A teenager from California is flexing her social justice muscle, after her petition that demands Trader Joe’s change the names of multiple “racist” products received over 2,800 signatures. The petition that urged the major grocery chain to change the labeling of international food products the high school senior decided are “racist,” appears to have been a success, as Trader Joe’s has announced their plans to rename their “racist” brands.
“The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” the petition, which a California high school senior Briones Bedell, launched two weeks ago, reads.
It 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 as examples.
“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,” the petition says.
The grocery store chain, which first opened in Pasadena, California, in 1967, said it has already “been in the process of updating order labels, and replacing any variations with the 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,” Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s, said in a statement.