The Demise and Removal of the Rastus/Cream of Wheat Icon
B & G FOODS, INC.
More Info at:
4 Gatehall Drive, Suite110
Parsippany, NJ 07054
To: The CEO/President
Dear: B & G FOODS, INC.
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 100 years.
'Rastus' was used as a generic, often derogatory, name for black men. It became synonymous with the stereotype of the happy, carefree Southern black created by Southerners to justify continued racial repression. Rastusas any happy black man, not as a particular personbecame a familiar character in minstrel shows across America that denigrated and insulted the integrity of black men.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED have lived with the reality that this image of the Rastus, Cream of Wheat Man, which has relegated black men into a debased low economic status of life, has damaged and vilified all black men living in America.
Despite all their efforts, despite all their work and accomplishments that so many black men have done, despite the many doctors, scientists, lawyers, teachers, astronauts, chemists, professors, despite all that black men have contributed to this country, the "Rastus" image always forces them back into the segregation kitchen of many people's minds. When many black men go to the grocery store and see staring out at them from the product shelves, the grinning, subservient, racist icon of the Rastus/Cream of Wheat man, they are reminded of a time during America's history when all that a black man could be in many people's eyes was as a servile, docile, menial-laboring domestic, whose sole purpose in life was to live to serve others, with no care as to his own life, agency or autonomy.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED demand the demise of the Rastus/Cream of Wheat man, 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 the Rastus/Cream of Wheat man is an icon whose time has long come and gone.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED, demand that B & G Foods immediately and permanently renounce and retire this most hated stereotypical icon that degrades and insults the integrity of all black men. 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 Rastus/Cream of Wheat man.
We demand that the "Rastus/Cream of Wheat man" icon be removed from all of your merchandise that now carry this hated trademark.
Black men have had to contend with the insulting blows that this stereotypical icon has delivered for over 100 years.
It is finally time for the B & G Foods company to start to truly give respect and honor to all the glorious contributions that so many black men have made 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 B & G Foods.
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 the Rastus/Cream of Wheat man to be put out of his misery.
It is time to start giving black men the respect that they so rightfully deserve.