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They’re changing the name of Uncle Ben’s.

251 replies

mummabear1967 · 23/09/2020 18:37

Why on Earth are they doing that? Have people seriously complained? I don’t know why I’m acting surprised!

OP posts:
Gilead · 23/09/2020 19:10

Slaves on plantations and rice paddies often didn’t know where their father’s were, having been sold etc. So uncle was a term used for an elder who took over parental duties. It became a euphemism for boyfriends of ‘ loose women’. It’s unacceptable.

Echobelly · 23/09/2020 19:11

Uhm.... people have to remember just because 'I never saw X as racist' doesn't mean some other people or groups don't, especially if you are not of that group.

I think the whole 'Uncle' thing from the time the brand started was perhaps still associated with things like 'Uncle Remus', the kind of jocular, supposedly happy older male slave. No one is asking for Uncle or Auntie to be removed from everything - don't make up daft straw men.

I remember there being some unease about Uncle Bens as a brand even 20 or more years ago, so it's not a new thing.

It honestly does no one else from any other group harm to change the name, it's not damaging anyone's 'rights' or 'freedom of speech' but it may make POC feel like their concerns and sensitivities are being listened and responded to when they still so often aren't, so it's a thoughtful gesture.

FTMF30 · 23/09/2020 19:11

@mummabear1967 I think it's the historical context and difference in culture. Years ago in Southern America, uncle/aunt was a term for subordinates. Aunt Bessie is way different as it's British and that branding is more about giving a home cooking type image.

I think Uncle Ben's branding was originally about great food made by beloved servants. Totally different to how we would think of Uncle Ben's in modern Britain.

andpeggy1 · 23/09/2020 19:11

Anyone who genuinely didn't realise this was a racist depiction. Recognise now that it is. And instead of pleading continued ignorance, saying oh this isn't necessary, recognise and rejoice at the fact something positive is actually happening to make a change.
If you arnt racist you'll be happy about this Change.

Gottheteeshirtandlostit · 23/09/2020 19:13


GeorgiaGirl52 · 23/09/2020 19:13


What about Auntie Bessie's then? Should that go too as it's a caricature of a middle aged, white British lady?
And what about Colonel Sanders, Captain Birdseye, Mr Kipling, and numerous other eponymous brands.

I am in the US and we already knew about this.
Also say goodbye to Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth (who was modeled on a white grandmother, but the dark syrup bottle makes her look black) and Betty Crocker (white stereotype). KFC will phase out Colonel Sanders like they have dropped "finger lickin' good" as a motto.
user1464552773 · 23/09/2020 19:14

I suspect that the racist connotations to the name/image may be more obvious to an American audience as I believe it's a US company (or was originally). Agree that it needed changing.

BrazenlyDefying · 23/09/2020 19:15

Meh. I can't get excited about what a brand of rice is called.

Might be a few bargain rice sachets around as they phase out the old packaging though.

Longwhiskers14 · 23/09/2020 19:15

The fact people are objecting proves it needs to be changed. A foodstuff with slavery connotations shouldn't be a part of modern life.

ClementineWoolysocks · 23/09/2020 19:16

another attempt to censor our language

What language is being censored?

mummabear1967 · 23/09/2020 19:16

I’m scared of getting reported for this thread. If I had any idea of the meaning behind uncle bens I would never have posted. I hate racism it’s disgusting.

OP posts:
WhoWouldHaveThoughtThat · 23/09/2020 19:16

Hold on a mo!
Wasn't Ben a rat (according to Michael Jackson)?

Ginkypig · 23/09/2020 19:16

Ffs this thread.

saraclara · 23/09/2020 19:17

It's possibly unsurprising that many of the British Mumsnetters don't know about what the 'uncle' element of the brand means, historically.

But maybe just read up a bit before going full on 'what's the world coming to?'; 'snowflakes'; 'PC' accusations. Especially when the brand is an American one and not British.

whatamess4 · 23/09/2020 19:17

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KitchenConfidential · 23/09/2020 19:17

Those of you who think this is shocking or surprising, do you also think it’s acceptable that the Washington Redskins and their iconography have been what they are up until this point of the 21st century?

Eckhart · 23/09/2020 19:18


Women have been oppressed for centuries, and held in roles of servitude, such as being chained to the stove making yorkshire puddings. Maybe Aunt Bessie's should do a rebranding too. I think it's ok for Mr Kipling still to make pies though, and for Captain Birdseye to still do the fishfingers.

RomanyBlood · 23/09/2020 19:18

The 'Uncle' name doesn't have the same currency here as in the U.S where it orginated.

Same as Aunt Jemima.

Tarantulala · 23/09/2020 19:18

I’m scared of getting reported for this thread. If I had any idea of the meaning behind uncle bens I would never have posted. I hate racism it’s disgusting

Well you seem to have acknowledged why it was problematic through the thread, so it seems you were genuinely unaware and that it wasn't created to be offensive. Maybe others will learn too.

positivelynegative · 23/09/2020 19:19

Bloody hell 'Uncle' is bad enough without adding the smiling servant.

I'm glad it's going.

Longwhiskers14 · 23/09/2020 19:19


My absolute god. The fact there is such utter snowflakes around who literally don't have anything else to do worries me. I can't stand living in this generation who people who take offence and scream racism at absolutely everything. It's embarrassing!

No, comments like this are embarrassing. You seriously want to live in a world where it's permissible to denigrate people for the colour of their skin?
CaraDuneRedux · 23/09/2020 19:19

I'm amazed the brand lasted as long as it did. I've thought for bloody years that it was fucking offensive.

And I'm white, middle class and middle aged - exactly the sort of woman wokesters dismiss as a "Karen" (misogynistic little shits that they are) - yet I could still see it was racist as fuck.

Mummyoflittledragon · 23/09/2020 19:19


I suspect that the racist connotations to the name/image may be more obvious to an American audience as I believe it's a US company (or was originally). Agree that it needed changing.

That would make sense as the connotations passed me by.

I agree. Most of us have said either good or we never realised this and expressed surprise / shock / dismay.
SerenityNowwwww · 23/09/2020 19:19

Didn’t they change the aunt Jemima brand too?

Butterer · 23/09/2020 19:19

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