When nine Black churchgoers were murdered in South Carolina in June 2015, it gave new urgency to an ongoing battle in the culture wars: whether the Confederate flag—which the killer had fetishized, and which the state still flew over its capitol—should be considered not a benign relic of Southern heritage but a hateful symbol of white supremacy. As that debate was raging, the New York Times opinion section invited Cornell professor Riché Richardson to weigh in on what other symbols should go on the ash heap of history.
Her choice: Aunt Jemima. The logo of the familiar brand of pancake mix and syrup, she wrote, “was an outgrowth of Old South plantation nostalgia and romance grounded in an idea about the ‘mammy,’ a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.”
Read the entire article in the Cornell Alumni Magazine.