Believers in the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” needed to portray slaves as happy with the status and limitations forced upon them. Most of us understand that was not the case. Only if the image were captioned, “Free at last,” might we believe that Aunt Jemima ever flashed that big smile.
Or better still, we might feel more hopeful about the world and the people in it if Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth and Uncle Ben were to be replaced as our breakfast companions by images of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. The virtual presence of real heroes of antebellum America would most likely stimulate meaningful exchanges of opinion and better fulfill the above-mentioned writer’s constructive hope that we “listen and learn from each other…while sharing plates of pancakes.”