An Australian dairy brand has made the decision to rebrand, citing that the name has racist connotations. The name "Coon" was inspired by Edward William Coon, who patented a unique cheese-ripening process that's used to make the brand's products, according to the its site.
The standalone word "coon" references an extremely racist caricature that was popularized during the enslavement of Black people in America. This stereotype labeled Black individuals as "crazy, lazy, and subhuman," the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia explains.
The company made the decision to change its name to eliminate any ties to such racist undertones. A statement by their parent company Saputo Dairy Australia reads: "one of our basic principles as an organization is to treat people with respect and without discrimination and we will not condone behavior that goes against this."
The company also explained they are not only taking into account the problematic history, but that they are also considering how to change their name while still honoring the work of Edward William Coon:
We performed a careful and diligent review of a sensitive situation involving one of our brands. We wanted to ensure we listened to all the concerns surrounding the COON brand name, while also considering comments from consumers who cherish the brand and recognize the origin of its founder Edward William Coon, which they feel connected to.
Ultimately, they "are working to develop a new brand name that will honor the brand-affinity felt by our valued consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives." This news follows similar rebranding announcements by Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's, and Red Skins and Chicos sweets.
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