portray the character for the rest of her life. Green was featured at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Green, as Aunt Jemima, cooked pancakes, sang songs, and told stories of the Old South.
Anna Robinson ( ? – 1951)
In 1933, Anna Robinson became the second Aunt Jemima, and was featured at the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition. Robinson’s likeness was captured on a painted portrait, an image that changed the product’s packaging.
Edith Wilson ( ? – 1981)
Prior to becoming the character, Edith Wilson was a classic blues singer and actress in Chicago. She appeared in “Amos ‘n’ Andy” and the movie, To Have and Have Not. Quaker Oats had Wilson portray Aunt Jemima on radio, television, and in personal appearances from 1948 to 1966. Wilson was the first Aunt Jemima to appear in television commercials.
Ethel Ernestine Harper ( ? – 1981)
Ethel Ernestine Harper was Aunt Jemima during the 1950s. Prior to assuming the role, Harper graduated from college at the age of 17 and became a teacher. As an actress, Harper performed in the Hot Mikado and the Negro Follies.
Rosie Hall (1900 – 1967)
Rosie Hall worked for Quaker Oats in the company’s advertising department until she discovered their need for a new Aunt Jemima. In 1988 they declared her grave an historical landmark.
Aylene Lewis ( ? – 1964)
Aylene Lewis first portrayed Aunt Jemima in 1955 at a restaurant of the same name at Disneyland. As Aunt Jemima, Lewis posed for pictures with visitors.
Ann Short Harrington (1900 – 1955)
Little is known about the career of Ann Harrington. Clippings from New York papers indicate the Harrington was “discovered” working as a cook in Syracuse, New York for the Kappa Sigma fraternity house. Before the fraternity, Harrington had worked for the former New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. It is unknown how long Ann Harrington portrayed Aunt Jemima, but she apparently appeared on television shows as the character in the New York area.
 
 
THE ANATOMY OF A STEREOTYPE THAT HAS MOCKED, DENIGRATED AND VILIFIED BLACK WOMEN FOR OVER 100 YEARS
The term stereotype was coined by a Frenchman named Firmin Didot in 1798. Stereotyping was associated with a printing mechanism that consisted of a plate upon which letters had been cast to create a permanent and unchangeable record or image. Around 1824 the term was being applied in a metaphorical sense due to its association with consistent monotony of perceived expectations and ideas that arise from prejudicial notions of fantasy, versus reality based in fact.
The phrase was introduced to the general public by Walter Lippmann in 1926. He described it as:
“An ordered more or less consistent picture of the world to which our habits, our capacities, our comforts and our hopes have adjusted themselves. . ., it is a form of perception which implies a certain character on the data of our sense before the data reach intelligence.”
Stereotypes are the set of traits used to explain and predict the behavior of members of socially defined groups, therefore, based on this definition, stereotypes can and will result in perceptions of an extreme consistent nature, allowing for little, if any, variation within the target it seeks to define. Cut to the chase, a stereotype can be defined as a consistent representation of black people in advertising with images, words/text, and situations that in the end suggest that ALL members of the race (ergo, black people) are the SAME.
The stereotypes most associated with Aunt Jemima are considered as very negative by many black people. Traditional stereotypes are negative and always portray the intended group of people given the stereotypes in an unfavorable and disgusting light, and the main intent of stereotypes serves to stand for a whole diverse group of human beings. And nowhere is this more seen than in the case of Aunt Jemima, who is known to blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, etc. as the motherly-think-of-everyone-else-before-herself-even-if-it-means-her-demise-both-physical-and-mental Mammy image, due to 100 years of mass marketing.
And it is the negative stereotypes of Aunt Jemima that seriously hinder and degrade the image of all black American women.
And it is through the mass media that the images of Aunt Jemima are proliferated and bombard the mental cognizance of persistent memory. And make no mistake about it,  mass media plays a very vital role in the perpetuation of racist/sexist stereotypes against black people. The stereotyping of black people by media provides negative role models for both the minority/subjugated group (black people) and the majority/dominant group (white people). This causes a rift of cultural isolation, racial and residential segregation, increasing the distance between the two, making communication extremely difficult, and fuels the lingering legacy and detrimental effects of the pervasive stereotypes.
And the stereotypes of Aunt Jemima/Mammy are the most insidious that black women continue to have to challenge, fight and suffer from:
-The happy slave
-The devoted servant
-The happy non-white
-The natural-born cook
-The mental inferior
-The woman who is so ugly in appearance that she is no one a man would want to romance, love, or bring into his life or show off around his male buddies/friends
Aunt Jemima would also be the happy-go-lucky, clowning, grinning, childlike, soulful, hostile [but wary] perpetual servile slave.
Other attributes of Aunt Jemima/Mammy are the following:
-Strong, kind, loyal
-Obese, almost cow-like in image
-Slatternly, lazy and filthy in her appearance
-Her dark skin was mocked with a greasy eye-blinding shine
-Asexual, unattractive, matronly in appearance
-Always the “motherly type”—-but, not the type for a man to marry
-Good-humored to a fault, never had reason to cry or experience sorrow
-The ubiquitous head rag (which incidentally, was originally a West African gele headwrap worn by black Africans, but made into a pernicious stereotype by white people during slavery and by media ads of the 20TH Century). This image gave way to the phrase “handkerchief head”.
(Ironically, the name “Jemima” is biblical in nature and is an anglicized version of the feminine Hebrew name Yamimah, the second of Job’s daughters born to him at the end of his self-entitled book of the Bible. Jemima, the offshoot of irascible mammy, was sweet, jolly, even-tempered, and polite. Yamimah/Jemima, Hebrew for “dove,” was Job’s youngest daughter, symbolizing innocence, gentleness, and peace. But the name belies its meaning. The caricature connotes not naïvéte but stupidity, not peace but docility. Jemima was an obese, darkly pigmented, broad-bosomed, handkerchief-headed, gingham-dressed, elderly servant content in her subjugation.)
When black women slaves stepped off the plantation, they envisioned a life free from perpetual toil of slavery, but, white America would not let them shed the shackles of the racist image of Aunt Jemima. With the packaging of Aunt Jemima securely embedded into the minds of all Americans, the icon of Aunt Jemima was here to stay.
In the 1923s, the Daughters of the Confederacy asked the Congress to set aside a site in the Capitol area where a monument in recognition of the “Black Mammy” could be built. Black people were so angered and offended at the thought of such an outrage even being suggested that they protested vociferously against this monument of insulting degradation against the image of black womanhood, and as a contemptuous sign of black servitude. Black women across the nation were enraged at the proposal for a Mammy statue. Civil rights leader Mary Church Terrell wrote that if it were built, ‘there are thousands of colored men and women who will fervently pray that on some stormy night the lightning will strike it and the heavenly elements will send it crashing to the ground.’  They instead suggested that “a better memorial would be to extend the full rights of American citizenship to the descendants of these Mammies”. Ending the lynching, public humiliation of black people on trolley cars and other forms of transportation, giving black people the right to vote, were what black people needed, not more racist/sexist slaps in the face. So great was the pressure brought by black people, black leaders and black groups, that the monument was rightfully killed in the House of Representatives.
I have admiration and reverence for Nancy Green and the many black women who portrayed Aunt Jemima.
They made do as they could with the world that was handed to them, and showed themselves, as so many, many black women have, that they were of better, sterner stuff than those white people who insulted, belittled, degraded, and mocked them.
The many Nancy Greens who had to go into white homes and face rape from the white husbands and sons, faced abuse from the white wives, faced disrespect, faced being cheated out of wages that amounted to nothing more than $2-3 dollars a day for hard labor under conditions that were no better than slavery—–those black women were the real humans, the real women, the real Southerners.
On days when I think I have it so bad, when I think I can’t go on, I remember all those brave black women who came before me, and I say to myself: “If they can go on after enduring hells that I can only conceive of in nightmares, then who am I to complain?”
It is white-run America that created these images; created these images to destroy the integrity, the value, the humanity of black women. That white men used black women as sexual toilets, and that white men tried to justify their sexual hatred of black women with the creation of “Mammy” was white Southern society’s way of sweeping under the rug white male sexual aggression against black women. By creating “Mammy”, white men , and white women, were seeking to assuage their guilt over all the hundreds of thousands of rapes done to black women during slavery and segregation. The creation of Mammy was to deflect from the reality of what many black women and girls suffered at the hands of white male rapists in the South. And this subservient image was created as a controlling image against black women. Black women who had more honor and humanity than all the white people who sought to destroy them.
Would that white America and all of America could learn from these fine women’s humility and love of life that they were willing to take the brunt of abuse so that their children, and their children’s children would have a better, less hellish life.
That is what a real woman does.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The devastation of the enduring legacy of Aunt Jemima/Mammy still haunts all black women no matter how substantial their successes in America. In 1986, Oprah Winfrey became offended when “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels asked her to perform a skit with her playing Aunt Jemima in the process of being laid off by the Quaker Oats Company. Oprah was incensed and refusing to play the part, instead wanted to open the show with a sketch showing her arguing with Michaels over the skit, that no matter how much education, fame, knowledge, or position a black woman gains in America, in the end she is still a servile, slaving, mule of the world Aunt Jemima/Mammy in white America’s eyes. Even the Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has not escaped the slanderous insult that Aunt Jemima brings with it; she too, has been called an Aunt Jemima, as well, by a radio host who refused to apologize to Madame Secretary, but, he was willing to apologize to Aunt Jemima, and give radio listeners of a contest, free pancake mix and syrup! 

This contemptuous insult is hurled at all black women no matter what their occupation, acheivements or station in life.

And that is how many people, of many races, still wish to view black women.

That no matter what we accomplish, we will always be mammies, wet-nurses and proverbial cooks in people’s eyes, no matter how many degrees we have, no matter what board room corporation we run, no matter how we take care of our families and communities. That someone of the stature of Oprah Winfrey could be relegated to being seen as a selfless serve Massa and Missus Mammy is a testament to the America’s love and desire to keep black women in the kitchen, on the plantation, cooking and slaving away for white-run America’s benefit, white-run America’s contentment, white-run America’s happiness.

AUNT JEMIMA MAKES A CHANGE IN 1989

In 1989, the Quaker Oats Company changed their image of Aunt Jemima. Gone was the greasy shine, the head rag, the obese figure. In its place came the pearl earrings, a slimmed down face/figure, and a helmeted perm. But, no matter what the changes, Aunt Jemima is still Aunt Jemima—a hated, racist, sexist icon, that continues to haunt black women. She may look like a black Betty Crocker, but, she is still Aunt Jemima.

In 2007 America, Aunt Jemima commands a huge share of the breakfast foods market in pancake mixes, syrup, and frozen waffles/pancakes. But, there are still some black people today who are insulted by the continuing image of this icon still being sold and merchandised to Americans. And as a stereotypical image Aunt Jemima has offended some members of the black community, many of whom refuse to buy the product for fear of looking like aiders and abettors in this most sexist and racist of symbols that has lived for so long in the world of advertising and the perpetuation of a stereotype that will not die and go down into that grave and stay dead.

In 1991, the Quaker Oats Company fearing the backlash of the 1960s and 1970s of the Black Power Movement, and recognizing the challenges the black community was putting on the marketers of racist merchandise (Cream of Wheat, Uncle Ben’s Rice, and Aunt Jemima), created a contest and entered into a venture with the National Council of Negro Women in the hopes of making the trademark into a more positive symbol with the black American community. They ran the year-long contest, which was to recognize the leadership skills and talents of black female college students. Many  women were honored across various sectors of black society, from many cities across America. The program ended with a national winner representing:

“The nominees and winners in each city will symbolize community involvement and strong family values—those traditional qualities that Aunt Jemima brands continue to represent and support.

“There are many women across the country whose hard work and dedication deserve recognition and appreciation. We want to lift up examples of women in different fields who inspire us all to greater community service.”

Wow.

Service.

Hard work.

Slavish servile support of other people’s interests other than her own.

Hmm.

Sounds very Aunt Jemimaish to me.

The winner at the breakfast award that was held at the  Quaker Oats Chicago headquarters, was given an award and was named “Black Woman Community Leader of the Year”.

However, the program did receive some flak from the black community.

SO WHERE DO WE STAND WITH AUNT JEMIMA?

The selling of Aunt Jemima adorned merchandise is still with us. People continue to buy this product which has outlasted (with the exception of Uncle Ben’s Rice and Rastus of Cream of Wheat) many racist stereotypical products created to insult and degrade black Americans.

Aunt Jemima has outlived:

-Gold Dust Twins

-Nigger Head Oysters

-Racist trade cards

-Rising Sun Stove products

-Pickaninny Brand Peanut Butter

-Kirkman’s Soap

And that’s just to name a few.

 
Mammy.
Black women still have to contend with the insulting blow that Aunt Jemima has delivered for over 100 years.
For the last 30 years, I have waged a silent boycott of Quaker Oats’s Aunt Jemima icon by not buying products that continue to degrade and disrespect me as a black woman.
And enough time has been spent waging this battle against this company which has no interest in retiring this most hated of racist and sexist symbols.
Therefore, I have created a petition to end the flagrantly disrespectful Aunt Jemima image, here:
My petition is to implore the Quaker Oats Company to cease its use of Aunt Jemima. For Quaker Oats to start showing the respect to black women that we have more than earned the right to after 400 years of living with sexist and racist denigration from the cruel stereotypes created by white America.
Please, if you also wish to join with me in the demise of Aunt Jemima, I ask that you sign my petition.
Together, with enough of our signatures, we can hopefully, and  finally, put Aunt Jemima out of her misery.
And finally for the Quaker Oats Company to start to truly give respect and honor to all the glorious contributions that so many black women have made in their lives in this country.
It is not necessary to degrade and insult an entire race of women to sell a product. And that is the message I wish to send to Quaker Oats.

Enough is enough.

LINKS/REFERENCES:

http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/mammies

http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/metropolitan/96/04/07/aunt-jemima.html

http://www.auntjemima.com/aj_history

http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlineessays/JC28folder/Mammy.html

http://www.thecemetaryproject.com/Graves%202/aunt-jemima.htm

http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/Grad_Sch/McNair/2004/mcgee.pdf

“Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and Rastus:  Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”,  by  Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, foreword by Alex Haley.  Praeger Publishers, 1994.

 

AUTHENTIC HISTORY: “Stereotypes of African-Americans: Products and Advertising”  (AUNT JEMIMA PANCAKE AD)

THE MAMMY PROJECT

THE MYTHIFICATION OF THE MAMMY

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: BLACK MAMMY STATUE

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79 Comments

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79 responses to “TOWARDS THE END OF AUNT JEMIMA

  1. stephaniegirl

    Let this hateful symbol die along with jezebel, tragic mulatto, and welfare mother. These symbols are a hateful reminder society have for Black women for a very long time and is not going anywhere because America and Americans promote, maintain, and fertilize such hated symbols of Black womanhood. They profit and benefit from it because white supremacy, white “racial purity”, and white privilege depends upon promoting hateful stereotypes of Black women, children, and men.

    Let’s end the hate!
    Stephanie.

  2. jo

    what a fantastic read, I’ll be encouraging others to sign the petition. would it be okay with you if I linked this post to the next radical feminist carnival? it would be a way of getting more signatures, I’m sure it would be very supported.

  3. Ann

    Yes, you may link my post to your next radical feminist carnival.

    And I would appreciate any signatures you send my way to sign my petition.

    Thanks so much for your offer.

  4. jo

    thanks for writing such a challenging and insightful piece.

  5. Andrew

    Wow, I wrote a paper about the history of that symbol a few years ago. Had to present it in class, and know what, none of the white people in that class believed that Aunt Jemima carried such heavy baggage.

    Awesome post. Thanx.

  6. thanks for this post Ann, it was really excellent. You should submit this to racialicious.

  7. This post is BRILLIANT. thank you for bringing it to our attention

  8. and I would just like to add that I believe the people who label Oprah, Condi as ‘Aunt Jemimas’ are just allowing this label to thrive and are serving exactly what today’s modern day planterocracy wants to us to dish.

  9. i’m sorry to post about the ‘no’ documentary here but i could not see the comment section there. thank you so much for finding that interview as i had been looking for information concerning that as well. i had a post concerning rape on my blog and i’d like to hear your input if you can. thanks.

  10. Ann

    Stephanie. Jo. Andrew. Aulelia.

    Thanks to all of you for coming by. Your comments are most appreciated.

    Aulelia.

    When you go to the “NO!” post, look at the bottom of your computer screen. You will see a “tab bar” with an arrow to the right, and an arrow to the left. Press on the arrow button at the bottom right and hold down that button until you see the screen moving to the left. There you will see the button for comments. (I realized that after I put the post up.) Once you move the screen over to see the comment button, you should be able to post a comment. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    By the way, Andrew and Aulelia, have both of you signed my petition?

    I would appreciate it greatly if you both do sign on. I need all the signatures I can get.

    Peace.

  11. Ann

    Aulelia.

    I forgot to add.

    Click on the title of the “NO!” post first. That will open up the comment section. Using the scroll/tab bar at the bottom of your computer, move the “post” over going to the left. The comment section for you to leave a comment will be open.

    Hope that helps you.

  12. Ann

    AradhanaD.

    Sorry, I did not mean to forget you.

    Thanks also for stopping by and for your comment.

    (Everyone will have to excuse me as my laptop is back into the shop again, for the FOURTH time! This is the last straw with that machine. I am hoping that they will do as I have asked: give me a new machine and junk this one. But, that remains to be seen. I will know for sure by next weekend. So, until then, it’s log on to another computer that is not mine. Sigh. Annoying and aggravating to say the least.)

    AradhanaD.

    I will try and contact racialicious soon about putting my post up.

    The more people who see and read my post and realize the cruel, hateful history behind this stereotype, the better.

  13. Andrew

    Ann wrote:

    “By the way, Andrew and Aulelia, have both of you signed my petition?”

    I just did Ann. I meant to come back to it and forgot. Sorry. I’ll also pass the link to this post and the petition on, so hopefully you’ll get some more signatures soon.

  14. Hey Ann,

    I just left my signature on the petition. Great initiative.

  15. The reason this stereotype is incredibly disgusting and pejorative to me is because it sidelines older black women as non-attractive and servile and submissive. It denotes that having darker skin immediately makes you everyone’s doormat. Black women are beautiful — I am convinced that the white supremacy in those decades knew this and this is WHY they created these stereotypes to suppress us.

  16. Ann,

    Thank you for the post. I’m hoping your site will still be active in the fall as I plan to use it as an example of Black women’s critical consciousness and activism in my Black Feminism class.

    I have been thinking about recent (and past) criticism of Oprah. You wrote:

    “That someone of the stature of Oprah Winfrey could be relegated to being seen as a selfless serve Massa and Missus Mammy is a testament to the America’s love and desire to keep black women in the kitchen, on the plantation, cooking and slaving away for white-run America’s benefit, white-run America’s contentment, white-run America’s happiness.”

    Yes, there is a need to hold Black women captive in the mythology. Sadly, many Black people are co-conspirators in this circus. I’ve noticed many of the people who criticize people like Oprah do not do as much (or any) humanitarian work as she does. We have to watch ourselves to see how we perpetuate the mythology — how we live it everyday. The first step, I believe, is to know the history and to understand the insidious and deliberate attempts to maintain slave and master mentalities, only with new tricks. Your post provides some of that history.

    I’m linking to you if you don’t mind.

  17. Ann

    BlackWomb.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. And thank you for signing my petition.

    The racist, sexist stereotype of Aunt Jemima has troubled me for many years. Its offensive denigration of all black women makes it one of three hated images that black women have had to fight against ever since we were brought here in chains to America:

    -Aunt Jemima
    -Jezebel
    -Sapphire

    Thanks for linking to me.

    I will not be posting much over the next few days, so please spend some time visiting my site.

    I have also visited your blogsite, and it is great. And I have also linked to you.

  18. Bizwax, what rock have you been hiding under the past few decades? And, we’ll just see how long you can keep that man.

    Seriously: this is a great post. However, people who sign the petition need to put their full names – and I’d suggest locations too, actually, the signature list needs to look verifiable/real.

  19. Bizwax—I don’t know about other folk here, but I don’t appreciate your weak attempt at trolling. And if you had dared come on my site using a term like “negresses” to refer to women of color, I would have banned you with a quickness.

    Ann, I’m definitely signing the petition. Thanks for writing this important article.

  20. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Aunt Jemima Petition

  21. Great post!

    I signed the petition. Thanks for creating it.

  22. blackromancereader

    I signed and shall promote it on my blog.

  23. Pingback: Ain't Jemima no more... « Reading While Black

  24. Excellent piece of work, Ann! I posted about your post and your petition. They both deserve attention.

  25. Brittany

    Just so you know, two people have signed the petition with hateful comments.

  26. Ann

    Profacero. Yolanda. Radfem. Blackromancereader. Changeseeker.

    Thanks so much for all of your comments.

    Yolanda, I did not catch the vicious post of bizwax. I have deleted its comment, and therefore, I have gone to full moderation on comments. It does not surprise me of that creature’s response. I realized before I put up my post and petition that it would garner racist comments.

    The image of Aunt Jemima has endured for over 100 years, and I know that old racist, sexist beliefs die very hard. Can’t have something like that around for years and not expect it to create such issues of venom. Change does that to people who desperately hold onto hated viewpoints. But, change eventually comes, no matter how painful it is.

    Brittany.

    Thanks for the heads up. I have gone to full moderation on my petition. I am prepared for a full out battle not just with the Quaker Oats Company, but, also with those who hate to see this symbol die from the lingering death it has been suffering from for so long.

  27. Pingback: Do you give a damn about Aunt Jemima? | the way there

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  29. Aloha!

    Excellent read. Mahalo for your insightful analysis of a pernicious stereotype.

    Leilehua

  30. Wow Ann, You’re up to 92 signatures.

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  33. Ann, the model for the Cream of Wheat was recently identified as a chef named Frank L. White and given a grave marker. Check the story.

    This just seems apropos with your post.

  34. Ann

    Sharon.

    Thanks so much for that link.

    According to one historical account, Emery Mapes, one of the partners of Diamond Milling Company, which manufactured Cream of Wheat, while dining in a restaurant, saw White, noticed his broad smile and instantly saw him as the epitome of what he needed for his advertising icon. White was persuaded to pose in a chef’s white cap/toque, and was paid FIVE DOLLARS for his services.

    Little did he know that his face would become as familiar as Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington in people’s minds. Although his face adorned the Cream of Wheat box for more than 70 years, neither Frank White, nor any of his relatives received any monetary compensation for the picture.

    Over the years, many black men have tried to win monetary compensation by posing as the chef or a relative of White, but, they were proven to be imposters by company officials.

    Supposedly, Mapes had a secret way of identifying the original man but the company never found him.

    “Everybody deserves a headstone”.

    And so does this gentleman.

    May he rest in peace.

  35. Pingback: stanselen~ (to sparkle + & spark) » Welcome To Our Third Radical Feminist Carnival

  36. Hello

    Very interesting information! Thanks!

    G’night

  37. They should have a picture of someone from the master race. Me!

    MODERATOR:

    Not a bad idea, since white supremacist self-hating racists are the ones who have created all of the vicious stereotypes against black American women that still exist to this day.

    Just the same, you are banned from my site.

  38. Jeff

    Consider that if the brand was removed from store shelves would this repair the conspiratorial disparagement by corporate/white America? Indeed with one symbol removed wouldn’t another be sought and assigned responsibility for problems in the black community? Human beings are imperfect and it’s going to take a lot more than attacking commercialism to eliminate racism from society. Ignorance is the true culprit. Ignorance is the breeding ground of hatred. What is most important in achieving success is individual responsibility. Life is never fair and blaming the ills of society will not change that. Stop getting mired in the problems of the past, it’s well past the time to move forward.

  39. Ann

    “Consider that if the brand was removed from store shelves would this repair the conspiratorial disparagement by corporate/white America?”

    It would take centuries for America to repair the devastating effects of slavery, failure of Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation and when Affirmative Action was white (and still is). It is not just the legacy of slavery/segregation with its rapes, burnings, ethnic racial cleansing, rand racial pogroms that the icon AJ stands for. It is also the legacy of white skin privilege that keeps white on top, and black on the bottom with the disparity of educational-, economic-, social-, violence. White-run corporate America is centuries behind progressive, forward-thinking citizens who wish to see this country as all- inclusive, instead of exclusive.

    “Indeed with one symbol removed wouldn’t another be sought and assigned responsibility for problems in the black community? ”

    Racist/sexist/stereotypical symbols are ever evolving. America has a long and hated affair with her black citizens in the use of racist, disparaging forms of media, media which started during slavery with ads for the reclamation of runaway slaves, through segregation of black people as sub-human, all the way up to present-day Madison Avenue which still uses stereotypes of what a black American is. America still keeps and seeks after racist imagery of her black citizens. She has never let up, and never will, so terrible is her hatred of her black citizens. Movies, TV news reports, racist, stereotypical slants (“framing”) of black people in the negative, is an ongoing fact of life for black Americans. We face more than just the icons of racist stereotypes that we have to confront and face daily.

    “Human beings are imperfect and it’s going to take a lot more than attacking commercialism to eliminate racism from society.”

    True. The deep entrenchment of white racist supremacy in America pervades and pollutes ALL Americans. Four hundred years of vicious brutalizing race hatred of black Americans that has NEVER been truly addressed in this country will not go away. It will take more than dismantling racist/sexist icons. It would take a monumental overhauling of many Americans love, worship and kow-towing to the belief and upholding of “whiteness”, whiteness which has destroyed so much in this country for so many centuries, so many generations.

    “Ignorance is the true culprit. Ignorance is the breeding ground of hatred.”

    It is more than ignorance, and not speaking of America’s perverted atrocities will not make them go away. Running and hiding from America’s long history of hate and destruction against her most defenseless citizens will not change the legacy of whiteness which still destroys: substandard unequal education in schools, racist double-standard judicial system, unequal pay disparities in and outside of the corporate world.

    And it is America’s IGNORANCE of her history that has led us here to this state of the racist hierarchy of white always being accorded validity, with blackness always accorded no validity, no regard for black humanity or worth. Ignorance is what has turned America into the most hypocritical nation in how it treats, or rather, mistreats its black citizens. Remaining ignorant of America’s racist realities only creates a country of lies and more hypocrisy about this countrys racist past. Truth and knowledge are always better than falsehood and ignorance.

    “What is most important in achieving success is individual responsibility.”

    What black American would not give anything for individual acknowledgment in this country. Unlike white Americans, black citizens do not have the pleasure of being accorded individuality. We forever remain monolithic, amorphous, borg-like in white America’s eyes. White America has enjoyed the benefit of individuality since before 1619; black citizens have not. When successful, rich, affluent blacks achieve success/individuality, they still remain “niggers” in the eyes of white America. But, hey, we black people still will strive for group and individual success. That is what has helped us to survive in a country which still has our destruction in mind.

    “Life is never fair and blaming the ills of society will not change that. Stop getting mired in the problems of the past, it’s well past the time to move forward.”

    Telling the truth is not blaming in any way. Telling the truth is just that: truth telling. Telling the truth blames nothing on anyone. Telling the truth frees this country, bit, by bit, from the stranglehold of its savage racist past. Telling the truth works towards dismantling the savage inequalities that persists in this country, inequalities that work for the benefit of whiteness at the expense of blackness.

    “Stop getting mired in the problems of the past, it’s past time to move forward.

    How unbelievably trite your statement.

    “If we all just could bury our heads and not speak of and address America’s racist history, then, “Presto! Chango!, everything will be okey-dokey.”

    No.

    The past is always with us. Way past time for black and white Americans to finally begin the much needed work to start on the road to reconciliation. Lying to ourselves will not do it. Denying all the sadistic race hatred of ethnic violent racial purging of black Americans from their homes all across America, the genetic violence of white male rape against black women and girls, the lynchings, the burnings and tortures, the huge theft of black citizen’s property, the many thousands of race massacres all across America, the economic disparity when Affirmative Action was white will not make all of that legacy/history go away.

    It must be faced up to and confronted.

    Black citizens, and all of America will never know what could have happened if white America had had the guts to do right by black people. Today the same still holds true in how America views her black citizens with so much contempt as to not accord them individuality, but, only still looks at black Americans as if they are all of some like-minded hive. Being black Americans we cannot win for losing. The dice still rolls in the favor of whites, and America sees and knows that in how white-run America disregards and callously disparages her black citizens.

    Speaking of America’s history is not being mired in the past.

    Black America will move forward with or without white America’s consent.

    We’ve done it before. We are still doing it.

    The fact that America casts all negative views/stereotypes, upon black America (black crime is never crime that one lone black person does; it is an image that is cast over all black Americans as if one black does wrong, then all blacks are wrong) still dogs at the heels of black Americans. Segregation which ended a mere 40 years ago on paper, one generation ago, but, is still with us in the social, residential segregational isolation that occurs against black citizens.

    I center on segregation because there are still black men and women alive who suffered under that brutal, apartheid regime. And that there are white criminals walking around who have not faced justice for their acts of barbarity and depravities is a mockery to what this country supposedly stands for.

    I mention ethnic cleansing, racial pogroms and racial covenants (which occurred all across America). America’s mass hatred of her black citizens is sick, sordid and sadistic.

    Hatreds which even a horror movie maker could not dream up.

    One of the dirty little secrets of these hatreds are “Sundown Towns”.

    If you are not familiar with what that phrase means, then, allow me to translate:

    “Nigger, don’t let the sun go down on you in this town.”

    Sundown towns were all across the United States:

    -West
    -East
    -North
    -Mid West

    The South had no need of sundown towns; they already had segregation.

    Any black person caught inside a sundown town who had not left by nightfall, met either harassment, beating, or death.

    And make no mistake, sundown towns still exist across America. They just do not advertise it anymore, the way they did in the past with signs posted on the outskirts of the town.

    Today they are gated communities, predominantly white.

    Racial covenants.

    Neighborhoods which had clauses in keeping blacks out of white neighborhoods:

    “November 1927, Capitol Hill – “The parties… agree each with the others that no part of the lands owned by them shall ever be used or occupied by or sold, conveyed, lessed, rented or given to Negroes or any person of Negro blood.” (1)

    “October 31, 1947, Laurelhurst, Victory Heights, Green Lake Circle – “No person of other than the Caucasian race shall use or occupy any building or lot except as servants domesticated with any owner or tenant.” (1)

    “Domesticated”, as if they were fucking animals, instead of human beings made in the image of God.

    You can’t run a country that considers a group of human beings as three-fifths of a human, with rights no white man was bound to respect (and still does not), and not consider them human, four centuries later.

    Unless you were a domestic slave/servant (no difference), you had better get the hell out of racist Dodge, or suffer the consequences.

    And believe me, the consequences were downright brutal and inhumane.

    1. “Sundown Towns”, by James W. Loewen

    Levittown.

    Or, “How to Give a Leg-Up to White WW II Veterans Over Black Veterans Who Put Their Lives on the Line for This Racist Country”. The G.I. Bill gave white WW II vets enormous advantages over black men and women veterans.

    How else where the white suburbs built if not for the racist application of home loans that favored white vets over black vets?

    The Social Security Act which could have helped black and Latinos because the act addressed those people who needed the help more than anyone else: domestic workers and migrant farm workers (black women and Latino men and women). Racist applications of this act gutted and demolished its full intent, allowing whites to benefit from it the most.

    The South was just more obvious about its sick, racist depravities, and just more stupid than the North.

    Yes, the North.

    Another dirty little secret that many people do not know about the North:

    Slavery *yes, gasp* originated in the original 13 colonies.

    Slavery started in the North. Only thing is, because of the economy and climate, the North could not sustain slavery the way the South did.

    The North did not let go of slavery out of any moral remorse, no.

    The North could not leech and parasite off unpaid black slave labor because north of the Mason-Dixon Line, cotton does not grow, neither does rice nor sugar.

    Lots and lots of dirty disgusting little secrets that Miss America the Great Babylon does not want her citizens to know.

    Ergo, when black people speak of the truth out comes the old inevitable, “Shut up. Be quiet. Do not speak the truth.”

    And that always ever ubiquitous,

    “Get over it.”

    We’ll get over it when America stops treating us as third class citizens in our own country. Also spoken (and sometimes unspoken) is the view that blacks who constantly do not deny America’s racist past often are inevitably called racist. Happens very often. But, then again, it is no surprise that many people consider blacks as the racists for our daring to live in the real world.

    Black Americans and Native Americans definitely know and have a history of hellish nightmares in this country.

    We cannot help but have that unique historical outlook.

    When you come from a people who know what it is to be almost literally wiped off the face of the earth (ethnic cleansing) day, night, year after year, after year, then you know what you are talking about better than someone whose race (white/European) experienced nothing that can compare to what your own (Indians, blacks) suffered.

    But then, that’s us racists.

    Always living in the real world.

    Especially us black racists.

    This country hates to hear the truth, especially when it comes from the lips of black people.

    The truth hurts.

    And this country’s, lying and denying and running screaming from the truth will not make it go away.

    Truth.

    The truths this country has buried.

    The truth of this country’s history that has NEVER been completely and honestly told.

    Especially in public schools.

    All of the sick perverted derailing of economic, educational, residential government programs that could have benefited blacks (and to some degree Latinos and other groups) has caused the wage gap to occur, and widen to a cavernous Grand Canyon expanse of more on the white’s side, and less on the non-whites side.

    All you have to do is drive around and look at the white neighborhoods in major cities all across America and then look at the black/Latino neighborhoods, and see the economic disparity that vicious racist economic violence has created.

    Doesn’t take an Einstein to see what is plain as the nose on ones face.

    These racist abominations have created a wealth gap, an educational gap, a social/residential gap that will take generations to overcome.

    That is if this country is still around in a few centuries.

    And with the way America is going, I highly doubt that it will still be in existence in the next 100 years.

  40. Jeff

    You’re angry and you revel in it. This website is a testament to your anger. It’s not trite to suggest that it’s time to move on, it’s pragmatism. The past should never be forgotten, but you’re putting way too much energy and emotion into it. The vast majority of Americans believe in the equality of all citizens, regardless of race. You complain about segregation yet your attitude separates you from those Americans that view you as their equal. You point out the economic disparity between black and white neighborhoods, yet you ignore the underlying reasons this has occurred. What has happened to the black family? What kind of chance does a child have without strong positive influence? Drugs and crime permeate their world. (I’m certain that you blame whitey for all of that) When people of all races move away from poor neighborhoods it is to give their families a better life. It’s not necessarily for racial reasons, it’s financial. There’s no denying the horrible things that have occurred, but so much of this in the distant past. The situation has improved and will continue to improve. I’m not saying “get over it”, I’m saying that things are not as bad as you see it.

  41. Jaime

    I found this essay informative and useful to my own study as I am currently writing an essay based on the critcial work: Slave in a Box–The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima. In this work, I am going to compare the image of Aunt Jemima and Betty Crocker, showing how both images are harmfully sexist and then how Aunt Jemima’s is also harmfully sexist and racist (as revealed as the image of her character has progressively become whiter as generations progress, revealing that, to not only America, but the “West” in general, to be beautiful is to be white; she is doubly marginalized). I am wondering, also, if you’ve seen the films “Killing Us Softly”? Particularly “Killing Us Softly 3” and “Beyond Killing Us Softly” are very useful in first displaying the pornographical and dehumnizing images of all women, as well as women of color, in the media, and then prescribing possible solutions for how to change these social wrongs. So, I first wanted to thank you for your insights and research and for actively trying to make a difference.

    I did also, though, want to make a suggestion for your writing, which somewhat parallels what Jeff says. You may want to consider, in order to make this essay more scholarly and more of an article format, to not take a defensive position, but rather one which displays the problem, and then focuses on ways to resolve it. I believe that, without a tone which suggests anger, your essay would actually be more effective and stronger. The one problem with your essay itself is that, while discussing how Aunt Jemima is a symbol of hate and marginalization of women of color and people of color in general, it tends to exclude those who read it who are not women of color. It does this as it sets up a rupture and sends the message: black people are victims of white people. This is and has been true. But, if you want to include rather than exclude, to speak to the masses, not only black people, but all people, your writing technique should be not to offend and exclude, but to inform and reveal and prescribe an antecdote.

    Again, this is a suggestion through which to make your argument more scholarly, not implying that you yourself should not feel angry. Anger can be an effective tool for action; but, the choice in controlling that anger in your writing is imperative, I think, in order to enhance the possiblity for change.

    I hope I am not offensive here; and again, I agree with you that both sexism and racism pervade our society and that institutions still foster this behavior and that this, of course, needs to be changed not only as a social responsiblity, but an individual one as well. For, it is individuals who, ultimatley, form these social institutions. I hope you found my suggestion helpful.

    Thank you,
    Jaime

  42. Ann

    “I found this essay informative and useful to my own study as I am currently writing an essay based on the critcial work: Slave in a Box–The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima.”

    And just “how informative” have you found my essay, Jaime? To the point of using it in your essay you say you are writing, without referencing my essay that I wrote?

    “I believe that, without a tone which suggests anger, your essay would actually be more effective and stronger.

    Oh, I see.

    “Anger”, the bane of every black woman’s existence to hear non-black women say it. As a black woman in America, I am not obligated to tone my passion down for you or anyone else. This is my blog, I speak candidly my thoughts and opinions. I do not go onto anyone else’s blog and give them demands or ultimatums on how to speak of the wrongs done to their people, especially the sadistic cruelties done by white men to black women. Those are facts and to try and syrup those facts up would be lying and being disingenuous.

    So, I am to let my guard down, turn it down, so that you can be at ease in order to read my essay?

    I am to lower my voice and meekly, and cowardly tell the truth, why, so you can sleep well at night?

    I am supposed to cut everyone else in the world slack, when America still does not cut black women any slack?

    -Denigration of our beauty
    -Callous disregard for our accomplishments and capabilities
    -Slander and vilification of us at every turn….

    and yet, I am to “tone it down” just for your peace of mind?

    So my passion is wrong and horrible in your eyes, as well as Jeff’s?

    Tell me, Jamie, do you tell other people (non-black, non-female people) to “tone it down”?

    Do you tell white males, and other males, to tone down their racist, sexist hatred of black females? Do you tell men of other races not to degrade, slander, or insult black women? Do you?

    Are you stating that I am to bow my head in submission, to degrade myself, just so that non-black people/non-black women can feel good if I carefully…mincingly…..timidly…..choose my words…just so they can sleep good at night?

    I am to “tone it down”to soothe your distress at my passion, eh, Jaime?

    Would you order and demand that a man “tone it down”, Jaime?

    I think not.

    But, let a woman, especially a black woman, truthfully, and honestly speak her mind, without prettying up or sugar-coating the truth, then she is ordered to “tone it down”.

    That’s what white men have been doing to black women for 400 years.

    That’s what many men of all races have been saying to black women in America.

    I would say that black women have more than earned the right to speak in our own words what our history is.

    And I do not need to have your permission, nor Jeff’s, to do so.

    I spoke the truth in my essay. Just as so many black women’s feelings have not been spared by the destructive hatreds of this country against us, I see no need as to why I must tone my words and speaking truth to power should have to be done to appease either you, or Jeff.

    “The one problem with your essay itself is that, while discussing how Aunt Jemima is a symbol of hate and marginalization of women of color and people of color in general, it tends to exclude those who read it who are not women of color. It does this as it sets up a rupture and sends the message: black people are victims of white people. This is and has been true. But, if you want to include rather than exclude, to speak to the masses, not only black people, but all people, your writing technique should be not to offend and exclude, but to inform and reveal and prescribe an antecdote.”

    Oh, okay, so telling the truth “offends and excludes”?

    I have “informed, and revealed” the truth, but, since the truth hurts, maybe that is why what and how I say it, seems to be so “offensive” to both you and Jeff.

    Then if that be so, why should the truth offend and exclude, when it is what it is?

    Must I, a black woman, bow and scrape, submit and subject myself to your whims and desires as to how you will decide how I am to tell the truth? Must I, as a black woman, now have to beg and plead, for your permission in how I can and should write on the history of black women?

    Oh, I forgot.

    The people in the world who are not black women have the last say-so in how a black woman is to chose her words and on how she is to speak of the truths of her history. I forgot. Black women do not have the right to speak, to have our say. Everyone else has that right on how we should speak, and in what type of “tone”. Mustn’t keep forgetting that. Must remember that black women’s voices have no validity nor the right to be respected, unless they speak softly and weakly so as not to ruffle the tender feelings and feathers of non-black women.

    I give no half-stepping approach to the truth. I give no appeasement to the truth. I give no faltering, timid telling of the truth.

    America has for 400 years stuffed, gagged, bound and strangled black women for telling the truth.

    Black women now without equivocation, in 2007 America, can tell the truth, and we will do it in our own way, whether the rest of the world likes it or not.

    I will not allow you or anyone else to attempt to gag, bind, and silence my truth-telling.

    My telling of the truth in my way only offends YOU and Jeff. There must be some nerve I am hitting if it so terribly offends you in how I speak of the atrocities done by white America to black America.

    “Anger can be an effective tool for action; but, the choice in controlling that anger in your writing is imperative, I think, in order to enhance the possibility for change.”

    My passion is from having lived my life in the den of the lion, and being able to live to tell. I have not survived as a black woman by weakly acquiescing to all, and everyone, as if I am just chaff in the wind.

    Perhaps my truth-telling offends you because it speaks of your fears, and anger at me as a black woman for having the audacity to speak up and out on what America has done to black women.

    Then so be it.

    “I hope I am not offensive here; and again, I agree with you that both sexism and racism pervade our society and that institutions still foster this behavior and that this, of course, needs to be changed not only as a social responsiblity, but an individual one as well.”

    Yes, you are being most offensive.

    Would you tell a man whose arm was cut off by his sworn enemy not to cry out in pain, but, instead, to stifle himself? Would you tell a man who was being beaten by a gang of vicious attackers, to just stand there and take it?

    Yet, you find it so easy to reprimand me for courageously speaking the truths of America’s torments towards her black citizens.

    You are more than offensive.

    You are disrespectful and chauvinistic.

    I will continue to speak with the passion I have always brought to my writing. I will continue to speak the truth.

    If that so “offends” you, then there is something missing inside both you and Jeff that what this humble black woman has to say should be so offensive and terrifying to you both.

  43. Jaime

    I would never use your information without citing it because that would be plagarism; also, I cannot use your source because it is a blog, a non-academic source. I was trying to tell,you, however, that I think your research ideas is/are so good, that you could very well turn the infromaton on your blog into a scholarly article. I was trying to tell you that, if you wanted to do make it more academic, you could, but that you would need to disassociate yourself from “we.” It would probably have to be rewritten from a standpoint which is accessible to all. I was not meaning to imply that you should not be angry on your blog; a blog is meant to show opinion. I was merely suggesting that, if you so wished to take this information and use it in a scholarly way, it is more than feasible.

    Also, you wrote your response to me in anger and assuming I am not black. You automatically stereotyped and categorized me. This defeats the purpose of your blog, does it not? Aren’t you trying to send the message to change inequality, which is perpetuated through stereotyping. People of color are not the only people who are marginalized and in some way oppressed, anyone who is a non-white male is, including homosexuals, transexuals, women, any race other than white, not only black, including those of hispanic and asian origins, non-eduated, poor, etc. Although it shouldn’t matter in terms of my response, I am black. Because my response was both supportive AND constructive, however, you naturally assumed I wasn’t. Constructive criticism can be helpful; but you are so angry, you are not seeing that.

  44. Ann

    “You automatically stereotyped and categorized me. Although it shouldn’t matter in terms of my response, I am black.”

    I did not assume you were black, white, or whatever. I said “black woman” because that is what I am. Stating what I am does not assume what you are.

    And no, it will not matter whether or not you are black. The last time I looked, black people did not all walk lock-step to a monolithic view on everything in this country, or everything in this world.

    As for your “constructive criticism” it was not asked for nor desired.

    “People of color are not the only people who are marginalized and in some way oppressed, anyone who is a non-white male is, including homosexuals, transexuals, women, any race other than white, not only black, including those of hispanic and asian origins, non-eduated, poor, etc.”

    And your point is what….?

    Did I state in my post that “non-white males, homosexuals, transexuals, women, any race other than white, not only black…hispanic…asian, non-eduated, poor, etc.” were not marginalized?” Those are your words. My post concerned the racist/sexist stereotype “Aunt Jemima”. I do believe that I have the right to discuss how this stereotype degrades BLACK WOMEN without you having a problem with that. Since I have addressed issues of other non-black/non-females on my blog, I feel that I am fully capable of being aware of other groups affected by white supremacy without you pointing that out to me.

    “Also, you wrote your response to me in anger and assuming I am not black. You automatically stereotyped and categorized me. This defeats the purpose of your blog, does it not?”

    Anger. Hmm, you seeem to have quite a hangup on viewing everything I state as anger. Maybe it is your own anger that is blinding you. Then I will direct you to my “About” page, since you obviously do not know the basic premise of my blog. My blog is dedicated to black women, and speaking up for them, something that not many people in this country do for them.

    “I was trying to tell you that, if you wanted to do make it more academic, you could, but that you would need to disassociate yourself from “we.”

    You even have a problem that I wrote my essay with black women in mind, since this hateful stereotype insults and denigrates them. Obviously you have a problem with issues of black women being discussed on their merit only, without the whole world being pulled into it.

    “It would probably have to be rewritten from a standpoint which is accessible to all.”

    My essay stands on its own in my discussing the stereotype AJ, and does not need to rein in every various “viewpoint/group” to be accessible and comprehended by “all.” I am capable of regarding the different viewpoints of all the groups you gave without being dismissive or insensitive to their viewpoints and life experiences. I see no where the same respect cannot be given when the issues of black American women are addressed.

    “but you are so angry, you are not seeing that.”

    No, not anger. Just direct and to the point.

    Obviously “we” are at a deadlock.

    Consider the above comment as your last on my blog.

  45. Christopher Yourse

    dear, Aunt Jemima just would like tell U that my grandmother was one of the lady that cook for U but, she do not get any recpect. We have photos working for U so if U could let people know about her. If U cheose not to I will sue U.

  46. A random visitor

    I stumbled across your site doing a little research on the Aunt Jemima recall and found this blog entry.

    If you pardon the pun I “waffled” about posting here but here goes:

    If you spent more time on working on lifting yourself up instead the people who “kept you down” (for lack of a better term) I’d bet you’d find yourself a much happier person.

    Let it go. She’s an ad campaign.

    $0.02

  47. Rachel

    Point #1

    You do realize that the Quaker Oats Company is part of $39 billion dollar Pepsico Inc. right? I’m not trying to be negative but…I highly doubt that it would make business sense to drop a brand that’s over a hundred years old and has made the company millions. Businesses do not care about your personal feelings. They care about money…period.

    Point #2

    You don’t hold the majority opinion and your history lesson isn’t enough to sway many others to side with you. I think the history of Aunt Jemima is a reflection of the history of our society and how it perceived black people. Her current image is positive and you are not going to be able to persuade the majority that it isn’t. Also, why don’t you do some research on other old brands like Coca Cola? Many of the things we enjoy today have sketchy beginnings.

    Point #3

    You might want to work on trying not to insult white people.

    Your words:

    “That no matter what we accomplish, we will always be mammies, wet-nurses and proverbial cooks in people’s eyes, no matter how many degrees we have, no matter what board room corporation we run, no matter how we take care of our families and communities. That someone of the stature of Oprah Winfrey could be relegated to being seen as a selfless serve Massa and Missus Mammy is a testament to the America’s love and desire to keep black women in the kitchen, on the plantation, cooking and slaving away for white-run America’s benefit, white-run America’s contentment, white-run America’s happiness.”

    This is the double standard that white people absolutely can’t stand. The fact that you can openly generalize and insult all white people as oppressors. You may think that it’s justifiable…but most white people never will. And I believe it sits at the heart of what true racism is today…not Aunt Jemima.

  48. Ann

    “If you spent more time on working on lifting yourself up instead the people who “kept you down” (for lack of a better term) I’d bet you’d find yourself a much happier person.”

    I do uplift myself in many ways, and one of them is not worshipping “whiteness” and the racist supremacy that it has created; I am not kept down by any “people”. I am also happy because I speak the truth, and I do not shy away from it.

    “Let it go. She’s an ad campaign.”

    Let it go? Oh, really?

    Because it is a racist icon, let it go. Because it is a sexist icon, let it go. Because it disparages black women, let. . . it. . . go.

    Nope.

    It is a degrading icon, and it’s time has come and gone.

  49. Ann

    “You do realize that the Quaker Oats Company is part of $39 billion dollar Pepsico Inc. right? I’m not trying to be negative but…I highly doubt that it would make business sense to drop a brand that’s over a hundred years old and has made the company millions. Businesses do not care about your personal feelings. They care about money…period.”

    “I’m not trying to be negative but…”

    On that note, you are trying to be negative. But, moving along.

    So, because QO has a $39 billion industry, makes it right for them to continue to hawk their products with an insulting image on their merchandise? Since QO made millions (and still is making millions) off of racist imagery of black women for over 100 years, that makes it right? Might makes right, eh….or should I say…blood money makes right?

    Yeah, right.

    Yep, QO cares about money, but an intelligent company should also care about their image and their product and the message that product sends.

    “You don’t hold the majority opinion and your history lesson isn’t enough to sway many others to side with you. I think the history of Aunt Jemima is a reflection of the history of our society and how it perceived black people.”

    Do you work for QO? Because you seemed very steamed and worked up about this image that I am petitioning against. Unless you have stock in QO, I do not see why it should upset you so much what I am doing. No, I have no intention of swaying any “majority”. I desire to see QO come into the 21ST Century and remove this racist/sexist icon; nothing more, nothing less.

    As for AJ being a reflection on how society “perceived” black people, American society stills perceives black citizens in a negative way, and this icon attests to that.

    ” Her current image is positive and you are not going to be able to persuade the majority that it isn’t. ”

    No.

    Her current image is not positive. The history of AJ still stands as hateful. Dress her up in pearls, take the head rag off, and it is still racist and demeaning.

    “Also, why don’t you do some research on other old brands like Coca Cola? Many of the things we enjoy today have sketchy beginnings.”

    I am aware of CC’s cocaine-dope-coca leaves history. I am from the South and CC products were called “dopes” by Southerners, but, I guess you already know that? And I am aware of Swift’s Premium and Armour Meat Company Products and the vicious history those companies had in their past, which is why I buy nothing they manufacture. I am aware of the savage history of Marshall Fields therefore I have nothing to do with that store in any way.

    Please, tell me something I do not know, okay?

    “You might want to work on trying not to insult white people.
    Your words:
    “That no matter what we accomplish, we will always be mammies, wet-nurses and proverbial cooks in people’s eyes, no matter how many degrees we have, no matter what board room corporation we run, no matter how we take care of our families and communities. That someone of the stature of Oprah Winfrey could be relegated to being seen as a selfless serve Massa and Missus Mammy is a testament to the America’s love and desire to keep black women in the kitchen, on the plantation, cooking and slaving away for white-run America’s benefit, white-run America’s contentment, white-run America’s happiness.”

    Insulting white people, eh?

    When white people continue to insult black people daily. When white people, who run the media (newspapers, television and radio airwaves) disrespect and malign black citizens day in and day out. When black people work and put so much into this country, only to be slapped in the face by insulting rude white people in grocery stores, department stores.

    As if the majority of white people view black women in a positive respectful way. As if black women are not Mammies and Jezebels in many white people’s eyes. As if the majority of white people treat many black women with the highest regard and respect.

    Not the America I live in.

    And that’s just to name a few of the daily slights and insults that black citizens face from their fellow white citizens.

    White people in America wrote the book on how to insult black people. White people wrote the book on how to abuse and degrade black people.

    There is a name for such hated behaviour.

    It is called WHITE SUPREMACIST RACIST STEREOTYPING.

    AJ is a stereotype. AJ is an insult.

    “This is the double standard that white people absolutely can’t stand.”

    No. No double standard. Truth. White people have created and maintained hateful lies and stereotypes for over 500 years against non-whites, and many non-whites are sick and tired of being sick and tired of racist stereotypes.

    ‘The fact that you can openly generalize and insult all white people as oppressors.”

    If the show fits, wear it. There are still whites who are oppressors. There still whites who commit overt and covert racist behaviour against their fellow black citizens.

    “And I believe it sits at the heart of what true racism is today…not Aunt Jemima.”

    No.

    What sits at the heart of true racism is 500 years of race hatred against black people by white people, and that legacy is still with this country, this hypocrite of a country that refuses to face up to its monstrous racist mistreatment, then and now, of its black citizens.

    AJ needs to go.

    If anything, people need to learn how to make their OWN pancake mix instead of buying it out of a box that celebrates the denigration of black American women.

  50. Rachel

    Wow. Just…wow. So I guess what you are saying is that black people, as a whole, are perfect in every way. They don’t lie, steal, cheat, degrade. They don’t look down upon others or treat others with disrespect. They don’t lower themselves to racism or judge people because of what they have or don’t have.

    We are all human! There are evil people out there with evil agendas…black and white. I have been insulted and experienced discrimination for being white. Does that surprise you? It goes both ways. You can’t point the finger at an entire race of people and say, “you’re more at fault because there are more of you in this country and because your ancestors treated mine horribly”. That doesn’t help things.

    I think you’re missing the big picture. The big picture is that black people are tired of being mistreated and stereotyped and white people are tired of being labeled the bad guy despite their best efforts (not always perfect) to keep the peace. And they are sick of double standards. I personally think it’s my generation, or ours, to find a way to resolve this. I’m telling you now that the blaming has got to end, on both sides, for there to be any real peace between us.

    Now onto Aunt Jemima.

    Again, your words:

    Do you work for QO? Because you seemed very steamed and worked up about this image that I am petitioning against. Unless you have stock in QO, I do not see why it should upset you so much what I am doing. No, I have no intention of swaying any “majority”. I desire to see QO come into the 21ST Century and remove this racist/sexist icon; nothing more, nothing less.

    No maam I don’t work for them…and I’m not steamed up at all. I’m just wondering what you are hoping to accomplish by attacking something you can’t really change. I’m not saying it’s impossible to get rid of Aunt Jemima…I’m just saying it’s unlikely…and stupid since most people really don’t care enough about history for it to really influence their buying habits. It all just seems like a waste and it’s doing nothing more than making you bitter. I can tell by your writing that you are upset…and I really don’t like to see people get like that. There is already enough bitterness and intolerance out there…why let yourself be effected by all that crap? Reading all about Aunt Jemima’s history made me upset. Not because I’m a white person and I should feel responsible, but because I’m a human being and it always seems to surprise me to see how awful people can be towards others. That said, I also know that the people who created the Aunt Jemima brand are now all dead, more than likely. A big company now owns the brand and they have erased, at least on the surface, the stereotypical mammie that was there before. Under the surface there is a history that I believe serves a purpose for those willing to take a closer look. I guess it’s for people to decide for themselves if they are insulted by her current image…or not. Or if they can learn something from the past…or not.

    I’m going to say one more thing about race. How would it make you feel if I chronicled, in my blog, all the mistakes black people have made in the past, and continue to make today? For one thing I would never do such a thing because I prefer not to judge others because I know I’m not perfect. But what if I did? Would you find that helpful? Or would you find that hurtful?

  51. Ann

    “You can’t point the finger at an entire race of people and say, “you’re more at fault because there are more of you in this country and because your ancestors treated mine horribly”.

    No, it is not calling out faults; it is stating what are facts and truth.

    As for “double standards”, white Americans wrote the book on double standards. White people created the word “Nigger’; white men created the hated sexualized gendered racism against black women and girls; white people created the Jezebel and Mammy image—lies, myths and stereotypes that have dogged and still hound black American women and girls. White people still commit overt/covert racism against black people. White people have and still commit lies and mistruths against black people.
    If whites want to see America be a better country, then they can start with raising their children NOT to be racists against their fellow black citizens (those white parents who are guilty of it.) If black parents, the many parents I know, can raise their children to be respectful of non-blacks, then why cannot white parents raise their children to be fair towards black peers? Why do not white minsters preach to their white congregants to be true Christians towards black people?

    But I am sure you realize that Sunday, at high noon, is the most segregated time and day in America?

    “No maam I don’t work for them…and I’m not steamed up at all. I’m just wondering what you are hoping to accomplish by attacking something you can’t really change. I’m not saying it’s impossible to get rid of Aunt Jemima…I’m just saying it’s unlikely…and stupid since most people really don’t care enough about history for it to really influence their buying habits. It all just seems like a waste and it’s doing nothing more than making you bitter.”

    So, since I do not consider the AJ image as “positive” as you state, then that makes me stupid. Since you are so into disrespecting me by insulting me (I did not call you stupid for disagreeing with my petition) then I guess my petitioning QO in your mind constitutes stupid behaviour for speaking my mind. So, I am supposed to bow down to the majority in this country because they do not know their American history?

    As for the ability to change…change has to start SOMEWHERE.

    If many people felt like you and followed the “majority” the following would still exist:

    -Mass sadistic lynching carnivals of blood would still be occurring right now
    -Slavery would still be in existence right now
    -Segregation would still be in existence right now. (Well, at least LEGALIZED on paper segregation would still be in existence). Can’t say that segregation has really left America. Blacks and whites are the ONLY two groups who live the most segregated lives in America.) Due to racist stereotypes and lies propagated by white America against her black citizens, black citizens still have to fight against racist lies created by white racists. If what you state is true…that black and white should work together more…then from what I see it is black people who extend the proverbial olive branch out more than most white people.

    I do not follow the so-called majority. Time and time again, the majority have been wrong. The majority has not always been on the side of right; the majority has very often been on the side of wrong as the history—–both past and present—-of America shows.

    The “majority” stood by and allowed crimes against black humanity to occur for over 350 years. That crime against black humanity was slavery. The “majority” stood by and allowed segregation to occur for 100 years. That was a crime against black humanity. The “majority” stood by and allowed the publicly condoned rapes, degradation, defilment and forced impregnations of defenseless black women and little black girls. Yes, black girls as young as 12-, 13- and 14-years of age. THAT and many others atrocities were crimes against black humanity because the damned “majority” decreed it right to do savage, psychotic wrongs to another human being because that human being was black, and not white.

    White-run America HAS done wrong to black people. White-run America needs to stop running from the legacy of racist white supremacy hate, and accept and make a true gesture of reconciliation towards its black citizens it has wronged and tried so hard to genocide off the face of the Earth.

    Isn’t it funny how white people are the first ones, mostly, who cry:

    “Can’t we all just get along?” after they have done the most horrific hells against every group they have encountered—both in America and outside of America. Maybe because white America sees the legacy of their racist hate and some (definitely not all) are seeing the chickens have come home to roost; maybe many white people see that the legacy of their past and present hate and abominations have caught up with them, and NOW they are frightened—running scared and terrified of retribution.

    Retribution which will only come from God Himself.

    White-run America has had MANY chances to do right by all of her citizens, but she has pissed away so many chances. Now , white-run America (after almost single-handedly destroying this country with vicious racism) now wants to plead their case to black citizens. Yeah, black and white people certainly do have to live together in this country, after all, it is the only country we have, even though white-run America has tried to wipe my people off the face of the Earth (and still are with racist double-standard unjust institutionalized, structural racism. Only after black people have tried to save this country from itself so many times, while white people have tried so many times to destroy this country with their white supremacy, has America survived not going down completely.

    I don’t run with crowds, and that is what the majority is.

    I do not have to lie down and accept lies and myths just because a huge majority of Americans say that such a thing is right.

    Just because many Americans say AJ is right does not make the icon right. It is still wrong.

    Often it has been the FEW who stood against wrong who have worked to make this country see the wrongs in its hateful history. It has never been the many who have stood up for right. Only and always the FEW.

    “I can tell by your writing that you are upset…and I really don’t like to see people get like that.”

    Oh, really? Well, you shouldn’t worry yourself about my feelings. I desire that humans treat me with respect and do not discriminate against me, but then again as a black woman since I make 62 cents to every dollar that a white man makes, I guess that would mean nothing to you. Yeah, I guess that is the respect that I should get—less pay for my dollar compared to a white man.

    “There is already enough bitterness and intolerance out there…why let yourself be effected by all that crap? ”

    Because as a black American woman I AM affected by it:

    -Racial profiling
    -Followed about grocery/department stores when I have money to spend as if I am a thief when it is not black people who have stolen this country blind nor have black people sold this country out to the highest bidder;
    -Called every name but a child of God by racist white males just because I am on my way home and those white males were raised by their relatives to hate and disrespect black women instead of those white males families raising them to treat ALL WOMEN WITH RESPECT.

    Intolerance?

    Black people still face that from white people daily, weekly, yearly. It is nothing new to us.

    And as for attacking something that you say I “can’t really change”—it often starts with ONE person—-CHANGE. It started with Mose Wright who pointed out the murderers and torturers of his 14-year-old nephew, Emmit Till. It started with Rosa Parks. It started with Fannie Lou Hamer. It started with Anna Julia Cooper.

    Someone had to make a stand no matter how alone they were.

    People cannot and should not wait on someone else to always make the first move.

    In the end it boils down to what you can live with, what your convictions are, what you are willing to stand up for—as well as against.

    Even if it means standing alone.

    As for people judging me, that is a part of life. As a black woman, I see in people’s eyes their judgement of me before I walk into a room and even before I open my mouth to speak, but, I look more to how people respect, or do not respect me.

    I judge people on that. Respect me, and I will respect you back. Earn my respect and do not destroy it. For once you destroy it, that respect is hell to get back.

    Do not respect me, as in the case of QO and their AJ icon, then I have no respect for you (you—in the plural/general sense)—–or anyone who cannot respect and treat me as a HUMAN BEING.

  52. Rachel

    Congrats, you have managed to take everything I said and twisted it into something you can bash. Example:

    So, since I do not consider the AJ image as “positive” as you state, then that makes me stupid. Since you are so into disrespecting me by insulting me (I did not call you stupid for disagreeing with my petition) then I guess my petitioning QO in your mind constitutes stupid behaviour for speaking my mind. So, I am supposed to bow down to the majority in this country because they do not know their American history?

    Uh, where did I call you stupid? I said “it’s stupid”, meaning getting rid of Aunt Jemima. Your credibility just went right out the window with that comment.

    If you want some personal criticism I’ll be happy to give it to you. One, I think you have an inferiority complex and, two, I think you are egocentric. You lack the ability to see things from another’s perspective because it’s all about you and your selfish demands and unfair biases. At least that’s all I can tell from first impressions, which mean a lot to me. If you think I’m wrong, then I challenge you not to rebut and take a good long look at yourself.

    You obviously have a deep-seeded attitude against white people and I can assure you that it probably doesn’t go unnoticed. Maybe that’s why you, and those who think like you, don’t get the respect you feel like you are entitled to. Do you really think you deserve MY respect or anyone else’s after all of that venom you just spewed about white a person that, by the way, isn’t all true?

    From this white person’s perspective I can tell you that I treat everyone equally regardless of your race, and there are no deep-rooted prejudices or biases I have towards black people that was taught to me or that I learned from my environment. I can think for myself because I have the God given wisdom to do so and I use that gift He gave me to try and treat everyone as if they were a member of my own family. But I will tell you, I can’t stand a bad attitude.

    I’m proud to be who I am and I’ll never be ashamed of the fact that I’m white person. I’ll teach my future children to be themselves and to ignore the extremists who blame our country’s problems on a particular race, whether it be black or white. I’ll teach them to treat everyone the way they want to be treated because that’s what a Christian mother should teach her child. Yes there is a race war, Ann. There are black people who hate white people and white people who hate black people. White people who hate other white people and black people who hate other black people. I haven’t been living in a little bubble, Ann; I know there are problems on both sides. My attitude is what makes it all easier for me to deal with. I know that there will always be people who don’t like me, whether it is because I’m a woman, white, blonde, southern, Catholic or maybe because I’m an Alabama fan. Fact is…I don’t care. I know their are people who like me because of the person I am and because I’m a loyal friend who will always tell them the truth whether they want to hear it or not. Like I said earlier, I have been discriminated against…but I don’t let it effect my attitude because I know that that’s what is going to get me where I want to go in life.

  53. Ann

    Rachel:

    “One, I think you have an inferiority complex and, two, I think you are egocentric. ”

    No, I have no inferiority complex. I have pride in myself and if that makes me egocentric, then so be it.

    “You lack the ability to see things from another’s perspective because it’s all about you and your selfish demands and unfair biases.”

    My petition is simply that: a petition. People may sign, or they may not. Nowhere have I demanded that anyone sign my petition. As for biases, the facts of America’s present history are not biases.

    As long as America remains the hypocrisy that she is, she will continue to weaken herslef from within.

    Respect.

    It must be earned from all sides.

    And I respect those who respect me as a human being and when they do not, I definitely call them out on it—Quaker Oats, or any individual whom I meet in life.

    “I know their are people who like me because of the person I am and because I’m a loyal friend who will always tell them the truth whether they want to hear it or not.”

    And so do I have people who appreciate my telling them the truth out of loyalty for them—-whether they want to hear the truth or not.

    And I go on with my life.

    Always have.

    Always will.

  54. Rachel

    You failed to accept my challenge I mentioned above, thus proving my case…which I now rest.

  55. Ann

    And I rest my case.

    I will continue to challenge any form of intolerance—no matter what form it comes in.

    No matter who has a problem with it.

  56. Rachel

    Then try challenging yourself.

  57. Ann

    I do.

    Every day.

  58. Jakob

    Just a clarification in defense of the name Jemima. Jemima is the anglicization of Yamimah, the eldest of Job’s daughters born after his disasters and rehabilitation, and comes from the Hebrew for “days”, not “dove”. A Biblical commentator, Rashi, notes that it must mean “splendid as the day”, since Yamimah is said to be beautiful. Another commentator claims that it means “dove” in Arabic, not Hebrew, although Arabic for “dove” is chemema. Yemima is a not infrequent Berber name as well. My daughter is named Yamima precisely to avoid the associations you underline with the name Jemima.

  59. I am an Mass Communication Advertising Major whose is also an African American female. I have done extensive research on Nancy Green, the original Aunt Jemina. However, I cannot locate specific details of Ms. Green’s contract. For example, was her pay freedom only? Or was she paid a salary? Did she receive stocks in the company? Was her children financially taken care of? And behind the smile, what was her life really like? She probably was segregated… or was she intergrated…

    I am proud of this research. I like to ad on to this research… and I am thinking about publishing my findings… your guidance, assistance and cooperation, in this matter, will be grateful..
    Nancy Marlene Sain
    CEO & President
    Precision

  60. Hi, I’m Mexican and in the beginning of the post I just did not believe what you were saying. I have never thought Aunt Jemima was a bad figure, or a bad stereotype for you people.
    I was like, but why is that a sexist stereotype? why is it racist? But my ignorance didn’t let me see, until I kept reading.

    I enjoyed your article. I was looking for this figure because I am a graphic designer and I was searching packages, and Aunt Jemima history is very interesting and believe me, I would never imagined!

  61. Ann

    LaMerry.

    Thank you for your comments. Glad it opened your eyes to the true history behind AJ.

    In the future it would be best if you stated, “Black people”, or “black women”, as opposed to “you people”. “You people” is condescending and patronizing.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  62. Pingback: Third Carnival of Radical Feminists « Carnival of Radical Feminists

  63. Price

    I just found this website and had to jump on. I am a white teacher of black studies–yeah, I know, I get a lot of gasps all the time. It truly amazes me that white folks are so ignorant to the historical stereotypes that permeate our culture. Before you jump on the writer about Aunt Jemima and its devastating effects on the image of the AA woman, do a little research. Read Donald Bogle, get on the internet and do some in-depth study. Find some black memorabilia books at your local antique shop. REALLY look at the images–the exaggeration of facial features, the caricatures of a one-demensional stereotype. The writer was on the money with AJ. The sad fact about AJ, mammy, Uncle Ben, and other servile stereotypes is that in society’s eyes that is all they are or ever can be–gloved hands that serve whites. They will never rise above the domestic image of cooking and cleaning. Check out the movie Ethnic Notions or Color Adjustment if you want a visual, historical account of the stereotypes. Educate yourself, people!

  64. Ann

    Price.

    Thank you for your comments, they are most welcome.

    As for your being a “white teacher of black studies”….anyone can be a teacher of black studies or any study. I appreciate your teaching *American* history to your students. The more people learn of black American’s true history in this country, the more understanding and respect that may come black American’s way.

    Black women and men have always been more than just “gloved hands” that were meant to be servants to whites.

    Black men and women have been contributors in many ways towards this country, all the racist, sexist stereotypes notwithstanding.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  65. You know I just found your site after looking for it awhile my mom printed off your article when she was in school (online) the class was about marketing and the teacher (who was white) didn’t understand why in one of her previous classes there was a very heated debate about this very issue. Her response was that they (her family and herself) viewed Aunt Jemima as a reminder of a time of being safe and warmth and not of discrimination. Well one of the other students had your article and linked it to the class to show another viewpoint on the situation and after a few people put in their input (my mom included) I think she has a different understanding of the situation. I wanted to tell you that I think that you did and do a good job on the article and on writing something that is very relevant to our lives and not stupid stuff.

  66. Ann

    @Blaque Rose19.

    Thank you. Glad that my essay helped you and your class.

    “. . . .and not stupid stuff.”

    I often hope that my writing gives knowledge to my readers; so glad to see that it is very well received.

    Thanks for your comments, and thanks for stopping by.

  67. Chas Carey

    I have always viewed AJ as a positive icon for food. Her image has been associated with a quality product, much like Betty Crocker. Why destroy a good thing with racial overtones. I am sick to death with all the political correctness crap and assuming that everything is racially motivated. Yes black folks have been mistreated in the past. No one can change that. Let’s move on!

    Chas. C. from the show-me state

    ********************************************************************

    “Let’s move on!”

    MODERATOR:
    “Let’s move on” to where?

  68. LilVal

    I come across this website in search for the truth and I believe more than what I was expecting = the truth is the truth and it shall set you free. To the wonderful person that has started this blog, I would like to thank you very much!!!

  69. Pingback: THE MAMMY STATUE, THE GOOD DARKY, AND OTHER TESTAMENTS OF THE INSULTS TO BLACK HUMANITY « BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

  70. Mark Lussky

    Back in the 20th century when I was a child I attended kindergarten at the Walnut Ridge School in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania in Lawrence County. This would have been in 1956 as I was born June 8, 1949. Mrs Davidson was the kindergarten teacher. The principal and first grade teacher was Miss Yeomans.There came a day when we were marched into the assembly room for a remarkable, special event. We were to meet Aunt Jemima.
    She was employed by Quaker Oats to promote their products. She was dressed in accordance with the stereotype ante bellum, Black woman as was depicted on the syrup bottle and as depicted by Academy Award-winning actress Hattie McDaniel in the movie Gone With The Wind. In other words in massive skirt over numberless petticoats, shawl over blouse and a kerchief on her head. Some of the children had seen her on TV. She was about the only Black woman seen on TV in those days, which made her very exotic indeed.
    Aunt Jemima then showed us how butter was made back in “the old days.” She put milk into a wooden butter churn and churned away. Each child was given an opportunity to churn. As part of her patter she reminded us of how lucky we were to live in an age where we didn’t have to make our own butter but could buy it at the grocery. She had a bright smile that lit up the room. At intervals we looked into the barrel of the churn and saw how the milk was gradually becoming butter. Finally it was butter. We ate graham crackers with home churned butter .
    While the other children were eating their grahams I unobtrusively took up a position where I could eavesdrop on the conversation between “Aunt Jemima” and one of the teachers, who was white. (They were all white; so were we students all white at this school.) Our distinguished visitor was no longer beaming broadly in character but just smiled politely as the two women exchanged observations about their respective jobs. They sounded to me like a couple of professional ladies comparing their occupations, which was just what they were: a teacher and an actress.
    Who was this lady? Internet research discloses that Edith Wilson portrayed Aunt Jemima from 1948 to 1966. But where? Ethel Ernestine Harper played the character in the 1950’s. But I don’t know if she worked western Pennsylvania either.
    Do you? I would like to know the lady’s name for a genealogical-historical project that I am working on for the Jefferson County Historical Society in Brookville, Pennsylvania. I would also like to hear from others who saw Aunt Jemima portrayed at promotional events and their reactions to the portrayals. I found the lady to have been dignified, commercial and about as patronizing toward us children as any other adult so long as she was in character. I vaguely recall that some of the rowdier, older kids tried out the term “nigger” on the way home from school that day. Others (mostly girls) insisted that the proper and polite term was “colored.” I wonder how the Black kids reacted in the schools were there were Black kids.
    Thank you very much. Yours very truly, Mark Lussky

    • mef

      Thanks Mark, I too share your recollection…I’m a bit younger (1964) yet the society that I grew up in (NY) at least where we lived had no such racial slurs used: none whatsoever. Aunt Jamima was a pleasant hostess, knowledgeable about something important: good food, and cooking it…

  71. joe

    MODERATOR: I removed the first portion of your comment as it is not on topic. The post is about “Aunt Jemima”. If you have questions concerning the submission of comments, please refer to my post Comment Policy. Thank you.

    We, whoever we are, are not above profiling, and stereotyping. It is always sociologically acceptable to deride and delegitimize those whom we deem inferior. There is a lesson in this.

    On a personal note. Although, I do not disagree at all with any of the comments regarding the danger and degradation of stereotypes, I think that for the most part, unconsciously perhaps, Aunt Jemima, took on the persona (and the look) of the ancient images of the earth mother. She nursed you, she fed you, very often the only person who truly cared for you, defended you. She was solver of problems, keeper of secrets, and celebrator of your life. It really never was about her at all, it was about our need to connect with a human but very divine protector. Many on here say that the mammy figure never existed as she was portrayed. Maybe for many, she was the embodiment of the closest human ideal to God. That may be why she has had so much staying power over the years.

  72. gk

    unique information…thanks for this post.

  73. Cash

    Until all Americans realize the demeaning history behind this most nefarious of stereotypes, the end of Aunt Jemima will be a long, long time coming.

  74. uMoriJordanis

    Hey! nice post you have there. Thank you^^

  75. themaverickmum90

    Hey, this is a great piece as to the plight of Aunt Jemima. I see you wrote this 10 years ago, however more so than ever it is relevant. I am currently writing my dissertation on Aunt Jemima and her place in American popular culture. Great read, I found myself nodding along.

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