Trader Joe’s released a statement disagreeing with the petition’s call on their product labels being racist.
The Trader Joe’s labels were seen as racist by the signees of the petition, which prompted earlier erroneous reports that acknowledged this. In a report by CNN, the chain allegedly stated that they had already examined the names and were in the process of changing some of them.
Not racist at all
According to the official statement made by Trader Joe’s spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel to CNN, the company recognized that the names “[M]ay now have the opposite effect,” referring to what the company first saw as a “lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness.”
However, in their official statement released on July 24, the company has stated that they “[d]isagree that any of these labels are racist,” and that Trader Joe’s does not make decisions based on any sort of public petition.
— Varney & Co. (@Varneyco) July 30, 2020
The grocery store chain’s official statement was praised by pundits and experts on the right, with Stuart Varney calling the decision a “win for sanity” and Meghan McCain tweeting that she was “glad [Trader Joe’s] won’t be bending the knee to the mob over… guacamole.”
Pitch perfect response from Trader Joes to one of the dumbest twitter mob non-controveries ever. Glad they won't be bending the knee to the mob over….gucamole. https://t.co/GXh87sf1Rr
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 30, 2020
The petition says names were racist
The petition, which was started by a high school senior, pointed out that names used by the company were racist. These include product names like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s, and the like.
The petition said that these names belie a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.
The initial reports alleged that the company was already ongoing the process of changing their labels. They later said, however, that they received feedback from existing customers that changed their decision.
The feedback essentially said that the customers didn’t see the labels as racist and were unbothered by them, according to a report by Yahoo!.
Names were merely “fun” marketing
The latest statement made by Trader Joe’s said that their customers saw “[T]hat these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended– as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing.”
The statement continued that they were going to continue to keep the products that customers had grown fond of on their shelves.
The company, however, stated that they were open to the idea of re-assessing their product names sometime in the future, and said that they were not going to hesitate to take the necessary actions if they felt there was a need for changes.
Featured image courtesy of Mike Mozart / Flickr