An East Bay teenager is leading a national charge to get Trader Joe’s to change the names on some of its products that she says are racially insensitive.
Briones Bedell, 17, of Oakley believes the grocery chain is perpetuating racial stereotypes with products featuring the names such as “Trader Ming's," "Trader José" or "Trader Giotto's."
Bedell launched a petition asking the company to remove what she calls is the racist branding and packing from its stores.
“It’s insidious though because it's subtle," she said. "They are micro-aggressions, which is a problem because micro-aggressions inevitably escalate. And when we accept this baseline level of stereotyping and othering, we're more likely to accept larger transgressions down the road."
Trader Joe’s did not immediately respond to NBC Bay Area’s request for comment, but the company told The New York Times it’s planning to change the names.
Some Trader Joe’s customers said they don’t see a need for any changes.
“I’m American Chinese and I see some of the names as different, but personally I don't really see [anything] racist on those packages' names,” Jim Xiao of Foster City said.