Trader Joe's is removing product names criticized as racist

The recent increased visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted many companies to take a closer look at their own histories of racism — and racial stereotypes in their names, packaging and logos. Aunt Jemima decided to change its name and image, Cream of Wheat cereal announced plans to follow suit, as did Mrs. Butterworth's. Now, Trader Joe's has done the same, removing products named after racial stereotypes, ABC News reports.

After receiving public criticism, all of these companies decided to revisit their products and marketing. Trader Joe's has come under particular scrutiny for using racist brand names, including Trader Ming's (for Chinese food), Trader José's (for Mexican-style products) and Trader Giotto (for Italian products).

Much of the boycott of the product came from a petition, which gained more than 3,000 signatures over the course of two weeks.

"The Trader Joe's brand is racist because it exoticizes other cultures - it presents 'Joe' as the default 'normal' while other characters do not belong - they are 'Arab Joe,' Trader José' and 'Trader Joe San'," the petition reads.

The petition also notes that Trader Joe's original name came from the founder's interest in the book "White Shadows of the South Sea," which highlighted the enslavement of South Pacific peoples by traders in the 19th and 20th centuries. The story is highlighted in the "About" section of the company's website.

This isn't the first time the grocery chain has faced backlash for racial insensitivity. In June, multiple Trader Joe's employees complained about the company's policy of not allowing the sale of Black Lives Matter apparel such as T-shirts, masks and pins. The complaints follow the company's announcement on June 6, which showed solidarity with Black crew members and communities.

A Trader Joe's store on Capitol Hill was also shut down after employees allegedly participated in a BLM protest.

After announcements like this one from Trader Joe's and Aunt Jemima, many people took to Twitter to explain that they felt the world was missing the point when it came to what the BLM movement was really about. The tweet reiterated that the black community is not getting what they are asking for, including an end to brutal policies and racism.

A Trader Joe's spokesperson told The New York Times that plans to remove and rebrand the brands in question had been in the works for years before the petition was filed.