By Chandler Thornton and Alicia Lee, CNN

(CNN) — More than 1,700 people have signed a petition urging Trader Joe’s to change the labeling of some of its international food products, calling the grocery chain’s branding “racist.”

“The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of “Joe” that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” the petition, which a California high school senior launched two weeks ago, reads.

It cites “Trader Ming’s,” the grocery chain’s label for its Chinese products, “Arabian Joe,” for its Middle Eastern products, “Trader José,” for its Mexican products, and a handful of others as examples.

“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,” the petition says.

The grocery store chain, which first opened in Pasadena, California, in 1967, said it has already “been in the process of updating order labels, and replacing any variations with the name Trader Joe’s.”

“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,” Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s, said in a statement.

“Packaging for a number of the products has already been changed, but there’s a small number of products in which the packaging is still going through the process,” Friend-Daniel added.

Trader Joe’s is the latest in a line of companies to rebrand its products following the widespread protests over racial inequality sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Last month, Quaker Oats announced that it was retiring the 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging that it was based on a racial stereotype. Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Butterworth’s quickly followed.

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Comments (8)
  1. mark says:

    a high school kid? there idiots to begin with. give me a f@#$%^& break!!!

    1. Remember when says:

      I think you mean “they’re”, for “they are” idiots, rather than there, as in here or there.

  2. JimStark says:

    The idiot wokians need to be ignored. Hopefully they don’t breed.

  3. Roger Pickering says:

    Being hyper sensitive about race & seeing racism all around is the new social media fanned witch hunt hysteria. It’s neo-Mccarthyism. Multiculturalism? This is an example of its evolving dystopian nature. It’s time to wake up.

    1. JimStark says:

      Sadly it has apparently become cool to be a race baiter and a wokian

      1. Roger Pickering says:

        I think I’m out of synch here! Please explain the term ‘wokian’. I’ve just done a net search but haven’t found anything. Apologies for my ignorance.

  4. Roger Pickering says:

    Black music is stereotypically dance orientated, & exclusive. White rock is stereotypically aggressive, crotch grabbing, & exclusive. Bollywood films are stereotypically brown & exclusive. Kung Fu films are stereotypically yellow & exclusive. The gripes could go on. These stereotypes & exclusivities are also what can be alluring & sell the genre & product. Differences matter.

  5. JimStark says:

    I can’t take credit for inventing this word, I picked up on it from posts from other web sites. It refers to the phonies who jump on any cause for the victims promoted by the idiot left and do stupid things like deface memorial, tear down statues of people they label as racist (or what ever) or just in general like to race bait can cal anyone they don’t like racist, hom phobes etc.

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