offensive brand names

Uncle Ben's, Aunt Jemima, and Other Racist Brand Names That Got The Ax

Here's a quick snapshot of many of the other offensive brand and team names that have come under fire in recent years.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Good bye Uncle Ben. Hello Ben's Original. On Wednesday the Uncle Ben's rice brand received a new name following years of debate about what was perceived by many to be a racist trope.

When parent firm Mars Inc. unveiled the change for the 70-year-old brand, it was just the latest company to drop a logo criticized as a racial stereotype. Packaging with the new name will hit stores next year.

But the rice brand was hardly alone. Here's a quick snapshot of many of the other offensive brand and team names that have come under fire in recent years.

Aunt Jemima

Company: Quaker Oats, a subsidiary of PepsiCo,

Quaker Oats announced in June that it would drop Aunt Jemima from syrup and pancake packages, responding to criticism that the character's origins were based on the “mammy,” a Black woman portrayed as content to serve her white masters. Quaker said packages without the Aunt Jemima image will start to appear in stores by the end of the year, although the company has not revealed the new logo.

The Washington Football Team

After decades of controversy Washington's NFL team announced this summer that it will change its name, long condemned as an anti-Indigenous slur.

After several public declarations by team owner Dan Snyder that the name would never change, the move finally came amid growing pressure from sponsors.

The team did not say what its new name will be.

Land O'Lakes

Company: Land O' Lakes, Inc.

Land O’Lakes, announced plans in April to drop Mia, the Native American woman on its packaging, after being on the company’s boxes for nearly 100 years.

The company said at the time they “recognized” they “need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture” but did not acknowledge the controversy surrounding the logo.

Eskimo Pies

Company: Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream

The owner of Eskimo Pie has said it will change its name and marketing of the nearly century-old chocolate-covered ice cream bar.

“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory," said Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for its parent Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, the U.S. subsidiary for Froneri, in a statement. “This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”

Mrs. Butterworth

Company: Congra Brands

Critics have long claimed the Mrs. Butterworth bottle design was rooted in the “mammy” stereotype. Chicago-based Conagra Brands said its bottles are intended to evoke a “loving grandmother.” But the company said it can understand that the packaging could be misinterpreted.

“We understand that our actions help play an important role in eliminating racial bias and as a result, we have begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth’s,” Conagra said in a statement.

Darlie Brand Toothpaste

Company: Colgate-Palmolive
New York-based Colgate-Palmolive Co. said in June it was working with its Chinese partner, Hawley & Hazel Chemical Co., on changes to its Darlie brand toothpaste.

The toothpaste, which is popular in Asia, was called Darkie when it was first introduced in the 1930s. Packages featured a drawing of a minstrel singer in blackface with a wide smile. The Chinese name on the box translated to “black man toothpaste.”

Cream of Wheat

Company: B&G Foods Inc.

B&G Foods Inc., which makes Cream of Wheat hot cereal, said in June it was initiating “an immediate review” of its packaging. A smiling Black chef holding a bowl of cereal has appeared on Cream of Wheat packaging and in ads since at least 1918, according to the company’s web site.

“We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism,” Parsippany, New Jersey-based B&G said in a statement.

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