Petition Calls Trader Joe’s Packaging ‘Racist
An online petition is circulating that calls for supermarket chain Trader Joe’s to change the labels on some of its food products, saying that the labels are racist.
According to CNN, a high school senior started the petition earlier in July, citing the labels on its Chinese food products, “Trader Ming’s,” its Mexican food products “Trader Jose’ “ and its Middle Eastern food products “Arabian Joe’s” as stereotypical.
“We demand that Trader Joe’s remove racist branding and packaging from its stores. The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” the Change.org petition reads. “The Trader Joe’s branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures – it presents ‘Joe’ as the default “normal” and the other characters falling outside of it.”
So far, more than 2,200 people have signed the petition. The chain responded saying that it was already updating its labeling and replacing names with the brand name “Trader Joe’s.”
“While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day,” said Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel in a statement.
The news follows moves by Quaker Foods to change the branding of Aunt Jemima food products, which were criticized as racially stereotypical.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Quaker said in a statement last month. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations.”