Retiring Aunt Jemima matters because the logo is "a retrograde image of Black womanhood on store shelves," Riché Richardson, an associate professor of African American literature at Cornell University, told the "TODAY" show Wednesday. "It's an image that hearkens back to the antebellum plantation. ... Aunt Jemima is that kind of stereotype that is premised on this idea of Black inferiority and otherness."
"It is urgent to expunge our public spaces of a lot of these symbols that for some people are triggering and represent terror and abuse," Richardson said.
In a 2015 piece for The New York Times, Richardson wrote that the inspiration for the brand's name came from a minstrel song, "Old Aunt Jemima," in which white actors in blackface mocked and derided Black people.
The logo, Richardson wrote, was grounded in the stereotype of the "mammy ... a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own."
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