Some idiot started a petition saying that Trader Joe’s is racist because some of their ethnic/foreign foods are labelled “Trade José”, “Trader Giotto” etc. and supposedly this is racist ( Petition Urges Trader Joe’s To Get Rid Of ‘Racist Branding’ ). This is ridiculous. “Joe” is short for “Joseph”, and “José” is Spanish for Joseph, Giotto is Italian for Joseph, etc. Are we not allowed to say that tortillas are Mexican or that lasagna is Italian?
And Ming is Chinese for Joseph?
Being a generic white guy, I can’t say “you can’t be offended by this,” but I remember the first time I went to Trader Joe’s I always felt like those names were a little problematic. It basically sets them up as “others.”
Regardless, did you miss where Trader Joe’s said they were working on changing them anyway?
Didn’t miss that. Still seems over-the-top to me.
As Paul Krugman put it, would you feel the same if they marketed kosher food as “Trader Hymie’s”? Same thing. Just because we don’t notice it as the same says more about us than about the people who point it out.
ETA: And I would have agreed with you that it was overblown not long ago, but as others say, we don’t get to tell others how they should be offended.
I never understood why TJ’s used these in the first place. Did anyone not know that salsa was Mexican until they slapped the “Trader José” on it?
Personally, I’d have no problem with “Trader Yossi’s”.
You mean Giuseppe (!?) , aka Peppe, Geppetto, etc.
Or Trader Hans for German, etc.
Ok. And some Jose’s have no issue with Trader Jose’s. But the point isn’t if there exist some who aren’t.
It’s the same thing with the now nickname-less Washington NFL team. They loved to trot out some Native Americans who weren’t offended by it while ignoring those who were. They did that for decades.
Also, you don’t get to choose. They choose the nickname for you.
The names are a bit too cute and it’s not unreasonable to ask Trader Joe to lose the marginally insensitive naming on ethnic style food packaging. Appears they’ve already taken the initiative. I think they have otherwise been a pretty socially responsible corporation and should make it through this adjustment period unblemished.
Yeah, that’s the downside to whiteness. I can’t just ask people “Isn’t there any actual racism you should be fighting?” or make jokes about it without revealing my lack of cultural sensitivity.
Oh, well, I’ll take note of all that “fun” branding this afternoon. I’m making my weekly run to Trader Honkey’s.
Their branding in general is kind of stupid (though the food is generally good, all things considered), and these names are gratuitous and condescending. It’s like Michael Scott were doing the marketing.
The point is are there a significant number of Mexicans, Italians, etc. who are offended, or was the petition started by people who don’t really have a dog in this fight? I ask because I’ve seen situations where excessively woke people fought for the oppressed, but the oppressed never had a problem.
I think “Trader Yossi’s” would be cute.
I’m not sure about ‘significant’ but certainly those who are.
Also, I’m not sure about “don’t really have a dog in this fight”. That’s equivalent to saying white people shouldn’t start or get involved in BLM protests. That’s a questionable stance.
Also, it seems to be a moot point, anyway. Trader Joe’s was moving away from it anyway, so this just accelerates the process that has already started.
Why stop there? We should be going after Trader Joe’s for culturally appropriating Chinese, Indian, and Mexican foods. Since Italians are white (at least we think of them as white now never mind what we thought in 1905), it’s okay to appropriate from them. I don’t really have a dog in this fight in that I’m not going to expend one ounce of effort to defend any corporation’s marketing no matter how I feel about it.
I take some small comfort knowing that in 30 years the current generation will have to deal with the next. I imagine they’ll either complain about how racist and insensitive they were in 2020 compared to the enlightened people of 2050. Or perhaps the enlightened people of 2050 will look back and say, “For Christ’s sake, you people were upset about the stupidest shit!”
I think this is a good way to express it. It’s not cute, it’s just crass. I don’t think anyone’s seriously accusing Trader Joe’s of high crimes here - surely we can accept that a 17-year-old might be a bit hyperbolic, yet still have a valid point. We’re better off without this.
Ah, the noble slippery slope argument.
Yes, let’s make a firm stand here in support of all the familiar and comfortable ways we have to be slightly racist, before things get ridiculously out of hand.
Someone help, my eyes just rolled down this slippery slope.
I don’t agree with the petition, really. I don’t even understand how the packaging is racist.
I think Trader Joe’s is owned by a German company – so are they only allowed to sell German food? Can they sell Asian-style food if it’s not made someplace in Asia? Same with Italian-style food, Mexican-style food, Indian-style food? Not to bring up a slippery slope argument, but the very next step would be accusations of cultural appropriation if a German or American company is selling ethnic foods. This happened to a taco truck in Portland, I think. There are probably other examples.
If they want to change it, I’m fine with that, but I’m also fine if they keep it.
I’m also fine if they made Israeli food called Trader Yossi’s and German food Trader Hans. This isn’t about othering immigrants in the US, it’s about referring to food from other countries.
ETA: Someone made the same slippery slope argument! I provided an example, though. Here’s a cite: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/portland-burrito-cart-closes-after-owners-are-accused-of-cultural-appropriation_n_5926ef7ee4b062f96a348181
There’s more to that story than “White people making Mexican food.” Also, there’s no evidence that the backlash was why they closed. Restaurants close all the dam time because it’s an extremely hard business.