Mid of July 2020
What do the Years 1889 – 1933 – 1943 and 1961 all have in common?
Aunt Jemima pancake mix was founded in 1889
The Washington Redskins of the National Football League was established in 1933
Uncle Ben’s Rice was founded in 1943
Mrs. Butterworth Syrup was founded in 1961
You are probably thinking “who cares about these four things” that were founded so long ago and have been staples in people’s homes and pantries for decades.
I, for one, never gave it much thought and to this day, I have not given it much thought.
Well, times are changing.
Amidst the killing of George Floyd and the continual pressure from people thru their peaceful protests concerning racial inequalities namely Black Lives Matters, racial profiling is no longer acceptable.
Uncle Ben’s, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth signified white power and wealth and how people viewed the Black People. Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, both servants. One a maid and one a butler. Hired by whites with excessive power and wealth to take care of their homes and children.
The Washington Redskins, their logo depicts an Indian for 87 years. Now due to excessive pressure, racist caricatures are no longer viewed as being acceptable. They are now changing their name due to extreme pressure from businesses and people. The Washington Redskins play in a stadium called Fed Ex Field. Fex Ex paid a tremendous amount of money to have their name advertised and affiliated with the Redskins stadium. Well, pressure from the CEO of Fed Ex has demanded that the Redskins either change their name or the funding that Fed Ex paid for their naming rights on the stadium will disappear. What choice did the owner of the Redskins have? No choice at all.
Racism and Inequality are no more and inclusivity is what we are striving for.
What would have happened if George Floyd was never killed? We would have continued on with our day to day lives fearing being exposed to the virus. There would be little chatter about racial inequality and very little would have been done about it.
Where does it all end? Am I a racist if I thought nothing of the names of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth and the Washington Redskins. As long as I’ve been alive, these four caricatures signified food or names you can trust. No more no less! Certainly not slavery or white power!
I understand what people are fighting for and the racism that they have encountered every step of their lives. Let’s stop that. I’m just not sure that changing the names of Aunt Jemima or Uncle Ben’s is the right way of handling it. I’m sure I am in the majority that most people did not think of racial inequalities when they bought Aunt Jemima Syrup or Uncle Ben’s Rice. They bought it because its a name they could trust and it always tasted good. When you went to the Fed Ex field to watch the Redskins, did you think about the social inequalities that the Native American people had to go through well before your time and probably a little today? I don’t think so.
People are paying top dollar to be entertained by professional athletes and could care less that it was the Dallas Cowboys playing against the Washington Redskins (aka Cowboys vs Indians). Talk about racial profiling. Cowboy signifying strength and law-abiding vs the evil lawbreaker Indians. Why aren’t people making a stink about the name Cowboy? Were all cowboys law-abiding citizens who never did anything wrong? Did the cowboy try and shoot and kill the Indians in the movies? Maybe we should change the name Dallas Cowboys? How about the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Black Hawks? The list can go on and on.
We can’t change history nor should we try to change history but we can certainly change the present and how people think and act.
With Phase 2 going strong, phase 3 is just around the corner. Ontario had its first day of no Covid-19 related deaths in well over 100 days. Canada seems to be making strides and moving forward all the while our cousins to the south are making no strides at all and seem to be going backward. A number of states have posted a record number of positive cases week over week as the country was allowed to open with no restrictions way too soon which we can attribute to the beloved President Trump.
All the major sports leagues are gearing up to resume or restart the seasons. Some leagues are operating in strict social bubbles. No one is allowed in our out of these so-called bubbles. Some athletes have tested positive for the virus and have been placed in quarantine for 14 days. They won’t be allowed back with their teammates until they have two negative test results in a row. The NHL has chosen two Canadian cities – Toronto and Edmonton as their host cities for the Stanley Cup playoffs because the United States can’t seem to control the outbreak of the virus while Canada seems to have a better handle on things.
People must be vigilant when it comes to the Virus. Keep your distance outside, wear masks at all times while inside (excluding your house) and enjoy the warm weather, and just be careful.
Hopefully, the 2nd wave never occurs, and the death free COVID-19 related day that Ontario just experienced becomes the norm.
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