The cancel culture war on innocent names was just too much for Trader Joe’s and their liberal big-city customers. The retailer indicated earlier this month it might change the names of some of its products after an online petition denounced them as racist. It now says it will keep beloved labels such as Trader Jose’s and Trader Ming’s for Mexican and Asian food.
“We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist,” the grocery chain said in a statement posted on its website. It added, “We do not make decisions based on petitions.”
The petition posted on change.org by a high school student claims the names create “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.” Liberals across the nation, including Black Lives Matter activists, piled on demanding every item be renamed.
Other Trader Joe’s names accused of being racist include Arabian Joe for Middle Eastern food, Trader Giotto’s for Italian and Trader Joe San for its Japanese offerings.
After the petition was launched Trader Joe’s issued a statement saying it has been in the process of updating product labels and hoped to conclude that effort soon. The move apparently gave the retailer time to come up with a battle plan.
“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,” company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said at the time.
In an additional statement the grocery chain said it still believes the names, many created decades ago, represent lighthearted efforts at inclusion, adding that its customers say they still like them.
Initial media reports were accused of being false with Trader Joe’s saying they were “inaccurate reports.”
“We thought then—and still do—that this naming of products could be fun and show appreciation for other cultures,” the company said.
The petition, which had thousands of signatures, even caught the ire of democrats – the primary customers of the chains urban locations.
“Enough is enough,” one person commented. “Let’s stop stereotyping and perpetuating narratives that are harmful and hurtful.”
Another responded, “Pick on something else. The packaging indicates it’s authentic to the country the recipe comes from! There are far more important issues to be worked on!”