Trader Joe’s responds: We’re already working on it, and “we expect to have the work completed very soon”
Trader Joe’s is one of those quirky, fun kind of stores that has seen enormous success in part because of its lighthearted quirkiness. Light-heartedness, really anything remotely resembling humor, is in the process of being rooted out and banned by the cancel culture scolds, so of course, they came for Trader Joe’s.
Apparently, some bored high schoolers with too much time on their hands decided to start a petition to get Trader Joe’s to change the packaging on some of its international products.
Petition demands Trader Joe's change its 'racist' food packaging. Current packaging, says petition, belies "a narrative of exoticism” & “exoticizes other cultures — it presents 'Joe' as the default 'normal.'” The company says it will try to comply. ?
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) July 19, 2020
As companies are hurriedly moving away from problematic depictions of race — from Aunt Jemima to the Washington NFL team — Trader Joe’s is yet another brand being asked to change its packaging of international products through a petition.
The products in question are food items from various parts of the world that are re-branded under the Trader Joe’s umbrella. But rather than the typical Trader Joe’s name emblazoned on food items, oftentimes products are given offshoots of the name Joe. Instead, these items are dubbed “Trader Giotto’s” or “Trader Ming’s” or “Trader José” to refer to Italian, Chinese or Mexican products, respectively, among other ethnic-sounding names for products.
The petition asking the grocery chain to rename the products has said the various labels belie “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”
“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 — they are ‘Arabian Joe,’ ‘Trader José,’ and ‘Trader Joe San,’ the petition states. “… The common thread between all of these transgressions is the perpetuation of exoticism, the goal of which is not to appreciate other cultures, but to further other and distance them from the perceived ‘normal.'”
These junior Karens-in-the-making not only took issue with the packaging, but they also were offended that the original Trader Joe founder thought of the idea for the store’s theme in 1967 after reading a book entitled White Shadows in the South Seas and visiting Disneyland’s Jungle ride.
In 1967. But that’s par for the course on the left because they are unable to see anything outside their radical race theory myopia. There is no context, no historical reality that might provide socio-cultural context, there is no room for any thought that does not conform to their current worldview and to their strict ideological diktats.
But I digress, back to the ruling and demands of a high school senior and her pals . . . .
The announcement comes following a Change.org petition organized by California high school senior Briones Bedell, which has garnered more than 1,300 signatures as of Sunday.
. . . . In addition, the petition points out that the company’s founder, Joe Coulombe, was inspired to build the Trader Joe’s brand based on the book “White Shadows in the South Seas” and Disney theme park attraction The Jungle Cruise.
“The book, White Shadows in the South Seas is racist because it perpetuates the myth of the ‘white god’ and the ‘noble savage’ stereotypes. It becomes even more racist in context because the founder of Trader Joe’s said that he was inspired by this book in some way when creating his company, a book which shows traders’ exotification of non-Western peoples turned into violent exploitation and destruction,” Bedell wrote. “The Disney Jungle Cruise is racist because it displays caricatures of non-Western peoples alongside exotic animals, as an attraction at a theme park to be gawked at.”
Bedell said that “given this essential context,” the packaging becomes “even more trivializing and demeaning than before.”
For its part, Trader Joe’s says that they have been in the process of changing the packaging for some time and will continue on that path.
“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 Kenya Friend-Daniel, national director of public relations for Trader Joe’s. “With this in mind, we made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on our products moving forward. Since then, we have been in the process of updating older labels and replacing any variations with the name Trader Joe’s, and we will continue do so until we complete this important work.
“At this time, I don’t have an exact date but we expect to have the work completed very soon. Packaging for a number of the products has already been changed, but there’s a small number of products in which the packaging is still going through the process.”
You can read the petition here, and you can read the Trader Joe story here. I archived it here in case they are pressured to rewrite—or simply delete—their history in this current frenzy to get us to dystopic Year Zero.
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