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Aunt Jemima brand being retired after Quaker Oats acknowledges racist past

Quaker Oats’ Aunt Jemima syrup (Image source: Shutterstock/JJava Designs)

Well, what took you so long to figure this out, Quaker Oats?

This is the question many people are asking as cereal behemoth Quaker Oats announced Wednesday, June 17, that it has retired the famous Aunt Jemima syrup brand due to its racist past. Social media tore into the company as well as the consumers who were blissfully unaware of Aunt Jemima’s blatantly racist origins.

Dubiously, the company had an epiphany that came this past week amid the nation’s collective appraisal of traditionally racist symbolism and brands that are being called into question. This includes confederate flags and statues, police brutality, judicial injustices and other related hot topics.

“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” Quaker Oats said in a statement that was obtained by CNN.

Quaker Oats’ sudden response comes after many years of deafening silence in the face of repeated calls to pull Aunt Jemima syrup from its portfolio of products. Quaker Oats purchased the Aunt Jemima brand in 1926, CNN reports. Interestingly enough, Pepsi, which purchased Quaker Oats in 2001, also remained silent amid the torrent of criticism until this week.

“While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough,” Quaker Oats North America chief marketing officer Kristin Kroepfl said in the statement.

Aunt Jemima brand will appropriate over five years $5 million to “create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”

Perhaps in a gesture to cleanse its tainted image due to the acquisition of the stereotypical product Aunt Jemima, Pepsi said it will invest $400 million toward a set of initiatives that supports the Black community.

Social media had a lot to say on the matter. Flip the page to check it out:

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