See the results of this poll: Jemima is…

Respondents: 49 (This poll is closed)

  • …inappropriate for use in the U.S. because of racial/social concerns. : 8 (16%)
  • …fine for another American to use but racial/social concerns are too much for me. : 4 (8%)
  • …okay to use outside the U.S. : 4 (8%)
  • …a cute name and I don’t understand the hesitancy associated with it. : 20 (41%)
  • …not my style but it shouldn’t be “forbidden” either. : 9 (18%)
  • …not my style and I don’t really care whether it’s “forbidden.”: 4 (8%)

As you suspected, the issue isn’t the pancakes. It’s that in the US, “[name]Jemima[/name]” was once a slang term for the sort of subservient black housekeeper. I believe “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]” was a term that came out of minstrel shows and was picked up by the pancake people in the late 19th century.

This is a really iffy one in my opinion. I know you’ll get lots of responses that this issue shouldnt matter and it’s distant history and we need to reclaim the name. But really, the sad truth is it wasn’t all that long ago that this name carried a lot of really ugly stereotypes. It’s a beautiful name, but there will be people when you say “This is my daughter [name]Jemima[/name]” who have that gut-reaction and think of the really troubling history of the term.

I guess I don’t love the name enough to make it worth that baggage. So for me, not “forbidden” but I would never use it.

I’d like to think that it’s been long enough that this name could be revived, but it seems like there is still some hesitancy around using it. I wouldn’t mind seeing it come back because I think it’s a pretty enough name, but I wouldn’t use it simply because it’s not my style.

Personally I don’t understand the hesitancy to use the name. There is the syrup, but the name is beautiful and if someone were to name their daughter [name]Jemima[/name], it would be obvious that they had no negative racial associations with the name so I wouldn’t see it as being offensive or off-putting. In fact I think it would show that the person was open-minded and more accepting. But that’s just my opinion, maybe others see it differently?

I’ve read all about the racial stereotypes & have come to the conclusion that I still love this name. My reasons for using it would be meaning ([name]Dove[/name]), Biblical connection ([name]Job[/name] 42:14-15), sound of the name, & nicknames ([name]Jem[/name], [name]Jemi[/name], [name]Jemma[/name], [name]Mima[/name], [name]Mia[/name]) some of which are close enough to honor my dad. So, for me the good outweighs the (possible) bad. I say possible, because most people say that they don’t have a problem with the stereotypes but they are afraid that others would. So, it seems to me that this name is being put aside because a lot of people are afraid that others will have an issue with it when it’s possible that nobody does have a problem with the name. That’s just my take on it. :slight_smile: I’m still a few years from having kids, but [name]Jemima[/name] has been on my list for a few years & I have no plans of taking her off! :slight_smile:

P.S. No maple syrup is going to stop me from using a name I love! :smiley:

I don’t know… I think the choice whether to “reclaim” a name should go to those who are directly affected by racial stereotypes.

I am a British berry who had no idea until now about the racial issues surrounding this name. It wouldn’t be enough to put me off. I adore the name [name]Jemima[/name] but it has fell down my list because of worries about the nicknames [name]Jem[/name]/[name]Jemma[/name], which is quite trashy and dated in my area.

However, I find [name]Jemima[/name] adorable. It’s well within the top 150 names in the UK.

[name]Jemima[/name] is 100% okay to use. A while back I asked several of my black friends if they would be offended by the name [name]Jemima[/name]. None of them knew what I was talking about. It’s long past time to move forward and let go of rotten stereotypes. I don’t understand why people are still holding onto such baggage. [name]Jemima[/name] is a beautiful Biblical name and deserves to be seen as such.

I’m another [name]Brit[/name] so had no idea about the negative connotations surrounding the name in the US. It’s fairly well used in the UK,so I was initially confused about the negative reactions [name]Jemima[/name] got on here!

I don’t think the UK has a comparable name in terms of racist issues (that anyone is likely to use as a first name),so I’m not sure whether its “forbidden” or not. For me,it’s just a name with a long history.

If you’re truly interested in the understanding hesitancy then you should read up on African American history. Names like [name]Jemima[/name], [name]Jezebel[/name], and even [name]George[/name] were used as derogatory titles for [name]Black[/name] people. And people that say “it was a long time ago” clearly have no idea what they’re talking about. My own mother went to a segregated school.

If someone is uncomfortable with the name, then so be it. You can’t tell them how to feel and you don’t know if it is a personal issue for them. If you are comfortable using it, then go ahead. But you need to be confident about it for your child’s sake. They’ll be uncomfortable with their name if you are.

I think it’s a beautiful name. I personally wouldn’t use it (or [name]Jezebel[/name]) but I’d never discourage anyone else

[name]Jemima[/name] is a gorgeous name. [name]How[/name] can so many people be locked into the idea that if you use the name that the world will fall in and the child will have a burden to bear. Balderdash! Step out into the 21st century and welcome the beautiful Biblical name [name]Jemima[/name] with open arms and throw those old stereotypes OUT THE WINDOW.


From Wikipedia: “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] (US) a black woman who “kisses up” to whites, a “sellout,” female counterpart of Uncle [name]Tom[/name].” [1]

“The term “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]” is sometimes used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory label “Uncle [name]Tom[/name]”. In this context, the slang term “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]” falls within the “Mammy archetype”, and refers to a friendly black woman who is perceived as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interests of whites.” [2]

I think@nat108 and @r_j, had great responses about the names image and who should reclaim it. Bottom line is you can name your child whatever you want but this is a name that will probably always be controversial in the US because of the connotations and the fact that it’s still a popular product. Personally I would never use it but I don’t think it’s a crime for someone else.

1 2

Thanks for the great feedback.