(Right Country) – The popular grocery chain Trader Joe’s is quietly and defiantly declining to succumb to the pressures of cancel culture in what Breitbart’s John Nolte describes as something they did “politely.”
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the retailer had caved to an online petition which derided some of its branding as racist.
In the petition, the 17-year-old author bemoans the brand’s inspiration, which was the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney and a book called White Shadows in the South Seas.
The book White Shadows in the South Seas was also made into a silent film. This work demonstrates the horrific legacy of trading companies as they exploited and enslaved the South Pacific in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these regions are still at a disadvantage today because of how traders ravaged their peoples, their societies, and their natural resources. Even though the story calls out the abuses of trading companies, (although it perpetuates other racist tropes such as that of the “noble savage” and “white god” narratives common during this period), “Trader” is still part of the grocery chain’s name. It leaves the question: What in particular about this book inspired the company?
The Times quoted company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel as saying in response to the petition, “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.”
In a statement released this week, however, Trader Joe’s defended its iconic brand naming scheme where they were quite blunt that they do “not make decisions based on petitions.”
In light of recent feedback and attention we’ve received about our product naming, we have some things we’d like to say to clarify our approach.
A few weeks ago, an online petition was launched calling on us to “remove racist packaging from [our] products.” Following were inaccurate reports that the petition prompted us to take action. We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.
We make decisions based on what customers purchase, as well as the feedback we receive from our customers and Crew Members. If we feel there is need for change, we do not hesitate to take action.
Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing. We continue our ongoing evaluation, and those products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves.
Capitalism wins the day!
Featured image credit: Phillip Pessar – flickr.com/photos/southbeachcars/31921521713