A petition is asking Trader Joe’s to remove “racist packaging” from its ethnic food products following moves by other brands from
Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s and Eskimo Pie to the Washington NFL franchise.
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The Change.org petition was started two weeks ago and had more than 840 signatures as of Saturday afternoon. It says the grocer “labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of ‘Joe’ that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” noting how Trader Ming’s is used to brand the chain’s Chinese foods and Trader José’s for Mexican foods.
© Michael Nagle, Getty Images NEW YORK – MARCH 17: Shoppers line up inside Trader Joe’s for the grand opening on 14th Street on March 17, 2006 in New York City. Trader Joe’s, a specialty retail grocery store, has more than 200 stores in 19 states. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
But the chain,
considered one of America’s favorite grocery stores, says it already has begun work to phase out the names and while its approach to product naming “may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect.”
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“With this in mind, we made the decision several years ago to use only the Trader Joe’s name on our products moving forward,” Kenya Friend-Daniel, Trader Joe’s national director of public relations, told USA TODAY in a statement Saturday. “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.”
Other brands identified by the petition include “Arabian Joe” for Middle Eastern foods, “Trader Giotto’s” for Italian foods and “Trader Joe San” for Japanese cuisine.
An exact date for when the products’ packaging would be changed wasn’t known but was expected very soon, Friend-Daniel said in the statement, adding some products have already been changed.
Cream of Wheat packaging
, with its image of a Black man, may soon change, its parent company said on June 18, 2020. Renée Graham, a columnist with the Boston Globe, wrote in 1993 that many advertisements have featured “black minstrel or mammy characters with grossly exaggerated features, speaking in fractured dialect. Rastus, the always-smiling Cream of Wheat chef, has appeared on the Nabisco Brands cereal for 120 years.”
Miss Chiquita was introduced in 1944, according to an article in the New York Daily News. The animated character was a scantily-clad banana wearing a fruit hat that critics argue perpetuated stereotypes about Latinas being hypersexual.
Miss Chiquita (Chiquita Brands) attends Madison Avenue Walk of Fame: Icon Awards at PlayStation Theater on Oct. 1, 2018 in New York City.
In April 2020, Land O’Lakes removed the Native American woman stamped on its packaging since 1928. The American Psychological Association has
the retirement of Native American mascots and symbols, in part because they appear “to have a negative impact on the self-esteem of American Indian children,” according to a New York Times article. Packages of Land O’ Lakes butter are shown at a grocery store, in 2019, in Doral, Florida.
The Land O’Lakes mascot was known as Mia, according to an Associated Press story. On some butter packaging, she has been replaced by photos of Land O’Lakes member farmers.
The Cleveland Indians removed the Chief Wahoo logo from the uniforms in 2019.Members of the Cleveland Indians wear uniforms featuring mascot Chief Wahoo as they stand on the field for the national anthem before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Monday, June 19, 2017.
Helmets rest on the field during day one of training camp at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center on July 27, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. A prominent civil rights organization that works closely with the National Football League has called for the moniker to change.
Florida State Seminoles Chief Osceola before the start of of an NCAA football game on Oct. 7, 2017, in Tallahassee, Florida. In 2005, the American Psychological Association called for the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, citing the harmful effects of racial stereotyping and inaccurate racial portrayals.
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) warms up before a game on Jan 18, 2020. The American Psychological Association has called for the retirement of all American Indian images used by athletic teams and organizations, highlighting the harmful effects of inaccurate racial portrayals.
Detailed view of a jersey worn by Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Sean Newcomb (15) on Aug 20, 2019. The American Psychological Association has called for the retirement of all American Indian images used by athletic teams and organizations, highlighting the harmful effects of inaccurate racial portrayals.
The Kansas City Chiefs helmet logo is seen on the field before the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 19, 2020. The American Psychological Association has called for the retirement of all American Indian images used by athletic teams and organizations, highlighting the harmful effects of inaccurate racial portrayals.
PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, announced June 17 that it plans to retire
Aunt Jemima from packaging on its brand of syrup and pancake mixes because it’s “based on a racial stereotype.”
The owners of
Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat also announced June 17 that their products’ packaging also would be reviewed. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said on June 19 that its Eskimo Pie brand would be renamed. Washington’s NFL franchise announced July 13 that it is dropping the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo, bowing to recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans. The products’ rebranding announcements – considered long overdue by experts, historians and some consumers – come at a time when companies face increasing pressure to boost diversity efforts and combat racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day. The people behind iconic brands: For faces behind Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s and Cream of Wheat, life transcended stereotype Stimulus checks for kids? Country Time launches bailout fund for lemonade stands closed due to COVID-19 Contributing: Associated Press Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trader Joe’s petition: Grocer asked to remove ‘racist packaging’ of brands including Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s
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