Flat White

Bye-bye, oh sweet Eskimo Pie

8 October 2020

5:56 PM

8 October 2020

5:56 PM

Stop right there and put down that chocolate-coated ice cream treat! It’s not just sugar that is dripping from those delicious rivulets of vanilla confection. Racism is apparently blended into the recipe too. 

Just when you thought we’d seen off racist ‘Coon’ cheese, followed by the equally racist ‘Smarter White Milk’, it turns out there’s still more racism lurking on the dairs shelf.  

In another case of corporate virtue signalling run amok, venerable Aussie ice cream maker Peters has now dumped its allegedly racist ‘Eskimo Pie’ brand a favourite of generations to rename it ‘Polar Pie’.  

The ice cream treat is just the latest in a long line of familiar consumer products targeted by activists determined to eradicate all ‘oppressive’ or ‘derogatory’ packaging.    

Eskimo Pies have been with us since 1923 – long before the days of the domestic freezer – bringing chilled refreshment during the long afternoons of our sweltering summers. 

And ice cream lovers in North America have been enjoying a similar treat – also named ‘Eskimo Pie’ – for just as long. But that brand has also been forced to rename itself. 

‘Eskimo’ is used in Alaska to refer to indigenous Inuit and Yupik people. But the enforcers of political correctness insist it smacks of racism, colonialism, and non-native oppression.  

At one level, it is easy to dismiss activist campaigns aimed at forcing out hidden racism from the aisles of our grocery stores as the comical antics of a few joyless anthropologists.   

But as part of the ‘cancel culture’ phenomenon sweeping the English-speaking world, they should be taken more seriously.  

And it is no defence to claim that those things were said or done long ago by people who actually thought they were doing good at the time. Cultural sin is, well, cultural sin.  

So we have seen the owners of dairy products, lollies, sports teams, household detergents, and lunch foods drop to their knees to repent and promise to mend their wicked ways.  

Of course, any manufacturer is entitled to rebrand their products and update advertising images that have fallen out of fashion. It is equally important to fight racism and violence. 

But cancel culture forces change upon businesses, threatening them with costly campaigns that can drive away customers and destroy profits and jobs if they fail to bow down.  

Fear of being denounced, trolled on social media, and even forced to close down altogether, compels business owners to cave in to pressure from anti-racism activists.     

Faced with such a campaign, it’s no wonder that the resolve of ice cream producer, Peters, has melted just as fast as an ice cream treat on a hot Aussie summer’s day.  

We can smile about food packaging, and even enjoy tucking into a Polar Pie. But cancel culture threatens jobs, livelihoods, and reputations. We ignore those dangers at our peril. 

Peter Kurti is Director of the Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society program at the Centre for Independent Studies, and the author of Cancelled! How ideological cleansing threatens Australia.   

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