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Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworth confront race in packaging

Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworth confront race in packaging
Posted at 5:43 PM, Jun 18, 2020

Colgate, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth are the latest brands reckoning with racially charged logos.

New York-based Colgate-Palmolive say it's reviewing its Darlie toothpaste brand, which is popular in Asia. Prior to 1989, the brand was known as Darkie and featured a singer in blackface as its logo.

New Jersey-based B&G Foods, which makes Cream of Wheat hot cereal, said it’s reviewing its logo, which features a smiling black chef holding a bowl of cereal. Cream of Wheat's packaging includes an image of a black chef. In early advertisements, copy refers to the chef as "Rastus" — a term now considered a slur. The name refers to a minstrel show caricature of a stereotypically happy black man.

Uncle Ben's rice, which also uses a black man's portrait on its packaging, said it planned to "evolve" the brand, but did not offer specifics.

And Chicago-based Conagra Brands says its female-shaped Mrs. Butterworth's bottles are intended to evoke a “loving grandmother.” But the company said the packaging could be misinterpreted. "We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values," the company said in a statement.

The soul-searching comes in the wake of PepsiCo’s announcement that it’s renaming its Aunt Jemima syrup brand.