Discussion:
"It Could Happen" - Trader Joe’s decided not to rebrand its Trader Giotto and Trader José product lines and instead is launching a new kosher brand
(too old to reply)
thinbluemime2
2020-08-05 16:01:43 UTC
Permalink
Trader Joe’s Knows That Petitions Aren’t Commandments
The company decided not to rebrand its Trader Giotto and Trader José
product lines and instead introduce new food lines including a kosher
brand named Traitor Jew
6:30 AM ET John McWorty
https://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1


























film at 11:



https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/trader-joes-knows-petitions-arent-commandments/614950/



Trader Joe’s has long given playful foreign versions of its name to
certain international product lines: Trader José, Trader Giotto, Trader
Ming, and so on.

One could have guessed that amidst our racial reckoning (“the Great
Awokening,” as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias calls it), these names would come
under attack. This happened: A 17-year-old woman spearheaded a petition
that attracted more than 5,000 signatures, asking Trader Joe’s to
eliminate names that reflect “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates
harmful stereotypes.”

Trader Joe’s initially seemed inclined to rebrand, but recently decided
to retain the names, insisting, “we disagree that any of these labels
are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions.”

Bravo. We must certainly submit what we consider funny to periodic
reexamination, and be vigilant about the dangers of stereotyping.
However, petitions must also be subject to examination and vigilance,
because they can function in ways that are less progressive than puritan.

At the heart of wokeness is a paradox. On one hand, we are not to
shoehorn people into preset characterizations; we are to see them as
individuals. But on the other hand, we are not to deny that subgroups
exist. For example, it is wrong under this catechism to say “I don’t see
color” because it can be taken as not only a denial that people of color
exist in subordination to white people, but also a denial of cultural
differences.

Trader José and Trader Ming would seem to acknowledge the difference,
no? Many would say that this misses the point. But just which point?

One might argue that although subgroups do differ from the mainstream,
subgroups should define themselves, rather than have the likes of Trader
José thrust upon them from the outside. But the problem here is that
actual subgroup members often have different preferences than the
educated white cohort who see themselves as speaking for the
marginalized. For example, in the late 1990s, the Cartoon Network
stopped showing Speedy Gonzales cartoons because of claims that the
character was an offensive stereotype. However, many Latin Americans
continued to adore Speedy, the League of United Latin American Citizens
voiced its support for the character as an “icon,” and Latino message
boards overflowed with love for him.

A related argument is that Trader Ming’s is, in effect, a joke, and that
jokes about a subgroup should come exclusively from the subgroup itself.
Because the owners of Trader Joe’s are not Chinese, it’s game over. In
the post-Blaxploitation comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, a “Black” GPS
setting casually abuses and cusses at the driver in Black slang as if a
Black person’s grouchy aunt were in the passenger’s seat. Presumably
that’s okay because the movie was written by Black people, but would be
“stereotyping” if written by white people.

But if the intent of the joke about a subgroup is not to harm, why is it
taboo? Robin DiAngelo in White Fragility is among many these days who
argue that intent doesn’t matter, and that how the message is received
is sacrosanct. The problem with this seemingly innocent idea is that
reception is rarely monolithic; not everyone in a subgroup will find the
same joke offensive, and in many cases, well-off outsiders are the most
upset.

Indeed, Trader Joe’s ultimately refused to change its branding in part
because, a statement read, “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.”

A great many people seem to think Trader José is just a little joke,
rather than a bark of white supremacy. To dismiss this take as mere
ignorance requires a punitive kind of creativity in the name of social
progress. If the decree is that a company must not acknowledge the
existence of differences between human groups, then we need a
crystal-clear argument for why this is unacceptable.

The teenager who started the Trader Joe’s petition, Briones Bedell,
thinks she has one. Her case about the foreign product names: “They’re
racist because they exoticize other cultures, present ‘Joe’ as this
default normal, and then the other characters—such as Thai Joe, Trader
José, Trader Joe San—falling outside of it.”

Here, however, is a counterproposal. Couldn’t Trader José be taken as a
playful but progressive gesture acknowledging that in Mexico or another
Spanish-speaking country, a trader named Joe would be a foreigner, a
“gringo,” and that a local trader would more likely go by José?

Note the difference here between Aunt Jemima and Trader José: Aunt
Jemima is a stereotype implying that Black women’s place is as jocular,
none-too-bright servants, while Trader José has no traits at all—it’s
just a name, implying, if anything, a person of success and influence
within a Spanish-speaking country. Trader José is a harmless
hypothetical that makes the diaphragm twitch because it depicts a slight
distortion of reality—key to humor—in this case, Trader Joe being a
native of another country and thus named with that country’s closest
equivalent.

To pretend that self-described anti-racist demands must be automatically
adjudged authoritative is to give in to a kind of reign of terror. In
response to viewer feedback, the Cartoon Network added Speedy Gonzales
back to its programming in 2002. And Speedy was revived in the
underrated early-2010s reboot The Looney Tunes Show as an intelligent
and genuinely funny character—but with the same accent and clothes. The
world kept spinning, but this year HBO disappeared him again in its
latest revival, presumably to avoid winding up in the sights of those
who insist that a character many Latinos love is an immorality.

The woke have valuable lessons to teach us all. However, we depart from
the liberal foundations of this society in pretending that their lessons
are commandments. Trader Joe’s could be pioneering in its polite but
firm pushback against the excesses, and, hopefully, will be followed by
other organizations, educational institutions, and individuals.
thinbluemime2
2020-08-05 16:07:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by thinbluemime2
Trader Joe’s Knows That Petitions Aren’t Commandments
The company decided not to rebrand its Trader Giotto and Trader José
product lines and instead introduce new food lines including a kosher
brand named Traitor Jew
6:30 AM ET John McWorty
https://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1
Steven Gordon, the attorney for the five Israeli detainees, acknowledged
that his clients' actions on Sept. 11 would easily have aroused
suspicions. "You got a group of guys that are taking pictures, on top of
a roof, of the World Trade Center. They're speaking in a foreign
language. They got two passports on 'em. One's got a wad of cash on him,
and they got box cutters. Now that's a scary situation."

But Gordon insisted that his clients were just five young men who had
come to America for a vacation.
thinbluemime2
2020-08-05 16:09:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by thinbluemime2
Post by thinbluemime2
Trader Joe’s Knows That Petitions Aren’t Commandments
The company decided not to rebrand its Trader Giotto and Trader José
product lines and instead introduce new food lines including a kosher
brand named Traitor Jew
6:30 AM ET John McWorty
https://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1
Steven Gordon, the attorney for the five Israeli detainees, acknowledged
that his clients' actions on Sept. 11 would easily have aroused
suspicions. "You got a group of guys that are taking pictures, on top of
a roof, of the World Trade Center. They're speaking in a foreign
language. They got two passports on 'em. One's got a wad of cash on him,
and they got box cutters. Now that's a scary situation."
But Gordon insisted that his clients were just five young men who had
come to America for a vacation.
Since their arrest, plenty of speculation has swirled about the case,
and what the five men were doing that morning. Eventually, The Forward,
a respected Jewish newspaper in New York, reported the FBI concluded
that two of the men were Israeli intelligence operatives.

Loading...