Amid a cultural revolution that has seen numerous racial and ethnic stereotypes dismantled, including Aunt Jemima, Trader Joe’s has refused to shift.
According to CNN, the grocery chain has refused to retire names such as Trader José’s and Trader Ming’s on the labels of its international foods, even though more than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling on the chain to stop using the names.
“We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions,” the grocery store said in a statement on July 24. “Decades ago, our Buying Team started using product names, like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s, Trader Ming’s, etc. We thought then—and still do—that this naming of products could be fun and show appreciation for other cultures,” the statement continued.
Trader Joe’s, which first opened in Pasadena, California, in 1967, was singing a different tune just a week ago when it responded to the petition saying it has already “been in the process of updating order labels, and replacing any variations with the name Trader Joe’s.”