What is going on with the world!?
Grocery store chain Trader Joe’s has announced that they will be rebranding some of their products after a petition was posted telling them to change their ethnic food labels.
The petition written by a high school student states, “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.”
A spokeswoman for the chain included her input saying, “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.”
However, all is not lost, another petition was posted calling for Trader Joe’s to keep their label Trader Jose for its beer.
The petition states:
“Trader José” is not an insult. I see it as a loving pun, one that recognizes the difference between cultures, that Spanish is spoken in Mexico and English in the United States, but that also acknowledges that no matter where we come from, we are all the same: whether you are Mexican or American, French Chinese, Russian or African, whether your name is José, Joseph, Giuseppe or Джозеф, we all like good food and we all love tacos.
We Mexicans love when non-native speakers speak to us in Spanish. It makes us laugh when they speak it badly, and no, we have no qualms on correcting them. What makes us angry is when we are not asked for our opinion. “Trader Pepe,” for example, would be more appropriate than “Trader José.” If you want to respect our culture, hire advertisers and copywriters who speak Spanish. Conduct market surveys that involve actual Spanish speakers.
A teenager who has not finished high school and probably does not speak any other language than English has decided that “Trader José” is racist. I have two master’s degrees, a Ph.D. in psychology, two published books, another to come, I have lived in five different countries, traveled half the world, and speak well five languages: Spanish, English, French, Italian, a little bit of Dutch, and also some Galician. I speak many languages because I have learned to love and respect other cultures and made part of my life the things I love from them. Most importantly, I am Mexican. I don’t think “Trader José” is racist. And believe me, I know what it is to suffer racism. If Trader Joe’s wants to be more inclusive, start by hiring marketing people who speak native Spanish.
Read the rest of the story here.
Image Credit: NBC News