Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Burgers in Blackface

Anti-Black Restaurants Then and Now

2019
Author:

Naa Oyo A. Kwate

Burgers in Blackface

A powerful account, and rebuke, of historical and contemporary racism in restaurant branding

Aunt Jemima is the face of pancake mix. Uncle Ben sells rice. Chef Rastus shills for Cream of Wheat. Stereotyped Black faces and bodies have long promoted retail food products that are household names. Much less visible to the public are the numerous restaurants that deploy unapologetically racist logos, themes, and architecture. These marketing concepts, which center nostalgia for a racist past and commemoration of our racist present, reveal the deeply entrenched American investment in anti-blackness. Drawing on wide-ranging sources from the late 1800s to the present, Burgers in Blackface gives a powerful account, and rebuke, of historical and contemporary racism in restaurant branding.

Aunt Jemima is the face of pancake mix. Uncle Ben sells rice. Chef Rastus shills for Cream of Wheat. Stereotyped Black faces and bodies have long promoted retail food products that are household names. Much less visible to the public are the numerous restaurants that deploy unapologetically racist logos, themes, and architecture. These marketing concepts, which center nostalgia for a racist past and commemoration of our racist present, reveal the deeply entrenched American investment in anti-blackness. Drawing on wide-ranging sources from the late 1800s to the present, Burgers in Blackface gives a powerful account, and rebuke, of historical and contemporary racism in restaurant branding.

Burgers in Blackface

Naa Oyo A. Kwate is associate professor of Africana studies and human ecology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

About This Book