FROSTMAN COLUMN: Eliminating 'offensive' brands won't end racial tensions

FROSTMAN COLUMN: Eliminating 'offensive' brands won't end racial tensions

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After a brief run of just 99 years, this past week brought the end to another iconic brand name, as Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, makers of the “Eskimo Pie” said they would rename the ice cream bar because it is “derogatory.” It was the latest in a series of moves by companies toward greater political correctness, spurred on by the recent rise in racial tension and animus.

A June 21 story from The Blaze summarized recent changes. On June 17, “Quaker Oats announced that Aunt Jemima products will receive a name and logo change, (because) Aunt Jemima’s origins are based in racial stereotype.” On June 18, Mars Inc. announced a change as well saying “it will remove “Uncle Ben” from its product packaging in order to recognize racial stereotypes in advertising.” “B&G Foods, Inc. said Cream of Wheat is also considering removing the Black chef from the packaging. Conagra Brands, the parent company of Mrs. Butterworth’s, said they were contemplating rebranding the breakfast syrup to not offend anyone.” A similar move was made in April when Land O’ Lakes brand removed the Native American woman from its logo.

Perhaps it was time for some of these brand names to go by the wayside. Names given 100 years ago, though not intending to be offensive, have likely outlived their usefulness. You could contend if consumers had taken offense to these product names they’ve had decades to decide whether or not to purchase, and likely many folks were accustomed to brand names like “Aunt Jemima” or “Eskimo Pie.” Their decision to purchase the item wasn’t based on the branding.

It is amazing that many in the “woke” crowd will use any manner of derisive, vile, and nasty terms and tactics to deride those who disagree with their views, but somehow be offended by the packaging on an ice cream bar.

What products are next? Ho-Ho’s or Ding Dongs? Will there be a push to rename Bimbo Bakeries? A true test for the politically woke class would be if they wanted to push to rename Hammer & Sickle vodka and cigars. The Hammer & Sickle was a symbol for the Soviet Union, representing the execution of millions of citizens, and an oppressive totalitarian communist regime that was the scourge of Eastern Europe for decades.

What about the “Che chic” fashion line? You can adorn yourself in clothing inspired by Marxist mass murderer Ernesto “Che” Guevara. A Ranker list of Dec. 31, 2019, recounted some of Guevara’s achievements. Guevara was a horrible racist, quoted in “Motorcycle Diaries” writing, “the black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink,” among other heinous statements and acts, yet many on the left see Guevara as some sort of hero.

Is the conversation regarding racial tensions and challenges really advanced by the elimination of old brand names? As if it couldn’t get any more ridiculous, a June 18 Fox News story stated, “the mayor of Duluth, Minnesota, is pushing city council members to remove the word “chief” from city job titles, saying the term is offensive to Native Americans.” Is this the level to which we have devolved? We can’t use the term “chief” for someone in charge? I think most view it as a term of respect.

We’ve also seen statues and monuments torn down by mobs. Protesters in San Francisco tore down a statue of Francis Scott Key, who penned the words to our national anthem because he was a slave owner, along with one of Ulysses S. Grant, commanding general of the Union Army in the Civil War. Grant was president at the time of the passage of the 15th Amendment giving blacks the right to vote. Grant had many faults, but these protesters didn’t spend much time learning history.

A June 21 Forbes story reported the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of National History will be removed saying “activists have objected to the Roosevelt statue, saying that it symbolizes a legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.”

Where does this all end? How much more alteration and condemnation of our history will be enough? America is a flawed nation, inspired and founded by flawed men and women of great conviction determined to bring the greatest level of individual freedom and liberties to citizens in the history of civilization. Slavery was wrong but was abolished more than 150 years ago. Those who would

condemn America for her past don’t seem to account for the number of times we’ve saved the world from tyranny or done more to advance the human condition across the planet than any nation in history. Celebrate the freedom you have to

complain about product packaging by remembering the

price paid to give you that freedom.

Scott Frostman lives in Baraboo and has roots throughout Wisconsin. He believes anyone can make a difference and can be reached at scfrostman@gmail.com.

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