Is Jemima racist?

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] guys,

I’ve seen that [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] may have some links/is a racist stereotype? Is it okay to have on my list/signature? If so what would you pair it with (I like it with [name_f]Alice[/name_f]).


What? I had no idea. I really hope not because it’s on my own list. It reminds me of the puddle duck by [name_f]Beatrix[/name_f] [name_m]Potter[/name_m].

[name_f]Jemima[/name_f] [name_f]Alice[/name_f] is lovely. I haven’t found any middles for [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] myself yet. Nothing with m sounds as [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] already has that covered?

Thank you. I think it’s mostly a American sterotype but I don’t know how far reaching it is.

I think it’s American too - I’m Australian and have literally never heard of the racist association until Nameberry. It reminds me of [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] Puddle-duck too, or the doll [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] on Play School (Australian children’s show).

Maybe if you live in US consider the stereotype, but the US is not the world and unless you live there the opinions and associations of Americans are irrelevant.

In [name_u]America[/name_u], probably. In other countries - not so much, at least as far as I know.

Yes, it would be offensive to some people here in the US. It refers to the Aunt [name_f]Jemima[/name_f]/[name_f]Mammie[/name_f] type slave associations.

I don’t think so, no. During the slave era, it was apparently a popular name and Aunt [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] was a stereotype for African American women, but I fail to see how it makes the name racist. It’s a genuine name, and we don’t have Aunt [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] in the UK so I may be biased.

I think [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] has a completely different outlook outside of the States. I think of [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] as an upper class, white name (because of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), but obviously that’s a different story across the pond.

I’d never heard of the racist associations with [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] until I joined the forums as well. I live in [name_f]England[/name_f] so I don’t have that connection; and I had a friend at primary school called [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] and nobody made any comments about her name being racist - the only comments she had on her name was the associations with [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] Puddleduck. However, I’m not from the US so I don’t know what the general perspective of [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] is where you live.

Most people in [name_u]America[/name_u] link [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] to the pancake brand, whose symbol is a black woman that some people see as a racial stereotype. It has a lot to do with the history of racism in the US specifically, so I don’t think that association holds the same gravity elsewhere as it does in the United States. If you live somewhere else, you should be fine.

No. Internet forums seem to be the only place where [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] is controversial.

As far as I’m aware, [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] has racist connotations in the US but not outside of it. I’m Canadian and have never heard of the stereotype or that it’s racist before Nameberry. I’ve asked some of my friends (in [name_f]Canada[/name_f]) if they see a problem with it and no one did; when I said it has racist connotations to some people no one knew what they were. We do have the maple syrup brand but it’s not that strong an association and wouldn’t make the name unusable- like how people still name their children [name_m]Henry[/name_m] even with the chocolate bar Oh [name_m]Henry[/name_m]. To me it feels like a very British name, I quite like it myself.

[name_f]Jemima[/name_f] is a beautiful Biblical name, but in the US, it was one of the classical names conferred by slaveowners on their slaves BECAUSE it was not commonly used for whites. As such, it became a “slave name” along with other Biblical or classical names such as [name_f]Keziah[/name_f] and [name_u]Cato[/name_u]. The original Aunt [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] featured on pancake mix was a racist stereotype of a black “mammy”. For more on the history of Aunt [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] and other stereotypical African-American figures and why they’re racist, read this piece from The Atlantic:

Of course [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] doesn’t have the same connotation and history in [name_f]England[/name_f] or [name_f]Canada[/name_f] because there was no slavery there. And it’s a name with deep history beyond the relation to racism. While it’s a lovely name, white OR black American parents who are uncomfortable using it have good reason.

I’m from the UK and I’ve never heard of this connotation at all and have genuinely no idea why it would be racist? It can’t be that far-reaching then

It really depends on where you are. Based on your comments, I’m gathering you’re not from [name_u]America[/name_u]. I think [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] is one of those names where, in [name_u]America[/name_u], most people would hesitate to use it. If I met someone from another country named [name_f]Jemima[/name_f], I wouldn’t think it was odd, but coming from an American, it would be questionable.

I love the sound of [name_f]Jemima[/name_f], and since my name is [name_u]Jamie[/name_u], I wish I could use it because it has similar sounds. However, since I’m American, I’m avoiding it at all costs.

I live in [name_u]America[/name_u] and never thought [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] was a racist name. I think it should be perfectly usable. Most people I know would never have such a comment. I don’t know if MY race has anything to do with it. I am half black, half white, not African-American, mostly British, though I don’t live in [name_m]Britain[/name_m]. None of my parents see anything wrong with the name [name_f]Jemima[/name_f], which I liked back when I was in kindergarten .

If I met a non-American named [name_f]Jemima[/name_f], I wouldn’t think it was racist in the least. If I met an American named [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] (I’m American), I wouldn’t think that she or her parents were racist either. It’s less that the name is racist and more that the name has some racial baggage here. “Aunt [name_f]Jemima[/name_f]” is kind of like a female equivalent of “Uncle [name_m]Tom[/name_m],” except [name_m]Tom[/name_m] isn’t sullied because it’s a more common name.

[name_f]Jemima[/name_f] makes me think of [name_f]Beatrix[/name_f] [name_m]Potter[/name_m] and pretty English girls. I really love it, even if I would probably stick to [name_f]Gemma[/name_f] on my side of the pond.

[name_f]Edit[/name_f]: she’s not massively famous, but I do wonder if [name_f]Jemima[/name_f] [name_m]Kirke[/name_m] is helping give the name more of a whimsical English image in the US.

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