1619, Episode Three
Based on recent discussions, such as the Aunt Jemima thread, I would highly recommend episode 3 of the 1619 podcast, “The Birth of American Music” specifically because of its discussion of minstrelsy.
Some background on minstrel shows here:
White supremacy and the belief in black inferiority remained at minstrelsy’s base even though the structure of the performances and subjects discussed in the music varied over time. The genre shaped the nation’s views on race for over a century and reinforced white superiority well after the abolition of slavery. While some today assume that minstrelsy’s blackface has roots in the American South because of the genre’s focus on black degradation and slavery, minstrelsy was born and evolved initially in the North.
If slavery was the commodification of black labor, minstrelsy, with its focus on presenting authentically black songs and dances, was the commodification of black culture. However, the depictions of blacks in minstrel performances were exaggerated, dehumanizing and inaccurate. Instead of representing black culture on stage, blackface minstrel performers reflected and reinforced white supremacy.
Note that a prominent minstrel character was Jim Crow. It is also the source of blackface and why blackface is so problematic. See my post “The History of Blackface” for more on that.
So, yes, it is a good idea to remove symbols that grew out of that era from our breakfast products.
See, also, this from Adweek: Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat to Review Mascots and Packaging.