Cream of Wheat Will Officially Remove the Smiling Black Chef from Their Packaging
While the name Cream of Wheat sounds simple enough, it is not the name that is of concern. It is the image of the black chef in the white chef’s uniform that some people find offensive. This image has been around for about 100 years.
The original Cream of Wheat logo image featured a black man that was much more of a racial stereotype. According to CNN, the original image was a caricature of Black Americans named “Rastus.” The unappealing mascot spoke broken English and wasn’t all that bright.
Rastus was replaced by the current image over 100 years ago. Although it was never officially recorded by the company, the current image for the brand is thought to be based on a black chef from Chicago named Frank White.
White told friends and family that he was the model for Cream of White, and when he died in 1935, his obituary even said that he, “posed for an advertisement of a well-known breakfast food.”
Regardless of the image’s origin, Cream of Wheat is committed to making sure they are not perpetuating any racist stereotypes. In a statement, B&G Foods, the company that makes Cream of Wheat, said, “We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism. B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind.”
Last week, the company officially announced that the Chef image will be removed from packaging because “it reminds some consumers of earlier depictions they find offensive.”
Do you think B&G Foods is making the right decision by changing or removing the Chef image on Cream of Wheat packaging?