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The Washington Post reports that yet another big retailer seems to have made a marketing blunder connected to perceived racial bias - in this case, when Whole Foods opened a new 365 store in Long Beach, California, with a pan-Asian restaurant inside called Yellow Fever.

The problem is that while the restaurant - which has two other locations going by the same name - was designed to imply “an attraction or affinity of Asian people or Asian things,” according to co-owner/executive chef Kelly Kim, the terms also carries other meanings.

The Post writes that “Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne infection that kills thousands every year, mostly in Africa, and named for the jaundice hemorrhage that the virus produces. But the phrase is also a common reference to a term associated with a white man’s sexual fascination with Asian women.” And, the story says, the opening of the restaurant “triggered a national outcry on social media, with many criticizing the name’s racist undertones.”
KC's View:
This is one of those no-win situations. The restaurant owners weren’t trying to be racist, though it probably is fair to infer that they were trying to be provocative; they don’t seem ignorant of such concerns.

One thing we do know is that the third restaurant was the one that did it, probably because it is in a 365 store, which got it a lot more attention.

Maybe it blows over, and nothing changes. Maybe it doesn’t blow over, and the name gets changed. I kind of wish people were a little less easily offended, but then again, I’m not the one being offended … my instinct is to change the name, but I’m not sure that really addresses the core problem.