Aunt Jemima’s real name was Nancy Green.
and she BUILT that brand.

Does Aunt Jem need a brand update? Yes.

UPDATE TO CLARIFY: By “brand update” do I actually mean change the name and remove the image? Yes.
If all you care about is making sure “I get it” then move on, nothing to see here.
However, if you think it’s possible that I’m NOT a myopic simpleton, then you may find the following to be of some interest.

Last Tuesday, twitter had…more than a few…tweets about Aunt Jemima being a symbol of racism.

On Wednesday, Quaker Oats announced they are “retiring” the brand.

Aunt Jem is CANCELLED.

accused of perpetuating a racist stereotype.

Even the experts agree.

Riché Richardson, associate professor of African American literature at Cornell University on TODAY Wednesday:

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.

this image is triggering and represents terror?

Daina Ramey Berry, a professor of history at The University of Texas:

“Aunt Jemima kept Black woman in the space of domestic service associating them with serving food under a “plantation mentality.”

and “it would be misguided to lament the change by Quaker as a loss of representation for Black women.”

This particular “representation for Black women” was based on a real person, Nancy Green.

“Born a slave in Kentucky in 1834, Green lived in Mount Sterling throughout the Civil War and relocated to Chicago when the conflict ended. There, she became a cook for Judge Charles Walker, who recommended she represent R.T. Davis Milling Company’s pancake mix, according to Marilyn Kern-Foxworth’s book, “Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Her fame grew after appearing at Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893 before she died in 1923.” according to Courier-Journal.com

According to African American Registry:

“Mrs. Green was one of the first black corporate models in the United States…she became the advertising world’s first living trademark.”

She “Green was a hit, friendly, a good storyteller, and a good cook…”

“Her exhibition booth drew so many people that special policemen were assigned to keep the crowds moving. The Davis Milling Company received over 50,000 orders, and Fair officials awarded Nancy Green a medal and certificate for her showmanship.

She was proclaimed “Pancake Queen.” She was signed to a lifetime contract and traveled on promotional tours all over the country. Flour sales were up all year and pancakes were no longer considered exclusively for breakfast.”

She started at 56 years old. A woman. A Black woman. In 1893.

Nancy Green was Aunt Jemima.
and she BUILT that brand.

And now it’s been cancelled.

and Nancy Green’s achievements are not to be admired or celebrated.

Because, as Berry said, it is “misguided to lament” her “loss of representation for Black women.”

Because, as Richardson said, she is the “kind of stereotype that is premised on this idea of Black inferiority and otherness.”

She is not a positive representation for Black women?
She represents Black inferiority?

I may take some heat for this, but…

I don’t understand how Nancy Green’s origin as a slave and her physical appearance eclipses her achievements and their historical significance as a Black woman from 1893 until her death in 1923.

As I was writing this post, I found myself thinking of a quote from the following video:

“…race and ethnicity are closely connected to culture and in my experience, most people are proud of their culture. Refusing to acknowledge race is being insensitive the vast cultural differences across the world.”

Kristin Kroepfl, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a statement to NBC News. “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.”

I may take some heat for this, but…

Nancy Green’s legacy is part of American history. I hope Quaker’s rebrand of Aunt Jem finds its way to recognizing and honoring her.

Assuming the Twitterverse will allow it.

Our words and actions, whether online or IRL, reveal something of our true beliefs and character.

As often as I see it, I will never be desensitized to adult bullying.

It surprises me every time.

Especially when it comes from someone who knows the pain of being on the receiving end.

And the duplicity genuinely confuses me.

IRL kindness and then,

BAM.

Dehumanizing and cruel mocking.

SO. MANY. posts and comments about leaders that are flat out mean and hateful.

I’m reminded of a blog post I wrote back in 2018:

…duplicity was the unacknowledged elephant in the room when the internet-infused courage of this person deflated like a day old birthday balloon during real life interactions: what happens online, stays online.

Except, it doesn’t.

Our words and actions, regardless of whether they are online or IRL, reveal something of our true beliefs and our character:
“…surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.” [emphasis added] #IreadthereforeIquote
C. S. Lewis

We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. This situation is incredibly complicated. I can’t imagine the stress of striving to make the best decisions in this no-win hornet’s nest while at the same time getting the $#!+ kicked out of me by both the media and hundreds of thousands of armchair commentators.

They have to be exhausted. And yet they continue to put themselves out there every day knowing they’re going to end up a target.

Again.

#seepeople and #edify because everyone is #justadifferentkindofbroken
#KindnessisContagious but so is #sarcasm and #criticism

People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening.
Why would anyone want to engage in conversation with someone who thinks they are stupid?

January 20th [2017].

I should NOT have gone on facebook.

So. much. hate.

contemptuous mocking. sarcasm. ridicule.

Not just for DT, but for everyone who doesn’t overtly hate him.

My facebook feed was toxic, repelling me away.

Post after meme after video after tweet after comment,
reiterating again and again and again and again and again
how stupid and intolerable anyone is if they don’t hate
DT – AND everyone who “supports” him.

I think I’ve actually been grieving. genuinely, profoundly sad.

not because DT is the president.

The long term impact (positive and/or negative) of these next four years is yet to be evidenced.

not because people think I’m [insert contemptuous label here] because I don’t hate the same people they do.

I’ve been hated and shunned for being different before. It’s no fun, but it’s nothing new.

I’m grieving because I can’t un-know what I’ve learned about so many people I genuinely liked and respected:

That they have the capacity to be so callously and unflinchingly VICIOUS towards people who believe differently than they do. And not just because of differences – the actual differences aren’t even being acknowledged, much less discussed. It’s the relentless derisive personal attacks on the character of people who believe differently.

This is the one that finally drove me away:

fbh8te

Burn in Hell? Seriously? Burn in HELL?

This person is saying this to their own facebook friends. People they know personally – and supposedly like. This is not the only post like this from this particular person, much less the only post like this from a number of other people in my facebook feed. and I only have about 300 friends. If I actually unfriended every person who demanded that “unfriend them right now!!” if I don’t hate DT or anyone who voted for him, that number would be even lower. I imagine my facebook feed is not the only one contaminated with this virulent stream of bigotry.

All this blatant cruelty leaves me with these nagging thoughts:

When someone mocks, ridicules or derisively condemns a group of people,

Do they not realize there’s a strong chance they have a personal relationship with someone they would identify as belonging to that group?

And if they do recognize that some of their friends are “those people,” do they not make the connection that they are mocking and ridiculing and condemning their friend? or family member?

Maybe they themselves didn’t mock anyone. Maybe they just liked or commented or shared a post that does.

Do they not realize that the action of liking, commenting and sharing validates the attack?

That it aligns them with the attacker?

stop-hate-peace-signDo they not realize it’s evidence that their “no H8te” duct tape selfie and the “STOP HATE” peace sign they posted are dishonest and betray their true beliefs?

And that despite the safety pin they wore or posted online, a percentage of their friends know that the only reason they are safe from outright attack from the safety pin bearer is that they’ve remained silent. under the radar. out of line of sight.

Not that silence keeps anyone safe from judgment and ostracization. Because lack of commiseration makes you suspect. The solidarity of those who hate DT is stronger than a red rover line of linebackers who just picked their nose. Nobody wants to risk going near that. Better to stay away. where it’s REALLY safe.

As a result, many of my facebook friends have been missing. Silent. For months.

I completely understand.

Why would anyone want to engage in conversation with someone who thinks they are stupid?
Why would anyone make themselves vulnerable to attack by someone who’s evidenced that they prefer to talk ABOUT them as an enemy than WITH them as a friend?

so. What have I’ve been grieving?

The loss of authentic friendships? or the loss of the illusion of those friendships?

The loss of my naivety? or the discovery that I didn’t know people as well as I thought I did.

Maybe people had misrepresented themselves and I only knew the persona they wanted me to know.

Whatever the reason, the breadth and cruelty – and tenacity – of these expressions of hatred and intolerance have genuinely shocked me.

I’m trying to tell myself that, in the long run, it’s better that I know the truth, not only about what some of my friends are capable of, but also what they think of me.

Right now, it doesn’t feel like it’s better.

All that interpersonal destruction aside, the question that comes back to me again and again is this:

When someone attacks, mocks, ridicules or derisively condemns, why is it that the validation of their opinions and beliefs seem to require and thrive on the ridicule of people who hold to different opinions and beliefs? Are the opinions and beliefs not strong enough to stand on their own merit?

and I know things now, many valuable things, that I hadn’t known before.

Library WallIt was Sunday afternoon. I was in “my” room. The living room. Looking out the window that spans nearly an entire wall, hypnotically watching a baby squirrel chowing down on the suet in the birdfeeder. I call it “my” room because it’s lined with a 12 foot wide by 7 foot high wall of 12×12 cubby shelves filled with books about God. Theology. Spiritual Growth. Prayer. Suffering. blah. blah. blah.

84 square feet. My own personal little library. That’s a lot of books. A lot of words. I’ve learned a lot from those books. With endless more still to learn.

My husband was chilling out in the adjacent room. Even though we’re visually separated by the wall of books, we never have to raise our voice to hear each other.

The clock ticks.

Me, softly: “I miss the old me.”

FirstHusband: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You don’t notice a difference?”

silence.

He knows what I’m talking about.

The clock ticks.

Me: “I miss optimism.”

silence. He’s not ignoring me. He’s waiting. He knows me. I’m not done talking. I’m not done thinking.

(I know, I know. I’m NEVER done thinking.)

The clock ticks.

Me: “I hate that the gate is so narrow.”I hate that the gate is so narrow Matthew 7 13-14 JSM Quotes

FirstHusband: “I know.”

A few years ago, when I experienced the deafening silence and pitch black darkness and seeming cavernous distance from all that I had come to recognize and understand and depend on as the presence of God, I couldn’t understand why He was allowing such intense pain. I wondered then if the separation was temporary or permanent. If it was temporary, I wondered if the other side would prove to be a pruning that led to a more fruitful bounce back to what I had come to know as “normal” or if this season was a “refined by fire” step leading to an altogether new and different relationship with God.

I’m still not sure.

I’m not sure I’m completely done with that season, so it very well may be that it’s premature to be contemplating the “lessons learned” of it all.

Romans 9 2-3One thing I understand better than I did before is when Paul wrote these words:

“that I have great sorrow and
unceasing anguish in my heart.
For I could wish
that I myself were accursed
and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my brothers,
my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Romans 9: 2-3 ESV

Paul is saying, “I genuinely grieve for those who don’t know Christ. I would give up eternity with Him, if it meant that they could know Him.”

And just to be clear, me saying I understand Paul better, does NOT mean I share his sentiments about sacrificing my relationship with God so that somebody else could know Him.

I know me. I’m much. much. too selfish for that.

The pain I experienced during my recent separation from Him here on earth is more than enough to tell me that eternal separation would be…

unbearable doesn’t begin to describe it.

But I do understand what Paul is saying.

And the raw truth of it is suppressing optimism. It’s sabotaging Hope.

Not that I don’t know Satan will be defeated in the end, because I know he will. It’s just that the evidence that the earth is Satan’s domain seems to be everywhere I look.

I can’t not see it.

Back in December of 2013, I wrote about asking God to “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“The next morning, I woke up…brokenhearted. Seriously. It’s the only word that fits. I was literally grieving over how many people HATE God. or even the idea of Him.

Immeasurable grace. Unconditional love the likes of which I will never fully comprehend.

and so often – much too often – the response is arrogant and caustic rejection. vehement acrimonious derision. revulsion. hate.

and then there’s indifference.

God, through the ultimate expression of love, sacrificed Himself on the cross so that ANYone can experience abundant life in Him.

and so many people respond with “meh.” So many people don’t respond at all.

I’m brokenhearted. Not just for people I know and love, but for people I’ve never met.

this is new. and not from me. On my own, I’m incapable of this kind of intuitive compassion.

Some read those words and thought I was being arrogant. condescending. sanctimonious. I can’t stop them from thinking that. Haters gonna hate.

Some might read them and think I’m an emotionally driven drama queen. Those people obviously don’t know me very well.

The fact is, it’s much easier to live with the knowledge that so many people hate God when you only process the information intellectually. It’s their choice. And the choice has consequences: current and eternal separation from the God who loves them unconditionally. End of story.

But when you genuinely care about someone, and you know they’ve mistaken religion for a restored relationship with God through Jesus, you grieve for their loss.

God uses our deepes pain launching pad greatest callingI grieve for their loss.

condescending?

Again. I can’t stop people from thinking that.

I believe that God, through the ultimate expression of love, sacrificed Himself on the cross so that ANYone can be restored to uninhibited relationship with Him and experience abundant life through Christ, not only for eternity but also now – here on earth. And so. many. people say He doesn’t even exist. So. many people blame Him for Satan’s handiwork. They want Him to intervene and stop “bad” people from hurting “good” people, not thinking through the implications that would have in their own lives if God intervened and stopped them from ever doing anything rebellious.

My acute awareness of how many people live separated from God brings with it the broken heart I prayed for. Not just for people I know and love, but for people I’ve never met.

And I can’t not see it. I can’t not know it.

And so I find myself wrestling with the paradox of personally experiencing the joy of abundant life in Christ and grieving because so many people seem to hate God. And anyone who loves Him.

I wouldn’t change the seeing. or the knowing. It’s good to know.

And a little bit not…

Richard Dawkins on Christians: “mock them. ridicule them. in public. with contempt.”

[Background Photo Source and Prints Available to Purchase from: http://navitz.deviantart.com/art/Wings-of-a-Broken-Heart-32783712 ]
[Background Photo Source and Prints Available to Purchase from: http://navitz.deviantart.com/art/Wings-of-a-Broken-Heart-32783712 ]

Been thinking about something Richard Dawkins said
when he spoke about
meeting someone who claims to be religious:

“Mock them.

Ridicule them.

In public.”

Religion “needs to be ridiculed.

With contempt.”

And the crowd he addressed laughed and cheered and applauded.

I don’t agree.

I can’t fathom a single situation in which contemptuous ridicule is “needed.”

Public or private.

Everybody is ‪#‎justadifferentkindofbroken‬ ‪#‎edify‬