CHICAGO—In response to nationwide protests regarding police brutality and racial discrimination, food conglomerate Quaker Oats announced Friday that after 130 years, it would replace its historically racist Aunt Jemima mascot with a black female lawyer who enjoys pancakes from time to time. “The time has come to replace Jemima, a problematic and stereotypical character that originated in minstrel shows, with Sheila, the public defender of cultivated tastes who eats pancakes on occasion, in addition to a variety of other foods,” said Quaker spokesperson Aaron Parshley, who explained that the former Aunt Jemima brand of syrups and pancake mixes would now bear a logo depicting an African American woman who wears a suit, carries a briefcase, and isn’t an aunt per se, though she is godmother to the child of a dear friend she met as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. “Our new mascot is based on several real-life black women who are lawyers and eat pancakes some mornings when they aren’t too busy litigating on behalf of the disadvantaged. While Sheila does enjoy our extended line of breakfast foods, that is only one small facet of her rich and complex identity as a human being: Sheila also speaks fluent Italian, likes U2, is bisexual, and enjoys cross-country skiing. Let us make it clear that Sheila never serves the pancakes herself, but now and then goes to a diner near the courthouse where waitresses and waiters of a variety of races serve them to her.” At press time, Mars Inc. announced it would follow suit by replacing the mascot of its Uncle Ben’s brand with a black engineering graduate student.
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