Today, Pepsi Co, the parent of Quaker Oats decided to finally toss in the towel on the Aunt Jemima brand of pancake syrup after 131 years. The brand hearkens back to 1889, but, they only just woke up to realize they were embodying a racist stereotype.
We’re seeing a new found awareness, with statues being toppled, discussions of renaming places named for slave owners, members of the confederacy and even Christopher Columbus is finally being outed as a fairy tale of white privilege.
Which brings me to the recent firing of Ohio State Senator Dr. Steve Huffman who lost his ER job for saying “colored population.”
Yet this appears: Ohio NAACP President Tom Roberts, a former state lawmaker who previously represented Huffman’s district said, “It is just unbelievable he would ask that kind of question or use that kind of terminology.”
NAACP stands for “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. An organization founded in 1909.
As professionals in the naming and branding field, we offer a bit of advice, it’s time to change your name. Instead, try the National African American Coalition for Progress. Same great initials and a whole lot better imagery. If Aunt Jemima can do it, so can you.
We’d love to help work on this powerful change.
I see your point, but there is also a reason for NAACP to stick with the old name — it’s the euphemism treadmill. What it’s okay to call a minority group can change and change, and the changes aren’t predictable or logical. “People of color” is currently correct, “colored people” is unspeakably racist, although the two are actually quite similar. Remember the YMHA? That comes from a time when “Hebrew” was momentarily more polite than “Jew” or “Jewish.” The respectful words for transexual people keep changing, it’s hard to keep track. LGBTQIA has grown from shorter acronyms in just a few years. And in a few years, this very paragraph may sound utterly tone-deaf and hurtful. Sticking with the old acronym, but deemphasizing what it stands for, might be safer. Remember the Future Farmers of America? They never call themselves that anymore; it’s the FFA, period, since 1988. Their website explains: “These letters are a part of our history and our heritage that will never change. But FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more….” N-Double A-CP sounds good, everybody knows what it means but probably don’t worry much about its origin. — End of rant, thanks for listening.