I scream, you scream, we all scream because things are terrifying.
But we’re working on a softer, creamier society.
And for one ice cream company in New England, justice is the flavor of the month.
Hence, Brigham’s Ice Cream — a company started in 1914 — has nixed the name of its unjust “Just Jimmies” flavor.
The new name: Just Sprinkles.
— Melissa Gorman (@lisgorman) November 12, 2020
The change actually occurred before the end of the year, and just so you know: “Jimmies” is the Boston/New England word for chocolate sprinkles (and sometimes, sprinkles in general).
As it turns out, some perceive the term as problematic.
The brown color and the perceived allusion to Jim Crow, the title character in a well-known minstrel song of the 1830s, gave rise to the argument that the term was racist. That debate may be even harder to end than the debate over who invented chocolate sprinkles as an ice cream topping and who gave it the potentially racist name.
As reported by Snopes, “No valid reason exists to suppose that ‘jimmies’ carries a racist meaning or had a racially-charged origin. However, it’s difficult to definitively disprove the claim because the term’s entry into the English language is downright murky.”
1923-established New York candy company Just Born claims it came up with the “jimmies” distinction — and chocolate sprinkles, too, though newspaper ads from 1921 advertise a similar chocolaty delight.
Per an archived webpage, Brigham appears to agree the name was born of Just Born:
In 1930 James Bartholomew was lucky enough to acquire a job at Just Born, Inc. Bartholomew operated a machine that produced Born’s latest invention, tiny hot-dog shaped chocolate sprinkly things. But what to call them? Born briefly pondered that question before deciding to accredit the name to the producer, Jimmy Bartholomew. The new product was named JIMMIES, which is still a trademarked name, but no longer made by Just Born.The dictionary definition for JIMMIES used to be “decorative things.” They have also been called toppettes, shots, fancies, trimettes and sprinkles.
So why, then, did Brigham’s junk Jimmy?
Hood — which purchased the company in 2008 — explained in an email to Patch:
While the origins of the word ‘jimmies’ is unclear, Brigham’s made the decision to change the name to ensure the brand reflects our values and meets our consumers’ expectations. Just Sprinkles remains the same flavor/recipe that Brigham’s fans know and love.
So next time you’re in New England and wanting a cool, refreshing treat, take heart in knowing you’re swallowing sweets without racism sprinkled about.
But if your bowl gets bumped and that deliciousness dumped, don’t blame Newton’s law of motion — we’ve progressed beyond it:
Newton’s laws are an archaic, overly complicated way of codifying classical mechanics; it’s really one law: F=MA. I can’t think of a better way to “ decenter whiteness” than teaching early modern European history. https://t.co/X377bh6mIb
— Alpaca De Guerra (@AlpacaDeGuerra) March 10, 2021
And if our present motion and the gravity of it all are making it too hard to keep up, scream not; according to Newton, we don’t have much more motion left:
— Alex Parker (@alexparker1984) March 11, 2021
Some might say that seems in line with prophecy from the King James Version.
But to hear many talk of religion these days, don’t call him James — he’s Just Jimmie.
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