Thank god for watchdog organizations like the NAACP. This week they’ve sounded the alarm again, protecting the American people from that notoriously racist company, Hallmark.

Yeah – the greeting card people.

You see, those bigoted bastards at Hallmark have created a card in which two cartoon characters, Hoops and Yoyo, make a terrible racist slur against African-American women. We’re going to check it out below, so you might want to send the kiddies to their rooms… actually, if you let your children read this blog you should probably just turn yourself in to Social Services right now. Anywho, here’s the clip:

Did you catch the racist slur in that? No? Neither did anyone else, for the three years this card has been on the shelves. No one, that is, until earlier this week when someone at the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP caught that line about “black holes.” According to spokesman Leon Jenkins it was "very demeaning to African-American women.” Another member claimed, "It sounds like a group of children laughing and joking about blackness, again."

Never let it be said that the Pontifex Niger is not an equal opportunity ranter. Despite all the white guilt instilled in me by three humanities degrees, I’m not afraid to go to the mat on this one. Apparently the NAACP couldn’t find any real racism to fight this week. This is either an incredibly weak attempt to make something out of nothing, or the most pathetic example of an entire group of people not getting a joke I’ve ever seen. This is just a graduation card, and not a very original one at that – a twist on the old “reach for the stars” trope. There is no reference to race or gender anywhere in it, unless you count the cartoon characters Hoops and Yoyo themselves – they are both persons of color, because one is green and the other is pink…

Where were the cooler heads that should have stopped the NAACP from missing the boat on this? Someone in their office, perhaps a hip, younger staffer should have stepped up at that meeting and said, “Um, sir, this is going to make us look like complete idiots.” Apparently that didn’t happen because instead they held a press conference that made the NAACP look like a chapter of anti-Mensa. While the cameras rolled the questionable phrase was misheard, taken out of context, and the overall theme and content of the card was completely ignored in the name of self-righteous, sanctimonious publicity. Wouldn’t W.E.B. Du Bois be proud…?

Hallmark responded by publishing the script of the card and trying to clarify it’s meaning. The company explained that the card's theme is the solar system and it emphasizes the power of the graduate to take over the universe, even energy-absorbing black holes. “The intent here is to say that this graduate is not afraid of anything," explained Hallmark spokesman Steve Doyal. Not good enough says the NAACP, so Hallmark is pulling the card from its shelves and other retailers have followed suit. Look folks, I’m all for exposing racist speech to the harsh light of day, but Hoops and Yoyo are not the new Amos and Andy, and this is not a racist slur. This is just plain stupid.

On a related note, I’d like to take this opportunity to denounce the product White Out as a racial slur against Gay Caucasians...


Mayren said...

i heard about this and just cringed. I didn't have the guts to blog or chat about it because it's so taboo. Around here, If a white person has issues with a possible claim of racism then that white person is automatically a racist. Yes i know.. i live in California and it's still like that. As a White girl it is not socially acceptable for me to have any opinion regarding the way racism works at all, specially against any Male of colour. YAY Civil Rights right?

His Sinfulness said...

I may be courting the ire of my African-American readers (WNG? Are you out there?) but this was just too silly to let it slide. It reminds me of a SNL sketch in which one of Gilda Radner's characters went on for quite a while about how she didn't understand all the fuss about euthanasia. It seemed fine to her... but you eventually realize that she means, "Youth In Asia."

The big difference here was that when Gilda had the error explained to her, she paused, looked into the camera and said, "Oh -never mind. " If only the NAACP would be that classy.

Post a Comment