The Demise and Removal of the Icon Uncle Ben's
Master Foods Services
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To: The CEO and President
Master Foods Services
P.O. Box 29333
San Antonio, TX 78229
Dear: Master Foods Services
WE THE UNDERSIGNED are outraged and offended that your company has insisted on keeping as its trademark a racist symbol that has been an insulting, degrading stereotype directed against black American men for over 61 years. The Uncle Bens icon carries an image of an elderly black American man dressed in a bow-tie, meant to connote a docile, servile, domestic servant, catering to the bottomless pit of others needs.
Throughout the American South, it was common practice to call black men "boy" as a sign of disrespect. It was common practice to call elderly black men "Uncle" even though the person uttering the word 'uncle' bore no relation to the black man so addressed.
The image of Uncle Ben's is a condescending, patronizing stereotype that is demeaning to black men. The use of black Americans as company and product mascots for agricultural and food product merchandise was rampant throughout America's racist mistreatment of black Americans, and the denigrating use of black Americans in product placement, as the icon Uncle Ben's attests to, still continues to the present day.
That Master Foods Services have promoted Uncle Ben to a "chairman of the boardroom" still does not lesson the insulting sting of servant that this icon imparts.
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, demand that Master Foods Services immediately and permanently renounce and retire this most hated stereotypical icon that degrades and insults the integrity of all black men.
There is no further known reason to continue to have as a trademark a symbol that both degrades and mocks all that black men have given to America.
There is no reason to continue to have as a trademark a symbol that says to black men that no matter what they do in America, no matter all the years, decades, centuries of work as hard-working, law-abiding citizens---all that black men do will continue to be overshadowed by the racist legacy of Uncle Ben.
We demand that the "Uncle Ben" icon and the words "Uncle Ben's" be removed from all of your merchandise that now carry this disparaging trademark.
Black men have had to contend with the insulting blows that Uncle Ben's has delivered for over 61 years.
It is finally time for Master Foods Services to start to truly give respect and honor to all the glorious contributions as doctors, lawyers, astronauts, teachers, chemists, and so many professions that so many black men have contributed to in their lives in this country.
It is not necessary to degrade and insult an entire race of men to sell a product. And that is the message that black men of America receive from Master Foods Services. We the undersigned will work diligently to bring down this hated icon of racist hatred and we will not cease until your company ends this reprehensible symbol of a people's continued devaluation and degradation.
It is time for Uncle Ben to be taken off the Master Foods products and done away with. It is time to start giving black men the respect that they so rightfully deserve.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED demand the demise of Uncle Ben, a holdover from a time when America was all too happy to show nothing but hate, cruelty, and racist preconceived thoughts of what a black man should be.
We demand that Uncle Ben is an icon whose time has long come and gone.
Remove Uncle Ben from your product merchandise.