As one product brand after another drops like dominoes, it has become something of a game to guess what’s next. My guess is “Chinese checkers,” which did not originate in China and is, hence, somehow offensive to the Chinese. (RELATED: First Aunt Jemima, then Uncle Ben. Is ‘Cream of Wheat’ next?)
But it’s become clear that a reason is no longer needed to change a brand name to make the product less insensitive in these racially-aware times. That is the case with the Eskimo Pie. The New York Post reports that Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, which owns the naming rights of chocolate-covered ice cream confection, has been considering changing its name for some time. The company’s head of marketing released a statement reading in part:
We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory. This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.
That’s all very well and good except for one small detail the company is overlooking. That is the fact that there is nothing racist or in any other way demeaning about the term Eskimo. It is the name of the indigenous peoples who have traditionally lived in the far-north region of the globe extending from Siberia through Alaska and Canada to Greenland. It is also the name of the family of languages they speak. In the Barrow dialect of Eskimo, with which I have a passing acquaintance, the word for house is iglu. There are some thirty words for snow.
If Dreyer’s wants to go to the trouble and expense of rebranding a product whose name is already harmless, I recommend they give the ice cream bar a name that will rankle the statue topplers. I suggest they call it the “American Pie.”