Patterico's Pontifications

7/31/2020

Woke Culture Loses One at Trader Joe’s, But It’s Not Dead Everywhere

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Encouraging news from Trader Joe’s:

Trader Joe’s now says it’s not rebranding certain items despite a petition driven by a California teenager calling some products racist.

The grocer dismissed reports it had planned to change the names of international food items like “Trader Jose” and ” Trader Ming’s.”

Trader Joe’s said it disagrees with accusations of racism and said it does not make decisions based on petitions.

In a statement last week, Trader Joe’s said “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.”

The grocer also said the names of its international foods “show appreciation for other cultures.”

Hooray for normalcy!

But just when I thought society was coming to its senses, I discovered — er, found (“discovered” is problematic, as you’re about to discover) — that woke culture, while reeling from the Trader’s Joe blow, is still here. From Remodelista.com, a site devoted to remodeling, we learn that racist terms in describing homes aren’t limited to the obviously racist and sexist term “master bedroom.” Oh, no. It goes much further:

CNN also compiled a list of words and expressions with racist roots. Among them: cakewalk, peanut gallery, blacklist, and grandfathered in. We’re adding these to our banned words list. And a reader pointed out that using the phrase “we discovered the work of so-and-so” is problematic. You won’t hear that sort of colonialist phrasing from us anymore either.

These are small but important changes. As we learn and reflect, we’ll continue to rethink our word choices. In the meantime, drop us a note in the comments if there are other examples of language with racist, sexist, or otherwise problematic overtones that we should be reconsidering.

“Discovered” is “problematic,” folks. Write it down and add it to the list.

This all reminds me of a Twitter thread I saw recently where someone warned advertisers to reconsider their campaigns, because in this woke era, what sounded fine last week might seem tone deaf this week. Scary enough, how standards change from week to week … but then, someone responded to the guy by saying “tone deaf” was “ableist” and she was offended because she is deaf. The woke scold thanked her, and the replies were filled with people adding a new term to the ban list.

The blind spot in this thinking — sorry, “defect” in this thinking (I know that’s problematic too but cut me some slack, man, I’m trying!) is that when you remove all flair and color from the English language because terms that sounded fine yesterday have suddenly been deemed “problematic” from the point of view of some fanatical scolds, you end up unable to say anything. I believe basic politeness is important, but I don’t feel the need to walk on eggshells to appease unreasonable people.

Well, at least Trader Joe’s understands. Let’s hope their decision signals some resurgence of common sense.

Just … don’t count on it.

57 Responses to “Woke Culture Loses One at Trader Joe’s, But It’s Not Dead Everywhere”

  1. Yay, Trader Joe. He fights!!

    beer ‘n pretzels (3b8342)

  2. About 10 years ago, it was very common in online gaming, at least in the games I played, to use “gay” as a pejorative, e.g.:

    “Dude that’s so gay,” meaning ridiculous or stupid or useless – pretty much anything opposite of “good”.

    I was taken aback the first time someone scolded me, although over time I eventually accepted that it could hurt people, and should be avoided, so now I do. Progress!

    Occasionally, one now sees “ghey” used instead of “gay”, to denote the same sentiment while trying to distinguish from the connotation of “gay” as a sexual orientation.

    But I digress.

    I got even when the scold a day later when he tried a similar construction:

    “Dude that’s so lame.”

    I told him it was an insult to the disabled. His initial reaction was about the same as mine was over “gay”.

    If one is a stickler, “Dude that’s so dumb” would also have to be avoided.

    Dave (1bb933)

  3. I’d like to see the list of words they’re settling for …. oops … permitting … oops .. using … oops …

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  4. There is some hope this will force the Woke to STFU, having no words left. If not, you now know how to harass them.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. Take a walk around your local Restoration Hardware (that is, if you live near a neighborhood where the average house goes for $2 million) and you will see the sort of people who read Remodelista.com. That in itself should dissuade you from wanting to have anything to do with that website.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  6. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania, scheduled for official adoption around 2050, and designed to make the ideological premises of Ingsoc (Newspeak for English Socialism, the Party’s official political alignment) the only expressible doctrine. Newspeak is engineered to remove even the possibility of rebellious thoughts—the words by which such thoughts might be articulated have been eliminated from the language.
    – Appendix: Principles of Newspeak, 1984

    Dave (1bb933)

  7. Let me get this out of the way right now: happy birthday to the boss. There’s now a year of his life for every playing card in the deck, once you discard the Jokers.

    Since I wished you a happy birthday publicly before Dana did, can I have the Patterico’s Pontifications yacht this weekend so I can sail up to Santa Rosa Island?

    JVW (ee64e4)

  8. That CNN blurb has to be a spoof.

    nk (1d9030)

  9. Happy Birthday Patterico.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  10. Helpful to know…
    Should I go to Trader Joe’s? Yes, because they’re mature enough to not knuckle under to a CA teenager’s crybullying.
    Should I visit Remodelista? Hell, no.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  11. That CNN blurb has to be a spoof.

    The problem with these “problematic word lists” is that they are largely compiled by useless academics from the grievance studies industry, and oftentimes their information is just plain wrong. Take “peanut gallery,” for example, which is on the CNN list. Some black studies professor somewhere declared that it dates back to Jim Crow days when blacks had to sit in the balconies of theaters and woke America bought into that flapdoodle, but there’s plenty of evidence that the term was being used in theaters 150 years ago, well before blacks were even allowed to attend integrated theaters. But now that we’ve given woke America dominion over our language, it hardly matters what the origins of the phrase truly are once someone on the intersectionality matrix declares that it is offensive.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  12. The real question is have any Trader Joes staff been accosted, beaten or arrested outside the store footprint on account of being mistaken for boogaloo?

    urbanleftbehind (08b3a1)

  13. Maybe this is not the best time to tell you that the formal Greek word for “peanuts” is “n-word* pistachios”, αραπικα φυστικια. Not to be confused with αραποσιτι, “n-word sustenance”, the common word for “corn” (maize).

    *(the Greek equivalent of)

    nk (1d9030)

  14. JVW, I so dislike the awkward term “problematic.”

    Cheers to TJ’s.

    Happy birthday to Patterico!

    Simon Jester (c393b1)

  15. About 15 years ago i had a boss whose son had autism. Sometimes he’d flinch, just a little, when people would say “That’s retarded” when they meant “That’s obviously very bad”. I decided that policing my language ever so slightly was worth not hurting the feelings of the guy who decided on my raise.

    One time shortly after someone had finished a work related gripe session with frequent uses of the phrase ‘f)*&ing retarded’ I asked him if it bothered him because of his son. He told me that his son was never going to college but that he still loved him and that god put his son on the earth for a reason.

    I still slip up and say something’s retarded, but I feel like a jerk when I do.

    Pretty sure i can still communicate that something is bad without the word.

    It’s about the only time I can recall any of this PC woke language has impacted my real world life.

    Time123 (306531)

  16. In news having nothing to do with PC Culture Run Amok, Florida has just posted its fourth consecutive day of a record breaking high death number.

    Also Vanity Fair wrote an article stating that Jared put the kibosh on a nationwide testing plan in April because believing it would be better politically for Trump if Democratic governors could be blamed for the pandemic.

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/07/how-jared-kushners-secret-testing-plan-went-poof-into-thin-air

    Of course because Covid is nothing more than a common cold, than none of this is problematic except for the part that the common cold doesn’t usually require temporary refrigerator morgues to be set up outside hospitals and the common cold doesn’t usually leave 70% of its victims with ongoing heart problems.

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/27/covid19-concerns-about-lasting-heart-damage/

    But sure, carry on worrying about whether or not a grocery store takes steps to placate some annoyed customers at the risk of offending others.

    Victor (a225f9)

  17. Happy Birthday to a fine blogger, family man, and all around good guy.

    DRJ (aede82)

  18. If DRJ says so, it must be so (no offense, JVW): Happy Birthday, Patterico!

    nk (1d9030)

  19. @15: The Vanity Fair piece makes a claim sourced to someone identified as “the expert” and Victor runs with it.

    beer ‘n pretzels (b92780)

  20. Happy Birthday Patterico. Enjoy the day.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  21. Woke Culture still winning in Seattle. Reason Culture still losing:

    Christopher F. Rufo
    @realchrisrufo

    BREAKING: Seattle City Council moves to abolish the entire Seattle Police Department and replace it with a “civilian led Department of Community Safety & Violence Prevention.”

    They want to replace the police force with nonprofit programs and “community-led activities.”
    _ _

    Vote Biden so we have Seattle/Portland for everyone!
    _

    harkin (ef4f0e)

  22. Happy birthday Patterico!

    Very glad there’s a few islands left for this kind of discussion.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  23. Happy Birthday to not only an upstanding guy and insightful writer, but the best boss ever because, unfortunately for JVW, he’s already given me use of the Patterico’s Pontifications yacht for notjust the weekend, but all of next week too. Fully staffed, no less! But I’m happy to let you know just how dazzling the waters are, John.

    Celebrate bigly, P.

    Dana (292df6)

  24. Victor (a225f9) — 7/31/2020 @ 11:05 am

    That Vanity Fair article is important, Victor, because Trump has no strategy despite having multiple opportunities to adopt strategies developed by others, including Kushner’s and the one put together by the Rockefeller Foundation. Instead, Trump adopted the “strategy” of lurching from one seat-of-the-pants reaction to the next, and this paragraph is also relevant.

    Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

    Assuming this is true (and it sounds true to me), Trump is so malevolent that he would bypass a serious plan to contain the pandemic so he could stick to his political opponents, despite there being countless Trump supporters in those blue states. Those blue staters are also Americans, and it’s yet another example of Trump putting his personal political fortunes ahead of the country he took an oath to serve, and it further reveals his unpatriotism and un-Americanism. What made his stupid idea even worse is that he didn’t consider that CV19 would pervade the red states, which has been happening with a vengeance since June. The man is too unfit for a 2nd term.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  25. Just what exactly did the yellow dog you call Trump who barked, snarled and slunk off with his tail between his legs do for Portland?

    nk (1d9030)

  26. Beer,

    You don’t believe in the existence of experts? Conservative philosophy never ceases to surprise me.

    And I’m sure we’ll see some journalist you trust pushing back on all the factual claims, as opposed to simply blankly claiming the facts don’t exist.

    Victor (a225f9)

  27. “Vote Biden so we have Seattle/Portland for everyone!”

    This is happening now, under Trump.

    Davethulhu (eadaad)

  28. You don’t believe in the existence of experts? Conservative philosophy never ceases to surprise me.

    That’s called a false alternative.

    I believe in experts, Victor. I believe they also have real names. I don’t swallow whole a claim from “the expert” just because a reporter with an agenda called a source “the expert”, and won’t attach a name to the claim. But, apparently you do.

    Lefties’ inability to think logically never ceases to meet my expectations.

    beer ‘n pretzels (3498b1)

  29. The CHOP covered a few square blocks, and the rioting in Portland covers about the same area. What hardly anyone talks about is that the rest of both cities are functioning quite well, although the socialists on the Seattle city council can still muck it up for everyone else. Fingers crossed that saner heads prevail.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  30. But sure, carry on worrying about whether or not a grocery store takes steps to placate some annoyed customers at the risk of offending others.

    Victor, what I don’t get is your apparent attitude that nobody should be discussing the left’s attempt to police our language, just because the COVID pandemic is still on. Are you suggesting that 100% of everyone’s attention should be focused on — or, to be more blunt, obsessing over — the pandemic? Should this blog cover nothing else than whether Trump should have nationalized mask-wearing in March, or whether it was wise for Gavin Newsom to shut down beaches, or whether John Lewis should have been given an indoor funeral? Or are you one of those tiresome commenters who whines whenever one of the bloggers here discusses something other than your current hobby-horse issue? Dana will likely have a weekend open thread posted tomorrow morning, and on that you are free to pontificate to your heart’s content about whatever matter has attracted your attention. Can you please just knock it off until then?

    JVW (ee64e4)

  31. The CHOP covered a few square blocks, and the rioting in Portland covers about the same area. What hardly anyone talks about is that the rest of both cities are functioning quite well, although the socialists on the Seattle city council can still muck it up for everyone else.

    I don’t know, Paul Montagu. That logic to me sounds too much like saying, “Yeah, real bad about George Floyd, but think about all of the black Minnesotans that weren’t killed in custody by police officers that day!”

    JVW (ee64e4)

  32. This all reminds me of a Twitter thread I saw recently where someone warned advertisers to reconsider their campaigns, because in this woke era, what sounded fine last week might seem tone deaf this week.

    Having worked in the ad biz, this isn’t surprising– the ‘tone deaf’ line has come up occasionally over the years and rarely more than a passing objection. But a lot of money is at stake w/these campaigns and the images built oer the years and it’s the nimble MadMen crowd who know how to keep a campaign literally ‘pitch perfect’ — rather than tone deaf to a fast changing marketplace.

    Case in point; some decades back while at BBD&O we were working on a Campbell Soup campaign- soup is a regionally sold product anyway w/some flavors targeted to certain regions over others give the seasons for sales and profitablity- and we ran into problems from some health groups with CS’s famed and long time pitch line, ‘M’m, M’m Good.’

    In fact, Campbell Soup is not ‘M’m, M’m Good’ for you– it is loaded w/sodium. And at the time, Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, just off a Super Bowl win had been hired as a paid spokesperson for an expensive, short fuse campaign pitching Campbell’s sodium laden Chunky Soup brand– and bang; the Ditka has a heart attack; front page news. His doctor’s declare, “No soup for you!” Meanwhile, the campaign was up and running w/print, spot radio & TV buys along w/in-store point-of-sale collateral materials, including expensive, aisle-ender stand-up of a chubby, life-sized Ditka holding a can of Chunky artery-clogger. It was a very ouch time and the health nuts were after all of the CS high-sodium products. The BBD&O MadMen got to work reworking everything PDQ but Campbell literally had to eat the Ditka promos along w/BBD&O. The ads, promos— even the coupons had to be yanked and reworked. Expensive. But it did wake up Campbell’s to start pitching low-sodium soup line.

    Now, a pop-quiz- guess which of Campbell’s Soups are the best sellers?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  33. That logic to me sounds too much like saying, “Yeah, real bad about George Floyd, but think about all of the black Minnesotans that weren’t killed in custody by police officers that day!”

    Well, I think it’s relevant to not make invidious overgeneralizations. Minneapolis isn’t the sum total of Floyd’s murder and the resultant riots, just as Seattle/Portland aren’t the sum total of what’s taking place in a couple few-square-block areas, but I may have a soft spot for Minneapolis because my brother lived there a dozen years and I like the place.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  34. If these “woke” people want to really freak out, they ought to come down here and visit Plantation South.

    It’s a subdivision, not gated but exclusive because the houses are very expensive.

    All the streets are named after characters from Gone With the Wind.

    If they knew about that, they would lose their minds.

    I’ve had to deal with several foreclosures there, over the years. Yeah, because it costs a lot of money to live there, and some people just can’t handle their mortgages. Or utilities and property taxes.

    Still, it really is a very nice subdivision.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  35. But sure, carry on worrying about whether or not a grocery store takes steps to placate some annoyed customers at the risk of offending others.

    First, it’s good to bear in mind that our host can post whatever he damn well pleases on *his* blog. That should be obvious. You are not obligated to read it, let alone comment on it, especially if it seems trite to you. But lets at least be respectful toward the writers and their chosen subject matter, especially if that writer is the proprietor of this blog.

    With that, Victor, I think it is possible to have a multitude of thoughts and concerns rumbling about in our heads and in our discourse here. What is happening in our culture with regard to speech, as exampled in this post, is of vital importance because any effort by the mob to censure or cancel speech is unacceptable and must be pushed back against. You’re a smart guy, you know this. And even if it’s just packaging on Trader Joe’s food items, it’s still important because they are actually pushing back, saying, No, we’ll do what we want to do, and that’s great news for anyone concerned about matters of public speech.

    I will indeed be having a weekend open thread tomorrow morning, so please do share your link there. You’re a good commenter and have much to offer, but please keep in mind that what you prioritize may not be what others prioritize at the moment. And as far as the subject matter of posts here, we write about what interests us, we write about what is important at the moment, we sometimes present an analysis of a situation, we offer current musings on vexing issues, etc. Basically, we write about whatever interests us, and whatever our time constraints (and energy) allow.

    Dana (292df6)

  36. JVW @11.

    . Take “peanut gallery,” for example, which is on the CNN list. Some black studies professor somewhere declared that it dates back to Jim Crow days when blacks had to sit in the balconies of theaters and woke America bought into that flapdoodle, but there’s plenty of evidence that the term was being used in theaters 150 years ago, well before blacks were even allowed to attend integrated theaters.

    Don’t peanuts have something to do with George Washington Carver?

    Therefore a “peanut gallery” would have to be a place where George Washington Carver was forced to sit = a segregated place reserved for people with his color.

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/peanut_gallery

    In the mid-twentieth century, the “Howdy Doody Show” associated “peanut gallery” specifically with children.

    Maybe this has something to do with Charlie Brown.

    Of course, that would be contemptuous of children.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe6a9b)

  37. Fingers crossed that saner heads prevail.

    They have and do, but you’ll probably have to leave Seattle to witness it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  38. Happy Birthday Patterico!

    CNN is being silly.

    @21 Trump is the current president under whom all the current circumstances have arisen, so the appropriate assumption would be “re-elect Trump and get rioting in the streets and a deadly illness that just keeps getting worse.” We currently HAVE Seattle/Portland for everyone.

    Also, Biden has specifically stated that he’s against getting rid of the police, so you implications are also untruthful.

    Nic (896fdf)

  39. Happy Birthday, Mr. Patterico!

    I’ll see your full deck of cards, and raise you four jokers!

    Concerning Trader Joe’s, I love the store so much that I made sure there was one in Reno before I moved here.

    norcal (a5428a)

  40. “Trader” is a mercantilist term. It shows a pro-capitalist bias. It needs to be dropped. We already have restaurants called “Joe’s”, some of them advertising, “Eat at Joe’s.” Why not, “Shop at Joe’s”? Given Tr***r Joe’s west coast roots, you’d think that they’d be more sensitive to the concerns of socialists.

    John B Boddie (f44786)

  41. Where Biden hidin’ ???

    Traitor Joe

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  42. Traitor Joe – Bozo in 2020

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  43. Dana,

    I apologize for my outburst. You are correct that this is your blog and you should write about trends you think are important. My frustration would have been better spent not commenting on a post I was less interested in, and waiting for another moment.

    Victor (0301a3)

  44. As for experts I believe that in the current administration there are penalties for speaking out against Trump and so that those experts who do exist and have a contrary opinion will necessarily remain anonymous. The question of whether a journalist’s account referencing such an expert would depend on the credibility of the journalist, the publication and the relevant supporting details, and I see nothing in the article that would cause me to doubt any of that.

    Victor (0301a3)

  45. As for Seattle, it remains a lovely place. I was at the site of the former CHOP the other day and bought a cherry chunk ice cream cone and strolled by the community garden, which is still there.

    The theory that urban landscapes are burnt over hellscape remains, as usual, a conservative myth.

    Victor (0301a3)

  46. Let me get this out of the way right now: happy birthday to the boss. There’s now a year of his life for every playing card in the deck, once you discard the Jokers.

    Since I wished you a happy birthday publicly before Dana did, can I have the Patterico’s Pontifications yacht this weekend so I can sail up to Santa Rosa Island?

    It’s reserved for Birthday Weekend — this very comment is coming to you via the yacht’s WiFi — but you have first dibs on next weekend.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  47. Thanks to all who left such kind birthday wishes, and thanks to JVW for humorously starting that ball rolling.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  48. Happy Birthday to not only an upstanding guy and insightful writer, but the best boss ever because, unfortunately for JVW, he’s already given me use of the Patterico’s Pontifications yacht for notjust the weekend, but all of next week too. Fully staffed, no less!

    I didn’t realize you had let slip that you are along for the ride. But how could I resist?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  49. About 15 years ago i had a boss whose son had autism. Sometimes he’d flinch, just a little, when people would say “That’s retarded” when they meant “That’s obviously very bad”. I decided that policing my language ever so slightly was worth not hurting the feelings of the guy who decided on my raise.

    One time shortly after someone had finished a work related gripe session with frequent uses of the phrase ‘f)*&ing retarded’ I asked him if it bothered him because of his son. He told me that his son was never going to college but that he still loved him and that god put his son on the earth for a reason.

    I still slip up and say something’s retarded, but I feel like a jerk when I do.

    Pretty sure i can still communicate that something is bad without the word.

    I had to dig this comment out of moderation because I put the word “retard” and all its variants in the spam filter. Over the years, I noted that relatively few comments contained a variant of that word and still added value. The cost/benefit was clear. I have to take my hat off to happyfeet for illustrating this point in a manner that was far more clear than it would have been absent his demented contributions.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  50. Victor @45: As for experts I believe that in the current administration there are penalties for speaking out against Trump and so that those experts who do exist and have a contrary opinion will necessarily remain anonymous.

    LOL

    An “expert” who would put their career and professional comfort ahead of (purportedly, according to the story) the health and lives of millions is certainly one with a ton of cred.

    beer ‘n pretzels (368b0a)

  51. Buon Compleanno

    mg (8cbc69)

  52. Patterico, thank you for digging that out.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  53. It feels a bit odd to be wishing you a happy birthday, considering that the readers of this site receive a gift from you every Sunday.

    Thank you for your continued musical selections.

    John B Boddie (f44786)

  54. Thanks to Dave for the gift. That was very kind.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  55. Dana,

    I apologize for my outburst. You are correct that this is your blog and you should write about trends you think are important. My frustration would have been better spent not commenting on a post I was less interested in, and waiting for another moment.

    Victor (0301a3) — 7/31/2020 @ 5:55 pm

    Oh, Victor, don’t apologize – it’s not necessary. Also, this is Patterico’s blog, not mine. I am but a simple guest contributor whom he graciously allows to post here. You’re kind to apologize, and you are a valued commenter. I get the frustration of readers wanting to see a particular subject covered in a post, only to find out there isn’t one posted. But you never know what the next post will be!

    Dana (292df6)


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