Uncle Ben’s rice firm to scrap brand image of black farmer

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King Dracula
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Imagine all those brands without mascots.

Parent company Mars says the character is out of step with the times and BLM campaign.

The rice company Uncle Ben’s is to scrap the image of a black farmer the brand has used since the 1940s and could change its name, as companies react to growing concerns over racial bias and injustice.

The parent company, Mars, said Uncle Ben was a fictional character whose name was first used in 1946 as a reference to an African American Texan rice farmer.

The image who personifies the brand “was a beloved Chicago chef and waiter named Frank Brown”,*the company said.

Mars also said, however, that it recognised the use of the character was out of step with the times, and pledged to overhaul the brand following sweeping calls for racial equality following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the black community, and to the voice of our associates worldwide, we recognise that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” the company said.

“Racism has no place in society. We stand in solidarity with the black community, our associates and our partners in the fight for social justice.”

Mars said it was evaluating all possibilities for changes to the product, which could include a new name. “We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we will evolve Uncle Ben’s visual brand identity,” the company said.

The move to rebrand Uncle Ben’s follows a similar announcement from the Quaker food company, which plans to*change the 130-year-old Aunt Jemima pancake and syrup name*and logo. The character is an African American woman who was originally dressed as a minstrel show performer.

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glassalice
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I am slightly confused, what is actually racist about Uncle Ben's packaging?
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King Dracula
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(Original post by glassalice)
I am slightly confused, what is actually racist about Uncle Ben's packaging?
I believe it's the fact there is a black guy on the packaging, apparently that counts as racist.
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davidthomasjnr
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(Original post by King Dracula)
Parent company Mars says the character is out of step with the times and BLM campaign.

The rice company Uncle Ben’s is to scrap the image of a black farmer the brand has used since the 1940s and could change its name, as companies react to growing concerns over racial bias and injustice.

The parent company, Mars, said Uncle Ben was a fictional character whose name was first used in 1946 as a reference to an African American Texan rice farmer.

The image who personifies the brand “was a beloved Chicago chef and waiter named Frank Brown”,*the company said.

Mars also said, however, that it recognised the use of the character was out of step with the times, and pledged to overhaul the brand following sweeping calls for racial equality following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the black community, and to the voice of our associates worldwide, we recognise that now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” the company said.

“Racism has no place in society. We stand in solidarity with the black community, our associates and our partners in the fight for social justice.”

Mars said it was evaluating all possibilities for changes to the product, which could include a new name. “We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we will evolve Uncle Ben’s visual brand identity,” the company said.

The move to rebrand Uncle Ben’s follows a similar announcement from the Quaker food company, which plans to*change the 130-year-old Aunt Jemima pancake and syrup name*and logo. The character is an African American woman who was originally dressed as a minstrel show performer.

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Ironically, I think it's more racist to remove him
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username5321186
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I always thought it looked like a picture of Nelson Mandela on the front of the packets.
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King Dracula
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(Original post by Relatedremix)
I always thought it looked like a picture of Nelson Mandela on the front of the packets.
Same, but according to Wikipedia, his name was Frank Brown.
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Trotsky's Ghost
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The Uncle Ben branding always did strike me as a dated caricature.
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glassalice
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(Original post by King Dracula)
I believe it's the fact there is a black guy on the packaging, apparently that counts as racist.
No, it's not that. Terms like 'Uncle' or 'Boy' where used during the Jim crow era used to avoid saying 'Sir'.
In addition, the farmer shown on the packaging had nothing to do with the company- one could interpit this as racist marketing.
Last edited by glassalice; 3 weeks ago
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King Dracula
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(Original post by glassalice)
No, it's not. Terms like 'Uncle' or 'Boy' in America where often historically used to advoid saying 'Sir'.
I never knew that, but thank you for the information. I too don't think it's racist, but some morons do apparently. Probably the same morons that believe Coco Pops are racist.
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Daveological
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This is actually one of the more reasonable ones to be honest. Maybe they should rename it to Mr Brown's or something like that.
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King Dracula
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(Original post by Daveological)
This is actually one of the more reasonable ones to be honest. Maybe they should rename it to Mr Brown's or something like that.
Mr. Browns Rice? That sounds stupid. No offence. But, everyone has always known it as Uncle Ben's, therefore everyone will always call it that.
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glassalice
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(Original post by King Dracula)
I never knew that, but thank you for the information. I too don't think it's racist, but some morons do apparently. Probably the same morons that believe Coco Pops are racist.
To be honest with you, the guardian article you have quoted is extremely poorly written. It doesn't actually explain any of the rational behind it.
Last edited by glassalice; 3 weeks ago
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King Dracula
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(Original post by glassalice)
To be honest with you, the guardian article you have quoted is extremely poorly written. It doesn't actually explain anything.
I was going to choose another article on the subject, but thought this headline was more better. There are a few other articles on Google, maybe they will give you a better understanding.
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Daveological
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(Original post by King Dracula)
Mr. Browns Rice? That sounds stupid. No offence. But, everyone has always known it as Uncle Ben's, therefore everyone will always call it that.
Yeah, but that's the same with all rebrands.
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King Dracula
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(Original post by Daveological)
Yeah, but that's the same with all rebrands.
True, it's the same with Colston Hall. When they rename that, people are still going to call it by its former name.
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Reality Check
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Unnecessary window dressing. Maybe instead of lazy virtue signalling as the cheapest option, Mars could appoint some black people to its executive board and really show that they want meaningful change.
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QE2
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(Original post by glassalice)
I am slightly confused, what is actually racist about Uncle Ben's packaging?
(Original post by King Dracula)
I believe it's the fact there is a black guy on the packaging, apparently that counts as racist.
The "Black Uncle" caricature is a relic of the US deep south concept of the house boy (in that context, "boy" was a term used for any black of any age) and is indeed a racist stereotype. By simply removing the "Uncle" and changing the image to a contemporary black chef (for example) the packaging would cease to be racist.

Would you also like me to explain why women should have the vote? I've got plenty of time.
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King Dracula
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(Original post by glassalice)
The claims that coco pops are racist where made by a disgraced ex-MP who was obviously looking to restart her own career
She chose to restart her career by acting like an uneducated looney.
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King Dracula
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(Original post by QE2)
The "Black Uncle" caricature is a relic of the US deep south concept of the house boy (in that context, "boy" was a term used for any black of any age) and is indeed a racist stereotype. By simply removing the "Uncle" and changing the image to a contemporary black chef (for example) the packaging would cease to be racist.

Would you also like me to explain why women should have the vote? I've got plenty of time.
It's political correctness gone mad. You're obviously one of these uneducated morons causing destruction and claiming they care about the BLM movement, when all you really want is a taste of violence.
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glassalice
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(Original post by QE2)
Would you also like me to explain why women should have the vote? I've got plenty of time.
No need for that, I then corrected myself futher down the thread.
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