The family of the woman who appeared as Aunt Jemima on Quaker Oats’ products back at the beginning of the 20th century is against rebranding that would see her image removed.
As Quaker Foods North America announced, they would be rebranding Aunt Jemima by ditching the ‘racist’ name and image because they realize that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
Despite the company’s decision to go through with eradicating the ‘insensitive’ parts of the brand, the family of the black woman who appeared on the packaging almost one hundred years ago wish to see her image remain.
As Texas-based Vera Harris explained, Lillian Richard, her second cousin, used to work for Quaker Oats for over two decades after landing a job in the company back in 1925.
Rather than removing her image, Harris believes that history shouldn’t be erased because her cousin “made an honest living out of it” and “was considered a hero” because of her role in a prominent company.
“A lot of people want it removed. We want the world to know that our cousin Lillian was one of the Aunt Jemima’s and she made an honest living,” Harris said in an interview with KLTV.
“We would ask that you reconsider just wiping all that away. There wasn’t a lot of jobs, especially for black women back in that time. She was discovered by Quaker Oats to be their brand person.”
As Harris went on to say, her cousin was able to tour around Texas due to her role as Quaker Oats’ ambassador.
“She was considered a hero in Hawkins, and we are proud of that. We do not want that history erased,” she added.
Harris went on to urge the people to stop trying to get rid of everything, good or bad, because it is all a part of our history.
“Removing that wipes away a part of me. A part of each of us. We are proud of our cousin,” she concluded, speaking of the matter about rebranding Aunt Jemima.
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