|A cover of the mailer alongside coupons|
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a faithful Kroger customer, and I have always enjoyed the environment, savings, and service that I receive at my local Kroger. However, I was disconcerted to learn that the Black History Month issue of your MyMagazine™* relied on stereotypes and caricatures of blacks in order to attract consumers. I hope that you will reconsider this line of advertising as ill-advised and ill-received in the future.
To be more specific, you include coupons for chicken, ribs, Aunt Jemima® pancakes, hot sauce, and hair relaxer in this pamphlet—items which have historically negative associations with black Americans. There is nothing wrong with these items in and of themselves, of course. I know that plenty of black people use all of these things. What I take issue with, though, is the presumption that these stereotypically-conceived coupons are somehow related to a celebration of black history and achievement.
Please do not get me wrong: I think it’s commendable that you have acknowledged in this pamphlet the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy by highlighting the unveiling of his memorial in Washington, D.C. I also like your interview with the very talented and inspirational Patti LaBelle regarding the memorial, important health issues, and her cooking experiences as a diabetic (along with a couple of her tasty-looking recipes!).
Still, if your goal is truly to “[reflect] on the African-American story and [honor] the men and women who helped to write it,” then I hope that you can appreciate the offensive nature of the images you have conjured up. Such images represent a very negative part of that story and certainly should not be directly or indirectly propagated in attempts to make profits. Please know that you can attract black clientele, like my family and me, without depending on such unenlightened associations with “blackness.”
A Kroger shopper and proud black American
It would be awesome if the company took heed, but we'll just have to see what happens. In any case, I'll let you know.
*MyMagazine is the mailer of exclusive savings sent to Kroger's "best customers."