Mrs. Butterworth was loved. Why must she disappear? | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
Jun 26, 2020 at 11:26 AM
In response to the commentary from Leonard Pitts Jr. (”Aunt Jemima is off the pancake box,” June 22) as well as other articles that have surfaced in the news media (”Aunt Jemima should have disappeared a long time ago,” June 18), I am saddened to learn that several familiar items are being removed from the grocery shelves because they replicate an image that apparently is no longer tolerable. The items to date are Aunt Jemima pancakes, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, Uncle Ben’s Rice and Cream of Wheat.
Without detailing once again the horrific murder of George Floyd or the angry crowds expressing their frustrations over despicable police actions, I do question some of the changes taking place. Let me tell you what those grocery items about to be redesigned and repackaged meant to me. They meant love, they meant comfort, they meant joy. As a mother and then a grandmother, those items were my go-to choices for delicious meals for my family. Mrs. Butterworth had far more impact on my children’s behavior at the breakfast table than I did, but now this imagery is to be erased.
In this time when the chant of “Black Lives Matter” echoes daily across our nation, why are we so eager to remove any and all symbols of what is good? Why are we so intent on destruction? Removal of Confederate soldier monuments can and should be done in a comprehensible way, but does smashing windows, spray painting statues and looting businesses really celebrate the heroism of our ancestors? The shadows of the Civil War, the exposure of savage police tactics and the global transformation of our world from COVID-19 have put us on a scary, tremulous path.
We need to build on the fruits of those who came before us. As flawed as we are, hopefully, we can listen and learn from each other, and wouldn’t it be nice to do that while sharing plates of pancakes with lots of butter and syrup?