Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan
Reload this Page >

[Speculation] Should AS Consider Rebranding "Chester"?

[Speculation] Should AS Consider Rebranding "Chester"?

Old Jun 17, 20, 11:55 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 237
[Speculation] Should AS Consider Rebranding "Chester"?

Today, two companies announced that brands will be discontinued because of racism. Quaker Oats is discontinuing Aunt Jemima brand. She used to look like a Black servant but later her picture was changed so that she looked like a housewife to me. Mars is discontinuing Uncle Ben, a rice brand.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/busin...nge/index.html
https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/busin...ist/index.html

Should Alaska Airlines get rid of Chester because it's racism? Could it be a mockery of indigenous peoples, particularly Inuit? I like Chester's looks but I also don't want to unknowingly be a bigot. Is taking off Chester reducing exposure to the Inuit population and, therefore, is not a good idea? Or is Chester a symbol of mocking Inuit people and suggesting that their totem poles are just clownish and primitive ideas, inferior to the rest of America?

Does George Floyd's death have a secondary effect of killing Chester off Alaska Airlines' tails?
A318neo is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 12:39 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 5,466
How is the picture on the tail mocking indigenous peoples? It’s very respectfully and tastefully done and depicts someone you may see in a community in Alaska even today. It’s not mocking. He was never given a name that is rooted in racism... or given any name at all actually. Chester is the name you and others have unofficially given him - and even that isn’t a racially charged name. His picture is a depiction of any of the indigenous peoples of the state of Alaska. I’m confused how that could be racist. His face is a source of pride to the people of Alaska Airlines. It represents strength and perseverance - something the airline has drawn on over the years. That’s my take on it.
AS Flyer is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 1:00 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 237
Chester is as racist as Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben has a picture of a Black (presumably African-American) man. Is that racist? The company, Mars, thinks so. If that is true, then Chester is racist.

Other examples besides Uncle Ben and Aunt Jermima might be Eskimo Pie ice cream, Frito Bandito mascot for Fritos, Miss Chiquita of Chiquita Bananas.

I am undecided at this point.
A318neo is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 1:24 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Programs: United Gold (Million Miler), Alaska MVP
Posts: 193
Once you start down the cancel culture rabbit hole you never climb out. Aunt Jemima was a REAL woman who was a paid icon of Quaker Oats. She didn't seem to think it was racist but white millennials know better.
buzglyd is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 1:32 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Over the Bay Bridge, CA
Programs: Jumbo mas
Posts: 31,878
Originally Posted by buzglyd View Post
Once you start down the cancel culture rabbit hole you never climb out. Aunt Jemima was a REAL woman who was a paid icon of Quaker Oats. She didn't seem to think it was racist but white millennials know better.
Origins are a character from a minstrel show.
Eastbay1K is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 2:13 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Over the Bay Bridge, CA
Programs: Jumbo mas
Posts: 31,878
Originally Posted by A318neo View Post
Chester is as racist as Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben has a picture of a Black (presumably African-American) man. Is that racist? The company, Mars, thinks so. If that is true, then Chester is racist.

Other examples besides Uncle Ben and Aunt Jermima might be Eskimo Pie ice cream, Frito Bandito mascot for Fritos, Miss Chiquita of Chiquita Bananas.

I am undecided at this point.
Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, and likely others, have roots in a subservient post-slavery culture. There don't appear to be any issues of subjugation in the depiction of Chester.

If Chester were, say, depicted as passed out drunk on Fourth Avenue (downtown Anchorage) I would take issue.
AS Flyer, Palal, CZBB and 3 others like this.
Eastbay1K is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 2:26 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MFR
Programs: United, Alaska
Posts: 409
Chester is racist? Did someone uncover inappropriate old posts on his twitter account?

In all seriousness, I'm certain this conversation is happening in Alaska's marketing department right now.
Temedar, evergrn and be_rettSEA like this.
PDXpress is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 2:33 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 5,466
Originally Posted by A318neo View Post
Chester is as racist as Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben has a picture of a Black (presumably African-American) man. Is that racist? The company, Mars, thinks so. If that is true, then Chester is racist.

Other examples besides Uncle Ben and Aunt Jermima might be Eskimo Pie ice cream, Frito Bandito mascot for Fritos, Miss Chiquita of Chiquita Bananas.

I am undecided at this point.
interesting take on an icon that even the indigenous people of Alaska have embraced and take pride in. The face doesn’t represent hatred or negative stereotypes - nor does the name... cause he doesn’t have one. I’m not sure you could say the same about the face of a brand that was rooted in slavery (Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima). Is the face on the tail of Hawaiian Airlines planes also racist?
AS Flyer is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 2:33 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SFO, mostly
Posts: 1,910
I remember in the late 80s there was a huge backlash when Alaska proposed removing the Eskimo from the tail and replace it with some kind of stylized mountain.

I agree with AS Flyer—the Eskimo on the tail is just acknowledging the heritage of the home state much like the face on Hawaiian tails.
AS Flyer, wrp96, NoLaGent and 1 others like this.
sltlyamusd is online now  
Old Jun 17, 20, 2:44 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: BNA (Nashville)
Programs: HH Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 4,059
Is it now the assumption that if you have a non-white person on a logo its automatically racist?

Because I thought Aunt Jemima (who's history is so baked into slavery) and Uncle Ben's issues were the backstories of the fake people they represent.

Unless there is some racist backstory to the man depicted on the Alaska plane tails, why would the fact that the man was indigineous be, in and of itself, a racist thing?

Why do you think its racist?
AS Flyer, Adam1222 and wrp96 like this.
bitterproffit is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 2:56 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Seattle
Programs: AS MM, MVPGold75k, Hilton Diamond, Hertz Presidents Circle
Posts: 1,364
I remember being in a group of users that were surveyed about potential new logos and the livery on AS planes. All of the group I was in firmly liked Chester and the crisp AS logo on the main body, we did not think it limits AS to just the state of Alaska or even the west coast and pushed back with the example of Southwest as an airline that is not viewed as only flying in the southwest. I also recall a blog about who it is on the tails of AS planes. It is an interesting read https://blog.alaskaair.com/alaska-ai...is-the-eskimo/ So, even though I am not an Alaska Native, and I am from Seattle, I still like Chester being on the tail. During good weather we often sit on our back deck and love to spot Chester as he flies south over our house just prior to beginning the decent to SEA.
ctporter is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 3:00 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Programs: B6 Mosaic, SPG LT Platinum, UA SIlver, VX eleVAte Gold (RIP)
Posts: 4,623
The better question would be whether appropriating the image to make money is actually benefiting the people it is depicting. Are any Native American people reflected in AS's leadership team or board and are their economic benefits going to the group of people represented on the tail? If yes, then there is not much of an issue. If no, then AS has a bigger issue as they are only using the image as a token to benefit AS's bottom line.

There is not a great history in the US of Native Americans benefiting from much anything the government and corporations have done to them over the centuries.
sfozrhfco is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 3:11 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: PDX
Programs: AS MVP Gold 75K
Posts: 2,777
I had a reply to this nonsense typed up, but Alaska Airlines can explain this much better (and in a much friendlier tone) than I can: https://blog.alaskaair.com/alaska-ai...is-the-eskimo/
dgreen12, RAD_PDX and Cliff358 like this.
Chugach is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 3:12 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 5,416
If Inuit people think it's racist, take it off. If they don't, we others can enjoy arguing over beers about it, but our thoughts are pretty much just opinions with no weight.
Does anyone want to say that African-Americans should appreciate their visibility being heightened by Aunt Jemima or Uncle Ben? I mean now, not when these brands were founded. Time for them to go. And who's wringing their hands raw over this anyway? Might as well bemoan the loss of Pepsodent or Serutan or any other of the hundreds of old brands that have bitten the dust.
rickg523 is offline  
Old Jun 17, 20, 3:51 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: LAX
Programs: AS MVPG, IHG Spire Elite
Posts: 899
Originally Posted by sfozrhfco View Post
The better question would be whether appropriating the image to make money is actually benefiting the people it is depicting. Are any Native American people reflected in AS's leadership team or board and are their economic benefits going to the group of people represented on the tail? If yes, then there is not much of an issue. If no, then AS has a bigger issue as they are only using the image as a token to benefit AS's bottom line.

There is not a great history in the US of Native Americans benefiting from much anything the government and corporations have done to them over the centuries.
This is absolutely it - to me it's less about the image itself (certainly iconic, very much representative of their namesake, and obviously seems to be supported by their customers for the most part), and more about AS' overall support for the native communities from which it is leveraging for their own gain (and that of shareholders). Unless the community that is represented by this image has problems with it, there's probably not a good reason they need to rebrand the entire fleet and redesign their logos/branding, etc. They may want to take a close look at the community investments they've made since they adopted this logo and commit to doing even more, though.
be_rettSEA is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: