“chang, a 28-year-old entrepreneur, said he watched rap videos like many teenagers. He said he thought his understanding of hip-hop wordplay would make his game acceptable, though the taiwanese immigrant has not set foot in a ghetto since arriving in the united states with his parents at age 8.” – from ‘ghettopoly’ incites protests by darryl fears
and that, it seems, is precisely the problem here. not that a racist and patently offensive (not to mention likely copyright-infringing) board game was developed and produced and allowed to make it to market in major retail outlets throughout these united states. not that the stereotypes and derogatory ideas about people of african descent have continued to fester and reproduce and mutate through the millennia. not that the retailer in question, urban outfitters, who I assume, has a legal team and buying rules and other assorted safeguards to protect against this very thing, still somehow allowed this manichean monstrosity onto their faux distressed wood shelves. and most certainly not that the design itself is tacky and trashy, with very little of the creativity we coloreds are typically known for, and hence an ineffective tribute to our collective genius. no, I believe the most egregious issue at the core of this controversy, is that the creator of this misguided plaything really believed, due to his extensive knowledge of the african diaspora and its children, through what I am sure was an intensive experience gleaned solely from rap videos, that it would all be o.k. that he was, in effect, “down.” as a lover of the culture, he had the right and freedom to do with that culture what he wished. and that we would all be ok with it. bell hooks has written extensively on this issue, as have several others, notably langston hughes. so I must decline to elaborate in words that cannot carry the thoughts better. read for yourselves, but needless to say, I am thoroughly miffed. to put it politely. and not just at chang.
so while you are out there, bragging about how you are pimping the industry that’s trying to pimp you, remember mr. chang. remember ghettopoly. remember little white boys addressing each other as “my nigga.” for all the self-proclaimed pimps out there, for all those who dream of their own stable of bitches, remember this one thing. on the stroll, the pimp is the one collecting the cash, and the hoe is the one spreading her legs, and working for the dollars. pimps provide for the hoe’s needs, they “take care” of them, out of the money the hoes bring in. and it’s always the hoe’s sorry ass that ends up spent. let me know if any of this starts sounding familiar.