Arizona student Reagan Escudé was voted the country's national headache of a person when she argued that the racist caricature was a depiction of the American Dream.
Trigger Warning: The story has details of racism and slavery that readers may find disturbing
Just as the United States broke the national record for the highest number of new cases in a single day, President Donald Trump's campaign decided it would be a good idea to pack a stadium full of students in Arizona for a rally. Though that should have been the worst part of this whole thing—it wasn't. After delivering an address to the students, President Trump opened the floor to a group of students who all wanted to share their support for him. One of those students was Reagan Escudé. It was bad enough that she was there at all, defying social distancing guidelines, but she also decided to lament on "cancel culture."
“Aunt Jemima was canceled… She was the picture of the American dream. She was a freed slave who went on to be the face of the pancake syrup." -- A student at Trump’s event on Tuesday pic.twitter.com/jgONhiXiza— Peter Wade 🤦♂️ (@brooklynmutt) June 24, 2020
Who did she claim was worst hit by "cancel culture" and all those who have engaged in it? Aunt Jemima. Yes, the racist caricature on the maple syrup bottle. Canceling Aunt Jemima, she suggested, was to cancel what could be achieved through the American Dream. Before you facepalm, this is what she said: "Aunt Jemima was canceled... She was the picture of the American Dream. She was a freed slave who went on to be the face of the pancake syrup." Let's facepalm in unison, shall we? Not only is the "American Dream" by and large a false narrative, but that also wasn't the story of Aunt Jemima (a fictitious character!).
The character is based on the enslaved "Mammy" archetype, a trope for a Black woman who worked in a white family and nursed the family's children. It is a racist stereotype rooted in America's terrible history of slavery. Kimberly Wallace-Sanders writes in her essay Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory, "Aunt Jemima embodied an idealized post-Reconstruction fantasy of domesticity inspired by old Southern 'happy slave' hospitality, and revealed a deep need to redeem the antebellum South." When the brand decided to get rid of its current packaging, they weren't canceling the American Dream, they were acknowledging their contribution to a complex system of racism in the United States.
As you would assume, the clip of Reagan spewing right-wing vomit on anything possible went absolutely viral on Twitter. Perhaps it was only fitting that she, like her beloved Aunt Jemima, was CANCELLED. Yup. Users on the social media platform came for her with jokes, memes, and more. What college is claiming this young lady? Soledad O'Brien posted. Step forward, please. Another Twitter user pointed out, This isn’t about Nancy Green or the 'American Dream.' Green’s family is STILL trying to get the wages that were due to her before she died. This is about this broad’s fantasies of a subservient black woman cooking in her kitchen being crushed because Aunt Jem ain’t on the box. Green is the woman whose face is seen on Aunt Jemima products. Perhaps it is time for you to get your nose out of Fox News and focus instead on those college textbooks, Reagan.