Top 5 Politically Incorrect Food Icons

Categories: Top Five

The New Aunt Jemima-thumb-300x289.jpg
You never know what you're going to find at the supermarket: the neighbor you thought never left the house, a buy-one, get-one free cookie special, intriguing new "limited edition" pop tarts. And, sometimes, perhaps, racism. I don't expect supermarket to be rigidly politically correct, but there are a few products gracing the shelves that make me feel a tad uncomfortable because of questionable marketing. Here are my top five politically incorrect food icons.

5. Aunt Jemima. Well, at least they removed her kerchief. Although she may no longer exactly embody the "black mammy," Aunt Jemima still doesn't sit right with em. Her excessively appeasing countenance and servile demeanor don't make her the best representative of black women, who, as you may have noticed, can do a lot more than make good pancakes.

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4. Lucky the Leprechaun. Really, you say? Consider my full name (Joanna Shawn Brigid O'Leary), and you'll see why this loony leprechaun touches a nerve. It irritates me that Ireland is still depicted as the land of make-believe creatures, "quaint," slow-talking villagers, and boorish drunks. Even more annoying is Lucky's broken brogue, as epitomized in his catch-phrase, "Hands off me lucky charms!" Well, feck off, General Mills!

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3. Chiquita Banana Woman. Recently, Chiquita redesigned its signature stickers in an attempt to "modernize" its well-known mascot. But the original drawing still rears its (fruit-laden) head on bananas. With a Latina (finally) on the Supreme Court, is a scantily clad, buxom Hispanic woman really still an acceptable way to sell produce?

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2. Uncle Ben. Apparently, Uncle Ben is named after an actual farmer who was known for growing high-quality rice. Well, that's all fine and good, but then, why is this accomplished agrarian dressed like a 1950s cocktail waiter? Not to mention the fact that referring to a happy-go-lucky African-American man as "uncle" is also profoundly unsettling (ahem, "Uncle Tom").

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1. Land O' Lakes Woman. I'm wary of calling this mascot "Native American" since the ad geniuses at Land O'Lakes seem to have combined the traditional dress of a thousand-odd tribes into one ridiculous stereotype. And I'm even more perplexed as to why a Sacajawea-esque figure is the enduring symbol of high-quality butter. If you're going to be offensive, at least make sense. Make the LOL icon an Aryan dairymaid and offend legions of Swiss-Americans.

P.S. Don't like my list? This one is even better.



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48 comments
lupe tortilla
lupe tortilla

.flour, fat, water, salt, and that's it! However, when these humble ingredients are mixed together in the proper way, suddenly they are transformed into a delicious soft and tender wrap for savory chicken, spicy beef, tender pork, or any type of meat, fish, vegetable or even fruit that you can think of!

lupe tortilla
lupe tortilla

I cook a lot of Mexican style dinners, and if I dare try to slip in store bought tortillas, well the groans and complaints make me wish I had gone to the small amount of trouble it takes to bake a batch... Because there is no comparison! Tortillas are a simple food..

lupe tortilla
lupe tortilla

 Times have changed and breads of all kind are now readily available on the grocery shelf. This is a wonderful thing, but there are breads that just don't hold a candle to what you can put together at home. Tortillas top this list!

lupe tortilla
lupe tortilla

The daily bread. There was a time when every cook who was responsible for the family meals, either kneaded bread, whipped up a quick batch of biscuts or rolled out tortillas on a daily basis. Times have changed and breads of all kind are now readily available on the grocery shelf

Ray_713
Ray_713

Read "Slave in a Box". Same subject matter as this article, but more in depth. 

Stit60
Stit60

LOL!!!  See?  THIS is exactly why I am a Houston Press Groupie: stories that force your mind to slant sideways and take a closer look at the everyday things in life.  Jemima and Ben are obvious racial slurs but, I never thought about Lucky.  Yah...General Mills sure pissed on the Irish, didn't they? Poor Joanna. But don't feel bad, hun.  I'm Italian and LOOK what's on the Michelina's frozen entrees package: a matronly Italian mama who looks like she's never seen an eliptical trainer or a smidge of make-up.  I bet if you look close up, she's probably got a mustache too. UGH... 

Eugene Homyakov
Eugene Homyakov

so uncle ben's logo is racist because he's suit is old?you are completely nuts miss

anything can be offensive to anyone if you put in enough imagination, you can't walk around blaming everything for racism because your ill mind sees things

GreatWhiteLionSnake
GreatWhiteLionSnake

I bet the Quaker's are still besides themselves whenever they pass by the oatmeal section.  Remember Quaker's are not all fat and jolly and most certainly do not wear ridiculous hats.  

Fuckoff 3 Rdp
Fuckoff 3 Rdp

 you are the most pathetic example of a pro-everything piece of Sh!t around. "waa waa, someone was mean to some minority". STFU

Bob
Bob

Don't bother with the "better" link. It's a fucking slideshow.

eeeeeeee
eeeeeeee

Sounds like someone is a little too sensitive.

Rob
Rob

Wow.....A little to much on the sensitivity level......I would think that in the distant past these depictions of within the icons may have had a snarky/racist bent but now times would be less so.  I and my family consume these products and do not look that deep into hidden meanings that may or may not be represented in the icons.  Lucky charms...Really??? My family has some Irish roots yet it does not cross our minds that lucky is anything more than a character.  Hell my 3 girls are fans of the cereal/character but never talk about how the Irish are just like this.  Aunt Jemima??  This is actually a good brand and when I consume it I do not think..'Boy those blacks can really serve up the hotcakes' ....  One would have to be truly insecure to be upset by this.  Hell I see/hear the redneck tag when I go to Nascar races....Do I think it racist or get upset??  No why would I???  There is certainly a whole lot more things occurring in the world to truly get upset with than these.......Probably why nothing meaningful is fixed in this country as much time is wasted over meaningless issues...

CB
CB

In the UK there was one brand of marmalade that had Golly as its mascot.. You could collect "Golly" tokens from the labels in exchange for merchandise. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/bus...

chef504
chef504

Seriously? If total honesty in advertisement is what everyone wants, then the adds would be far more offensive. Just think about items and who buys them and then make appropriate advertisements. In your heads people you don't want to be deemed racist or not politically correct. I am still very pissed about Ole-Miss having to get rid of Col. Rebel. It's part of history. All those "offensive", advertisements. Who really gives a shit as long as the product is good. When did everyone get so fucking fragile?   

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

This whole intolerance for anything deemed remotely offensive has gotten silly.  When the Texas Tech Red Raiders get put on the top ten list of offensive mascots, you know it has gotten out of hand.  And what of Notre Dame or the Minnesota Vikings?  Are they next?  They have been deemed offensive to some, as well.

Ed T.
Ed T.

"Make the LOL icon an Aryan dairymaid and offend legions of Swiss-Americans."

Better yet... make it a cat, and offend millions and MILLIONS of crazy cat people!

"I KAN HAZ CHEEZ-BUTTER!?"

Dylan
Dylan

Watch the mockumentary CSA: The Confederate States of America. It chronicles the craziness that would have happened if the South had won, such as taking over Central and South America. But it also shows some extremely racists products that really exists. You have to watch the whole thing to find out the racist commercials are for real products.

Jackie
Jackie

How about St. Pauli Girl or Dutch Boy Paint

"Many cannot think of bananas without thinking of Miss Chiquita. This mascot has been branded upon bananas since 1944, but has varied in appearance. She originally looked like a banana, but was recreated in 1987 to look like a woman. "

Buhbye Miss American Pie
Buhbye Miss American Pie

This is why there are no more Big Chief Tablets, a staple of American school supplies for eons. Thanks, all.

cop
cop

remember Sambo's restaurants?

El Guest
El Guest

It comes from an era when people were not so "anal retentive" as now.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

When I first saw Ghost World the movie, I had no idea Cook's Chicken (a.k.a Coon Chicken) was a real fucking thing.

Also, while we're on the subject, can we talk about Lupe Tortilla's menu, marquees and advertising. "Cheeken! Es muy tasty ey yey yey!"

WTF?

Nothankyou
Nothankyou

I've never commented on a EOW article before, but this is just plain terrible.  Why can't a "scantily clad, buxom Hispanic woman" be an appropriate way to sell produce? It's a fine way to sell many other things (like, say, lingerie) without any race implications...

Archie Leach
Archie Leach

Up in Texarkana, I saw a restaurant called Ta Molly's.  Stay classy, Texarkana.

Guest
Guest

See the Land O' Lakes woman's knees? Back in my best days I remember cutting bottom 3 sides of the butter to make a flap and then taping the knees (from another woman) behind the butter so it looked like...you know. Ahhhh nostalgia.

thegreatwooka
thegreatwooka

Check out Uncle Ben's website - he is Chairman of the Board now.

Joanna
Joanna

Where in the article does not say specifically that the UB logo is racist? "Politically incorrect" are the operative words.

"You can't walk around blaming everything for racism because your ill mind sees things".  Again, please articulate the reasoning behind this hyperbole: I am not blaming these products for racism; I am simply say they make use of icons that make me feel a "tad uncomfortable."

Seems like the commenters are more upset than I am...

Joanna
Joanna

I heartened to read that someone thinks I am "pro-everything" as I am usually criticized for hating on everything. YMMD.

cha0sunity
cha0sunity

I don't think I could agree more. If people spent less time getting pissed off about political correctness and more time doing something useful, fixing the national debt, the country might now be falling apart.

Cheflambo
Cheflambo

Am I the only one here who is SO OLD that I remember the "Frito Bandito" ?

Joanna
Joanna

"Who really gives a shit as long as the product is good."

Um, do you live on Mars?

Megan
Megan

The only people I know that are offended by the Minnesota Vikings are Green Bay Packers fans.

*ducks*

Devilsadvocate
Devilsadvocate

relax and have a fudgesickle, fatty. i think this is done rather tongue in cheek.i've notice no petitions or boycotts or corporate sit-ins.

Bruce R
Bruce R

I think the rub in this case is that the lovely lady is purveying bananas.

Kylejack
Kylejack

"Why can't a 'scantily clad, buxom Hispanic woman' be an appropriate way to sell produce?"

Because Chiquita Banana (then as United Fruit Company) sent the Marines to destroy Latin America to keep the bananas flowing.

Joanna
Joanna

Yes, because there are definitely no racial/ethnic implications when "hot, spicy" Latinas are used to vend bras and panties.

Stu
Stu

Joanna, I thought the article was more of a history lesson concerning marketing techniques that would not be considered "polite" (to say the least) these days. You sure touched a lot of nerves with this piece which was not judgemental at all, just a factual bit of research. If the posters who felt called out for their racist turn-of -the -century attitudes about these ad campaigns feel it necessary to defend their tastes in advertisements: "If the shoe fits..."

Joanna
Joanna

Indeed, Devilsadvocate, indeed ;-).

Nothankyou
Nothankyou

What are the implications? That some latina women, just like the black, white etc.-skinned women that VS uses, are extremely attractive? 

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