Apparently, comedian, actor, and former Richard Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein is still pressed about Quaker Oats updating the historically racist Aunt Jemima brand and replacing it with a racially neutral and far less mammy-era-inspired brand, because conservative white people in America just really love their anti-Black nostalgia despite their insistence that America was not founded on racism.
Recently, Stein posted a video of himself reminiscing over the good old days when racist imagery on consumer products was no big deal (to white people) and no one (who was white) complained about it.
“Aunt Jemima yummy pancake syrup,” Stein said while holding a Pearl Mining Company bottle, which is Aunt Jemima’s new brand. “Now, this used to show a large African American woman chef. Because of the inherent racism of America’s corporate culture, they decided to make it a white person or maybe no person at all. But I prefer it when it was a Black person showing their incredible skill making pancakes.”
Stein appeared to mock the idea of “inherent racism” in America, while, you know, passionately expressing his love for a symbol derived from American racism. But the real question is—why is he still so salty about a decision made two years ago that he’s going out of his way to get himself dragged by the fine folks on Twitter like this?
At the end of the day, white people like Stein show off their privilege when they debate about whether or not racist imagery should be preserved they just love their various odes to Black subjugation, whether it’s a confederate monument or a racist syrup bottle. White people, including politicians, are still, in the 21st century, using “Aunt Jemima” as a slur against Black women. But folks like Stein haven’t experienced that, so, for them, it’s as simple as a “woke agenda” run amok.
Even Black folks who didn’t necessarily have a problem with the Aunt Jemima brand should take issue with white people who believe their racist traditions should trump our lived experiences. Because that’s exactly how white supremacy works.
Or, whatever, maybe it’s just syrup.