Online petition calls on Trader Joe’s to change “racist packaging”

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“The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of” Joe “which belies an exotic story that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” reads the petition launched two weeks ago by a Californian high school student.

He cites “Trader Ming’s”, the grocery chain’s label for its Chinese products, “Arabian Joe” for its Middle Eastern products, “Trader José” for its Mexican products, and a handful of others like examples.

“The Trader Joe’s brand is racist because it exoticizes other cultures – it portrays ‘Joe’ as the ‘normal’ by default and other characters outside of it,” the petition states.

The grocery chain, which opened in Pasadena, Calif., In 1967, said it was already “updating the order labels and replacing all variations with the Trader Joe’s name.” .

“While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a mild attempt at inclusion, we recognize that it can now have the opposite effect – an effect contrary to the welcoming and rewarding customer experience that we strive for. to create every day, ”Kenya Friend-Daniel, spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, said in a statement.“The packaging of a number of products has already been changed, but there are a small number of products where the packaging is still being processed,” added Friend-Daniel.

Trader Joe’s is the latest in a line of companies to rename its products following widespread protests against racial inequality triggered by the death of George Floyd.

Last month, Quaker Oats announced that it was removing the 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, recognizing that they were based on a racial stereotype. Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth quickly followed.

CNN’s Jordan Valinsky contributed to this report.

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