In light of that, a California teen is fighting back by starting a petition, which has gained more than 3,800 signatures at the time of publication.
Trader Joe's called it, "a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness." While they did express a little bit of remorse and understanding of what this branding signifies, there was no timeline given as to when or how changes to the branding will take place.
I'm very concerned that we're living in 2020, and a company considers efforts to be inclusive to be "light hearted."
Those words should never go together in the same sentence because race and racism is something that needs to be taken seriously. We should never resort to jokes or light hearted efforts to ease these tensions, or in this case, resorting to light hearted efforts that made things worse.
Racism is still very present in today's America, and please, I'm begging you: stop with the "I've never seen it" excuses. I've never been to Vermont, I have a friend who lives in Vermont, which seeing as she lives there, claims Vermont exists. I don't assume Vermont doesn't exist just because I've never been there.
Similarly, just because you haven't experienced racism, because you're white, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You don't have to experience something for it to exist because there's no way one single person could go through every single experience or situation out there.
Making light of racism, making light of someone's pain is never OK. It's never a productive way to help fight for those experiencing racism.
While this may seem minor or relatively harmless, it's not helping us, as a society, fight and combat the racism that Black people so often face in this country. This isn't an attempt to wipe away history or change everything in sight. It's an attempt to shut down the harmful lingo, the harmful slurs that circulate in our society.
It's not just about the packaging, it's about how when people mention anyone other than a White person, they resort to "typical names" and what they believe to be that person's "accent." While these product names may not directly hurt anyone, they do contribute to a culture that does hurt people.
This isn't just about taking away the packaging or branding you're used to picking up at your favorite store, it's about discontinuing hateful, divisive and racist rhetoric so that we can stop normalizing racism and actually become an inclusive society.