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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:
TheFormerPorpentinaScamander · 23/09/2020 20:35

The OP even posted the thread with the racist stereotype in it.

The original article didn't really explain why it was racist though, just that a black man in a bow tie was a racist stereotype. It was posters then explaining on the thread about the meaning behind the 'Uncle' and 'Aunt' that made me understand what the stereotype actually was.

QueenofAsgard · 23/09/2020 20:37

And that's another modern example of misrepresenting what people say, jumping to the wrong conclusions etc.

No, that's what you said. I misrepresented nothing. Actually you have. You actually made up a scenario where people might not buy this product because of comments the OP made and then used your made up scenario to justify still berating her even after she apologised and even asked for the thread to be deleted. You want to be able to continue berating and shaming her and as I said that's just how it is now. This kind of behaviour is acceptable and justified as you have done.

Eckhart · 23/09/2020 20:38


Don't be purposefully ignorant just to comfort your own prejudice and white privilege

What the hell are you on about? I'm glad Uncle Ben's are changing their branding, and suggesting that perhaps the same should be done with the Aunt Bessie's image as it represents the 'a woman belongs in the kitchen' image. Why are you calling me purposefully ignorant, prejudiced and privileged?

chomalungma · 23/09/2020 20:40

No, that's what you said. I misrepresented nothing

I said that I bet there are some people who will boycott this product now because they have read this thread.

You said that I was concerned about the drop in the profits.

What did you base that conclusion on?

QueenofAsgard · 23/09/2020 20:41

So you're defending the possible fall in profits of Mars Food when you tell the OP off then? That's what you're concerned about and are justifying telling the OP off on those grounds?

Do you see the question marks?

BiBabbles · 23/09/2020 20:41

A few corporations, businesses and organizations have decided to rebrand some things. Happens all the time, particularly when going through rough times and want some publicity.

Whether any of the ones listed have anything to do any particular ideas of morality is possible, but though in some of the louder cases questionable. I mean, Quaker Oats is still using a name they don't have any actual association with purely because they think it's a good marketing image. I really struggle to think they actually give a fuck. They may use the complaints or listening as a reason, but people complain at companies about a lot of things, and many of them only "listen" when there is a lot more involved.

However ethical, it's not censorship - nothing was banned or criminalized.

roarfeckingroarr · 23/09/2020 20:42

It would never have crossed my mind that Uncle Ben's was problematic.

chomalungma · 23/09/2020 20:43

Do you see the question marks

That was a very poorly worded question.

My comment was in response to your comment about boycott and cancel culture.

QueenofAsgard · 23/09/2020 20:44

That was a very poorly worded question.

In what way? Grin

drspouse · 23/09/2020 20:45


I didn’t know any of this, literally just thought it was called uncle bens with no real meaning behind it!

And this is why people say "oh there's no racism here" or "oh they didn't mean it like that".
hoven · 23/09/2020 20:47


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.

If they have racist connotations then yes.
hoven · 23/09/2020 20:48


I didn’t know any of this, literally just thought it was called uncle bens with no real meaning behind it!

Maybe you should do some research next time before running onto MN to start a thread
Nellle · 23/09/2020 20:54

The real "snowflakes" are the people getting furious that Uncle Ben's is changing its name.

Why so angry? Why does it hurt you?

DolphinsAndNemesis · 23/09/2020 20:57

Referring to an older black man as "uncle" continued long after slavery ended in the U.S. It was as racist as calling a younger black man "boy."

People in the U.K. read To Kill a Mockingbird. Remember when Atticus said that Tom Robinson was "not an old Uncle"? What do you think he meant? (And yes, Atticus was also a product of his time and place. He used racist language too.)

IHateCoronavirus · 23/09/2020 20:57


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.

Don’t feel bad op. I’ve learned something by reading this thread. Like any others I thought the brand was showing a black man called Ben who sold rice, sauces etc. no more no less. The thread being here has opened my eyes.
IHateCoronavirus · 23/09/2020 21:00

It is interesting to learn that “uncle” and “aunt” can be derogatory terms. In many cultures they are seen as terms of respect. I live in Turkey for a good few years and to not use uncle and aunt or indeed older brother or older sister would be seen as very disrespectful.

Keepithidden · 23/09/2020 21:02

They're brave to do this, it's been years since Robertson's Jam stopped using the gollywog, and still people are angry about that!

Behaviour change takes generations...

Charles11 · 23/09/2020 21:07

Similarly, in south eastAsia, uncle and Aunty are always used as a respectful title for any older adults.

In this case, some people are finding it offensive and the company has decided to rebrand. Good for them. It affects nobody really except those involved in the rebranding.
I don’t understand why people are outraged.

RunningNinja79 · 23/09/2020 21:13

DH told me about it earlier and I am another person who was not aware of the racist connotations the term Uncle has. I just thought it was your parents brother or a close family friend of your parents. My first thought when he told me was I bet I find out more on Mumsnet so here I am Grin

I totally understand why it needed to be rebranded and think it can only be a good thing. I am surprised it has taken so long. I vaguely remember the golliwogs being removed when I was a child so that must have been the 30+ years ago?

Butterer · 23/09/2020 21:16

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iminaglasscaseofemotion · 23/09/2020 21:19

I honestly had no idea this was offensive. Genuinely thought it was the same type of branding as Aunt Bessie's.
What I can't understand is, why these things have been kept on the shelves until now!

kursaalflyer · 23/09/2020 21:21

I for one am glad op didn't just Google it. It has never crossed my consciousness that Uncle Ben was anything but the owner of a rice plantation somewhere who sold the stuff in packets. Now I know, I am glad that steps are being taken to rebrand and am only surprised that it's taken this long.

MrsAvocet · 23/09/2020 21:27

I have to admit that until I read this thread I wouldn't have considered Uncle or Aunt to be anything other than a parent's sibling or an affectionate name for an older family friend so I would have wondered what all the fuss was about. But having read the explanation then yes, I can completely see what the objection is and am both embarrassed that I didn't know, and shocked that it has taken til 2020 for this to be changed.

Timshortforthalia · 23/09/2020 21:34

It's okay if you can't see the racism. We cant all see everything. We dont all know everything.

You can hate racism but also be blind to racism. But just cause you dont see the racism, it doesnt mean it's not racist.

If something is called racist, then cancelled, challenged, rebranded and you dont get it, take time to listen and research before you make your mind up.

If you do that and change your mind, then a million times well done you. That's what the OP has done here and it's awesome.

If you now know the background about Uncle Ben's, and still cant see the racism, then you're a racist. See also using the words woke, snowflake and cancel culture. Oh, and now Aunt Bessies Hmm

Butterer · 23/09/2020 21:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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