AUNT JEMIA: THE MOST BATTERED` WOMAN IN AMERICA RISES TO THE TOP
The myth of the strong black woman is the other side of the coin of the myth of the beautiful dumb blonde. The white man turned . . . the black woman into a strong self-reliant Amazon and deposited her in his kitchen -- that's the secret of Aunt Jemima's bandanna.
Eldridge Cleaver ( Soul on Ice, 1968, p. 162)
Aunt Jemima has been invited to have breakfast with millions of families all over the world, and in 1989 she had been doing so for 100 years.
As a trademark, Aunt Jemima has been a familiar part of American culture and has been woven into the mainstream of the American advertising industry. Traditionally, Aunt Jemima and other blacks were depicted in very stereotypical advertising modes, none more pervasive than that of servant and caretaker. "There was Old Uncle Tom or Uncle Remus, Aunt Jemima or Mandy the maid, Preacher Brown and Deacon Jones, Rastus and Sambo, and the ol' mammy" ( Lemmons, 1977).
Ever since advertising became instrumental in the selling of ideas, services, and products, blacks have been used to increase their recognizability. Steven Heller ( 1982, p. 102), author of Racist Ephemera: The Melting Pot Reconsidered, describes the integration of blacks into American society following the abolishment of slavery well:
The growing pains of this young nation -- exacerbated by the very melting pot policy it encouraged -- were manifest in a populace uncomfortable with the new foreign
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus:Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Contributors: Marilyn Kern-Foxworth - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 61.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.