Trader Joe’s packaging is NOT racist - End performative wokeness!

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Recently, a petition started by a California teen has gained traction. This petition claims that Trader Joe’s packaging is “racist” due to its naming: ““Trader Ming’s” is used to brand the chain’s Chinese food, “Arabian Joe” brands Middle Eastern foods, “Trader José” brands Mexican foods, “Trader Giotto’s” is for Italian food, and “Trader Joe San” brands their Japanese cuisine.” Bedell, the author further claims that this “belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”

However, as those of us who are actually from these countries are aware, none of these are stereotypes. Ming, José, and Giotto are real names used by real people. “Arabian” is used because the product is of Arabian origin. “San” means Mr. and Mrs. in Japanese. These words are not harmful by any means. They imply where the product came from or took inspiration from. 

The fact that the author, along with other non-POC people see them as “stereotypes” is the true harm. These are real names and words used by the people of the country. The fact that they see it as nothing more than a stereotype is based on their own biases.

Trader Joe’s has branded these items to reflect the origin of the product, which should be celebrated. As an immigrant, it is wonderful to see that my country is being credited for the products that we’ve inspired. These shouldn’t be removed as Trader Joe’s is actually doing the right thing by crediting the origin of the item. We should not be censoring all things diverse.

Furthermore, it is infuriating that *these* are the types of things white people want to spend time fighting on behalf of us. There are real racial issues that we experience. It’s not the playful branding, which isn’t racist by any means, that negatively impact us.

Sign this petition to let Trader Joe’s know that they shouldn’t censor the branding they have put in place to celebrate the diversity of the products. Additionally, this serves as a call for a stop in half-hearted “justice” for racism often lead by white people, as this petition was done. If these are issues that don’t pertain to you personally, please don’t lead it, at least without deeper discussions with the POC community to verify the perceived offense. I believe it was done with good intention but it falls short as you have deemed it “offensive” and “stereotypical” based on your own biases. These aren’t the victories we need.