What you have to understand with culture and morality is that they evolve, fortunately. Things considered normal years ago are rightly considered racist today. The other thing to know is that it is never too late to realize this and to remove what is racist around us, including in the products we consume. This has happened to some brands who realized that the logos they were using were racist and therefore problematic.
1. Uncle Ben’s officially changed their smiling black man logo (and now it’s just ‘Ben’s Original’)
It was June 2020: the rice brand, which belongs to the Mars company, had decided that it was time to do away with its logo, and the change did indeed happen in September 2020. So yes, we knows it, many have grumbled: ” but what ?! it’s not racist, it’s just a black man who smiles! » and one could understand the astonishment that aroused. But, in fact, this image of the smiling black man referred to slavery stereotypes. It represented the “good black”, as if black people had to be helpful and in a good mood to be accepted. To change this logo is to admit that it dates from another era and that it no longer has its place in our society. And if the rice is now called “Ben’s Original” it has kept the same taste, don’t worry.
2. Aunt Jemima products change their smiling black woman logo
The Quaker Oats brand also announced that it would change its logo representing a smiling black aunt. The reasons are the same as for Uncle Ben’s: the image of the smiling black woman is a racial stereotype. We still don’t know the logo that will replace it, but we have no doubt that it will be in better taste.
3. The Cream of Wheat brand has also announced that it will redesign its logo.
Unknown in France, Cream of Wheat is a brand of semolina flour popular in the United States. On its packaging, we can see a black chef with a big smile. Again, this is a segregationist racial stereotype. If you still have any doubts about the problematic side of the thing, know that before, the character was called “Rastus”, a racist nickname given to black people. In short, it was time to switch to a less discriminating visual. And not even discriminating at all, in fact.
4. Mrs. Maple Syrup Butterworth’s should also be revamped
More difficult to distinguish (but not too much anyway), here it is the shape of the maple syrup bottles that is the problem. They represent, for once, a smiling black grandmother, an image that always refers to colonialism or slavery. The brand has therefore promised to re-study its packaging to evolve.
5. Banania took a long time to remove “l’ami Y’a bon” from its packaging
Banania chocolate powder had, since 1915, a racist logo on its packets. The character, named l’Ami Y’a Bon, was a caricature of the Senegalese skirmishers who served on the side of France during the First World War. All the stereotypes are represented: big smile, big nose, big lips, big contrast between black skin and white teeth… To not see racism there, you have to be blind. The character had disappeared following an initial controversy in the 70s, before Banania handed it over, slightly modified, in 2005. It took until 2011 for the brand to finally abandon it once and for all. It was time.
6. Fritos corn chips dropped their Mexican mascot
Between 1967 and 1971, the logo of this potato chip brand was a stereotypical, gun-toting Mexican character with an angry face. It did not please the Mexican community in the United States at all, and rightly so, who asked for the character to be replaced. Fritos first changed his logo to put a smile on his face, but it was still way too stereotypical. Eventually, the brand simply removed it.
7. Land O’lakes butter removed its racist logo not too long ago.
Here, the brand wore the image of an American Indian with feathers in her hair, which inevitably poses a problem when you know how much Native Americans were oppressed by the settlers. Land O’lakes decided to right their mistake in April 2020, after almost 100 years of using this image.
8. Funny Faces have fortunately disappeared from circulation.
The Pillsbury brand marketed a range of drink mixes between 1964 and 1994. On the packets, you could see “funny faces”, “funny” faces (with big quotes) some of which represented racist stereotypes, such as an orange with Native American features with feathers and red makeup, or a Chinese cherry with slanted eyes and big teeth. These two were thankfully soon dropped by Pillsbury in the face of consumer disapproval.
9. The Cleveland Indians team half did the job
Since 1947, the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team has had a logo named Chief Wahoo, which is nothing more than a caricature of a Native American. The logo has been controversial since the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the team announced they would be removing it from their jerseys in favor of a red “C”. However, the Cleveland Indians wanted to keep the image as a secondary logo that can still be used for their marketing. Apparently, they did not understand that it was necessary to know how to definitively say goodbye to racism.