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This is so ghetto.
October 9, 2003 3:27 PM   Subscribe

This Monopoly parody is causing quite a fuss among "black leaders". Is it a stereotype of the "ghetto life" image the media shows us? Sure. But is this game (and the "ghetto life" image) a stereotype that you connect directly to dark-skinned people, as the clergymen seem to think?
posted by bhayes82 (66 comments total)

 
That's disgusting, sad and wryly funny at the same time. Unfortunately, parts of it are not perhaps wholly unrealistic.
posted by 111 at 3:54 PM on October 9, 2003


How odd that there are "black leaders" and not, say, "white leaders" or "Asian leaders" or "Latino leaders", etc.

I'm not sure what this means or what I'm saying here. Just strikes me as odd.
posted by Foosnark at 3:57 PM on October 9, 2003


Screw all this PC crap - That's a riot.

It's a pretty big leap to say that this little game says something awful about all black people or whatever the issue they're trying to make is here. If you're protesting this, your time would be better served protesting a lot of rap music, which often contains the same themes and reaches a lot more people.

Lighten up, Francis!
posted by Samsonov14 at 4:02 PM on October 9, 2003


(i put "black leaders" in quotes for that very reason. would a another group of clergymen -- bunch'a old white guys in the suburbs -- be referred to as "white leaders"? or "leaders" of any group besides their church?)

btw, first FPP... good/bad?
posted by bhayes82 at 4:07 PM on October 9, 2003


"Its funny!"
"No! Its offensive!"
"No. Wait. You're both right!"

I think, while offensive, it is amusing and I may even go buy one. I'm pretty liberal and a believer in diversity, but still, what's funny is funny and we all need to roll with the punches. If anything the game's creater needs to hurry up and roll out 'redneckopoly' to keep everything fair and balanced.

Example Redneckopoly card: Dad crushes your smokes during sex, lose five dollars.

Possible game pieces: Monster truck, tractor trailor, jar of mayonaise, A mullet guy, a gal with Mall-Bangs and a vial of meth.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:14 PM on October 9, 2003


I just posted this on my blog earlier today, and was curious to see the reactions of folks. I've seen a lot of it on the news sites, but not too much in the blogosphere on sites I follow this morning and this afternoon. I think some of this stuff is pretty disturbing.... Point taken, elwoodwiles, regarding Redneckopoly - get it out already???
posted by djspicerack at 4:46 PM on October 9, 2003


Redneckopoly - I would buy that. While the game does seem to poke fun at stereotypes, it would not be able to if the stereotypes did not exist in the first place. As long as it is taken in the context that it seems to be intended, I see no problem with it. The PC brigade obviously disagree, which makes it even more attractive in my opinion.
posted by dg at 4:49 PM on October 9, 2003


I suppose saying, "I think this is funny" is going to get you in trouble around here, but c'mon, it is funny... Here in Chicago, folks are up in arms about it, but it's worth noting that Urban Outfitters has sold out all of the stock they had on hand (according to the linked editorial).
posted by JollyWanker at 4:54 PM on October 9, 2003


Wow. That is frickin' hysterical.
posted by tgrundke at 5:13 PM on October 9, 2003


Redneckopoly - I would buy that. While the game does seem to poke fun at stereotypes, it would not be able to if the stereotypes did not exist in the first place. As long as it is taken in the context that it seems to be intended, I see no problem with it. The PC brigade obviously disagree, which makes it even more attractive in my opinion.

I'd buy it too, but I have a feeling there wouldn't be as many (if any) protests against it, you know since it's okay to hate on fuckin' whitey.
posted by angry modem at 5:22 PM on October 9, 2003


It is funny in some respects, but mostly as an absurd caraciture of the ghetto and its characteristics. The consistent references to 'crack,' for instance (crack is one of the game pieces, and one can improve on the properties by purchasing crack houses) unquestionably reflects an image of the ghetto as it existed in the late eighties, rather that it exists today. In this respect, it is consistent with the popular image of the ghetto and its residents, but entirely inconsistent with the working class neighborhoods we tend to call ghettos, where the vast majority of residents struggle against poverty without getting involved in crime and drugs. 'Black leaders' are legitimately annoyed at this, because it represents an absurd, and absurdly popular image of the ghetto that in its own way infantilizes and criminalizes its residents.

Plus, the fact that this is sold at Urban Outfitters, a store whose major target market is middle class suburban white kids, in my mind speaks volumes.
posted by amauck at 5:59 PM on October 9, 2003


BHayes - I think this is a good FPP, but that's just my opinion. I thought about posting it myself.

As far as whether or not the images that are portrayed are offensive, I am going to start with the caricature of the "ghetto" persona on the cover of the game. The fact that the person is depicted as being black with a huge nose and over-inflated lips does not escape notice. The fact that a 40oz and a basketball are among the game pieces doesn't go unnoticed either. 40ozs of malt liquor are most always marketed directly at urban black males. I won't even go there about basketball. You already know what's up.

If you want to make fun of ghetto, make fun of ghetto. Black people are not the only ones that live in the ghetto, smoke crack and get high on 40oz, yet they seem to have been made the focus of this game. It is this that I find offensive. The game itself could be funny if the funny were fair and balanced, but it's not.

The website says that the coming attractions are Hoodopoly, Hiphopopoly, Thugopoly and Redneckopoly. Personally, I think he just threw the Redneckopoly in there so it wouldn't seem like he was being as racist as he is.

On Preview, what amauck said about it being sold at Urban Outfitters. I mean, come on!
posted by monique at 6:09 PM on October 9, 2003


I'd buy it too, but I have a feeling there wouldn't be as many (if any) protests against it, you know since it's okay to hate on fuckin' whitey

Angry Modem, I understand that you are being glib, but I would suggest that the dominant image of African Americans in the media suggests that, despite the occasional expression of distaste, it is publicly acceptable to essentialize and stereotype blacks at will. MTV does it all the time simply because it sells well. It is because the ghetto image has become so fully naturalized that we do not see it as the absurd stereotype that it is. Accordingly, when we describe rednecks it is funny and somehow unthreatening. When we describe the ghetto (this game excepted), it is for the most part not even funny. It just 'is,' since it is the image of reality we are offered from virtually every media outlet. It is this ubiquity that allows people to suggest that black leaders are making too much of this game. This is not a 'PC' argument, since it is not as if this is an occasional joke: it is the dominant image the white public has of black people in America. You know, the standard 'PC police' argument is a total phantom. If anything, all I see is people saying whatever the hell they want with little regard for its implications. They have a right to say it, but that doesn't mean we don't have a right to call them on it.
posted by amauck at 7:01 PM on October 9, 2003


"These Asians hang out in packs. Within the packs, the women are sex-craved fiends."
posted by poopy at 7:34 PM on October 9, 2003


It is because the ghetto image has become so fully naturalized that we do not see it as the absurd stereotype that it is.

Hallelujah! Someone gets it right, at least in my book. Sad thing is, I drive through the LA ghetto's every day, and I see people perpetuating this exact image that the "black leaders" and "clergyman" are fighting against. It's almost so bad that it seems like a parody of itself. Just my opinion of what I see on the streets....

I'd absolutely love to see all ghettos cleaned up and see a lot more (legal) contributors to society. Life in LA would be nicer without having a gun shoved in your face once or twice a year... and I speak from experience.

I doubt that Arnold will fix this, d'oh! :(
posted by starscream at 7:46 PM on October 9, 2003


This is not a 'PC' argument, since it is not as if this is an occasional joke: it is the dominant image the white public has of black people in America.

We're all in big, big trouble if that's true. Look, the ghetto sucks, no matter where you are. Crackheads hang out in the ghetto, crime is much worse there, and drugs are easy to find. That's how you know you're in the ghetto. I know because I used to buy weed there.

Much like Starscream, I work and live in an urban area. We've got whites, blacks, asians, midgets, whatever. Yes, the ghettoes in New York are mostly black, but that doesn't mean that some game called Ghettopoly is a representation of black people as a whole. Didn't the Cosby Show teach white people anything?

I'm not going to get into one of those "some of my best freinds are X" things, but if anyone is blind enough to have their views on race or culture influenced by a novelty boardgame, that person is beyond saving anyway. I'd like to think that we can all recognize this as a joke, not a representation of the entire black culture. Sheesh. Is the "white public" that dumb?
posted by Samsonov14 at 8:12 PM on October 9, 2003


If this is a joke, then it has gotten pretty old in my book.

Yes, the ghettoes in New York are mostly black, but that doesn't mean that some game called Ghettopoly is a representation of black people as a whole. Didn't the Cosby Show teach white people anything?

By that logic you could bring back blackface and say it just represents one facet of the black population. After all, this was supposed to be funny too.
posted by amauck at 8:28 PM on October 9, 2003


Has anyone noticed that the first link does in fact promise that "Redneckopoly" (among others) is "coming soon"?

was it like that from the beginning, or should elwoodwiles sue?
posted by yhbc at 8:46 PM on October 9, 2003


Okay, maybe my logic sucks. Here's the thing, though - by painting your face black, you're playing the part of all black people. When you make a boardgame about the ghetto, you're not painting a picture of an entire race. Just the really shitty parts of Manhattan above 116th street. And not all of the people who live there are thugs or whatever, but that's just what you notice when you go there to buy weed.

The game is making fun of a part of the city (many cities, I suppose, but I only know this one) that actually exists. It sucks that it's real, but it is.

The Cosby Show thing was supposed to be a joke, by the way. Sometimes it's hard to get that across in a post.
posted by Samsonov14 at 8:59 PM on October 9, 2003


This deserves a "LOL" I really tossed around the idea of a Monopoly like game ( like 1995 ) dealing with NY's Lower East Side...you know dope, squatting this that the other thing.

Glad to some kinda urban ____opoly version fleshed out. I am sure this game is destined to be a favorite, giving the priviledged blue blood private schooler's a chance to keep it real vicariously.

I did not look close - but could there possibly be a Get out of Jail free card in this game?
posted by RubberHen at 9:23 PM on October 9, 2003


The ethically liberated can bow towards the altar of Limbaugh for his enabling permission to be daringly unPC, and then can make snide comments about the PC Brigade, but not to put to fine a point on it:

it's racist as hell.

End of story.
posted by y2karl at 10:47 PM on October 9, 2003


It's certainly tasteless, but it's nothing to be that concerned over, especially since this isn't the first time that ghetto life has been milked for its entertainment value. We can thank the movie and music industry for that.
posted by Down10 at 12:45 AM on October 10, 2003


Lots of things are racist and still funny. A lot of comedy relies on taking stereotypes to their absurd limits. A white guy at a dance-off in a gay bar. An Italian guy in a Dodge Dart. An Asian porn star named Luang Dong. Most white people I know think Eddie Murphy doing a "white guy" impression is funny as hell. The context and intent should be considered when deciding whether to be offended or amused. Of course, some people are just humorless curmudgeons that need a good stick-removing proctologist.

The ethically liberated have been ignoring Political Correctness since long before Rush Limbaugh; and we wouldn't bow to him, anyway: his brand of "unPC" is riddled with anger and mean-spiritedness.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:48 AM on October 10, 2003


I imagine Hasbro will take any profits made on this game and shut down the Ghettopoly operation, as they own the Monopoly brand.
That is what has happened in the UK when people have tried to use the Monopoly board game idea in the past.
posted by asok at 2:08 AM on October 10, 2003


Oh yeah, that's rough. Give me a freakin' break.

If this has got the black leaders up in arms, they have to much free time.

Aren't there actual problems that need to be fixed?
posted by Yossarian at 6:25 AM on October 10, 2003


On his Web site, Chang is unapologetic, and promises that more games -- Hoodopoly, Hiphopopoly, Thugopoly and Redneckopoly -- are coming soon.

No Chinatownopoly, Mr. Chang? Parodist, spoof thyself.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 AM on October 10, 2003


Black clergymen say the game, the brainchild of a Pennsylvania man, should be banned.

Most disturbing part of the article, imho.

it's racist as hell.

End of story.


I guess I still don't see that logic. It expressly refers to a particular socioeconomic phenomenon (the "ghetto") which, almost by definition, is populated by pimps, hos, drug dealers, drug users, as well as some people simply trying to get by in life. It's not "Blackopoly," it's "Ghettopoly." Of course blacks tend to make up the majority of inner-city ghettos, but Chang didn't create that dynamic. He's merely satarizing the culture, and it's a culture that (imho) shouldn't be defended. I'd much rather see ghetto culture satarized than glorified (see any of thousands of "gangsta" videos).
posted by pardonyou? at 6:52 AM on October 10, 2003


'Black leaders' are legitimately annoyed at this, because it represents an absurd, and absurdly popular image of the ghetto that in its own way infantilizes and criminalizes its residents.

Urban Outfitters, where the game is sold, and Mtv, which turns the stylised ghetto caricature into enormous profit through videos and programs, have quite an overlap of consumers.
The same thing with Old Navy, although not as many people find the products there as offensive as I do.
posted by the fire you left me at 7:36 AM on October 10, 2003


It's not "Blackopoly," it's "Ghettopoly." Of course blacks tend to make up the majority of inner-city ghettos, but Chang didn't create that dynamic.

Having it both ways, are we? Oooh, hold that hair still--I'll get the razor!

Make excuses for an all you eat racist hog trough all you wish--out of out and out racism, many, if not most, customers will be purchasing that game. Fuck that shit--I'm not providing cover for crypto- or out and out racists to revel in their racism in the public arena.

It's cool to be unPC and make against the social grain jokes and comments? OK: Imagine a game called Pedopoly. Anyone want to sign on for that? What? I thought you all were the big brave UnPC warriors. Just depends upon which PC, I guess.

The notion that there are PC Police is a fake, a phony right wing shibboleth for the people preach to the choir, who sell books and videos to the converted. It provides a fig leaf for out and out overt racists who want to tell racist jokes and make racist remarks when in theory,at least, racist jokes and remarks publicly uttered are shunned in polite society according to the current tacit social consensus.

There is only acceptable outlet for such: spoken private conversation. We all say things in front of intimates we wouldn't dare say anywhere else. That's part of being human--venting in front of intimates who know exactly what you stand for. Saying something or aplogizing for something in a public arena that tacitly endorses or enables a social evil is another matter altogether.

Here's a handy rule of thumb--imagine the reaction you'd get telling that racist joke you heard that was so hilariously unPC but, you know, so funny--imagine telling it or making such a smarmy rationale as made above to the black people at work. Insert gay or women where appropriate.

Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue, La Rochefoucauld wrote, and this is where that rule applies.

Cutting edge humor is one thing, throwing meat to the wolves is another--go far enough and the cutting edge ends in an ugly place. Cutting edge is an aspect and outgrowth of the Bohemian impulse, it could be argued, but then, on the other hand, for example, it can be argued German National Socialism sprang from the Bohemian impulse as well--after all, if there was anything close to religion for the failed artist whose name is most associated with it, it was Art with a capital A.
posted by y2karl at 7:41 AM on October 10, 2003


The ethically liberated can bow towards the altar of Limbaugh for his enabling permission to be daringly unPC, and then can make snide comments about the PC Brigade, but not to put to fine a point on it:

it's racist as hell.

End of story.


Properly speaking, I'd call it more classist than racist.
posted by *burp* at 7:44 AM on October 10, 2003


It expressly refers to a particular socioeconomic phenomenon (the "ghetto") which, almost by definition, is populated by pimps, hos, drug dealers, drug users, as well as some people simply trying to get by in life.

The point is that the latter category is FAR more common than people make it out to be, while the former categories are exceedingly dominant. This is entirely out of touch with the reality of the ghetto.
posted by amauck at 8:00 AM on October 10, 2003


Properly speaking, I'd call it more classist than racist.

Given the fact that most ghettos are fairly multiracial, but that this game appears to be entirely oriented towards black culture, I would suggest that racism is entirely the right attribution.
posted by amauck at 8:02 AM on October 10, 2003


Having it both ways, are we? Oooh, hold that hair still--I'll get the razor!

No, I'm not. My point is that it's the culture that has grown up around the ghetto that's offensive, and worthy of ridicule. Criticizing ghetto culture is not the same as criticizing the black race, even if the majority of people who live in ghettos are black. Remember: The majority of blacks do not live in the ghetto, and the majority of blacks have not adopted ghetto culture.

Using your logic, ghetto culture should be immune from criticism because of the racial makeup of ghetto residents. That's absurd. I wouldn't find "Redneckopoly" to be making fun of white people -- it would be making fun of a certain culture that happened to be made up primarily (entirely?) of white people.

On preview: The point is that the latter category is FAR more common than people make it out to be...

If so, so what? The former category still exists. Pimps and hos and crack dealers shouldn't be criticized or made fun of just because most of the people who live in ghettos are decent, law-abiding people?
posted by pardonyou? at 8:15 AM on October 10, 2003


End of story.

For me, you lost the argument right there Karl. pardonyou?, on the other hand, is a lot more convincing...
posted by i_cola at 8:26 AM on October 10, 2003


The notion that there are PC Police is a fake, a phony right wing shibboleth for the people preach to the choir, who sell books and videos to the converted.

It's an exaggeration. But there are people (I've met them) who get offended needlessly and see racism, sexism, and homophobia in everything. Conversley, there are right wingers who see communists under their beds, and Christians who see satanic messages in their Alpha Bits. It's all a similar mindset, which has more to do with Freud than politics in my opinion.

Here's a handy rule of thumb--imagine the reaction you'd get telling that racist joke you heard that was so hilariously unPC but, you know, so funny--imagine telling it or making such a smarmy rationale as made above to the black people at work. Insert gay or women where appropriate.

It depends on the joke. And it depends on the nature of my relationship to the person. I've worked in plenty of very racially mixed enviornments and there was lots of ethnic joshing going around and pretty much everybody gave as good as they got, and afterwards we all went out for a beer.

Pretending that cultural differences don't exist, and that no humor can come out of it silly. That said, this game is a bit much. He's free to put it out of course, but I wouldn't buy it, mainly cause it ain't that funny.
posted by jonmc at 8:37 AM on October 10, 2003


I'm with you, pardonyou.

Now that Karl has brought German National Socialism and pedophilia into the mix, I'm just waiting for someone to bring up the fact that "ghettoes" used to be where the Jews were confined in Europe back in the day. Then this thing's really going to get ridiculous.
posted by Samsonov14 at 8:45 AM on October 10, 2003


i'm also with pardonyou?... and jonmc in that i wouldn't buy it because it's more gimmicky stupid than funny.
posted by poopy at 8:54 AM on October 10, 2003


Given the fact that most ghettos are fairly multiracial, but that this game appears to be entirely oriented towards black culture, I would suggest that racism is entirely the right attribution.

Point taken. It's probably both. But I'd be willing to bet that the motivation for it was, ultimately, more class-influenced than race-influenced.
posted by *burp* at 8:59 AM on October 10, 2003


Pretending that cultural differences don't exist, and that no humor can come out of it silly. That said, this game is a bit much. He's free to put it out of course, but I wouldn't buy it, mainly cause it ain't that funny.
posted by jonmc at 10:37 AM CST on October 10

Yep.
posted by COBRA! at 9:00 AM on October 10, 2003


Also, I wouldn't be surprised if this game was popular among some segments of the black community. Many black people I've known wear the terms "ghetto" and "ghetto fabulous" as badges of authenticity.

This has it's upside and downside. Some aspects of "ghetto culture" (and I do mean "ghetto culture" as opposed to black culture, a term so broad as to be almost meaningless, and I've lived in neighborhoods in ghetto areas or as close as makes no difference)-the music, the food, the slang are appealing, inspiring and personal favorites of mine, but it can be harmful to define yourself so strictly and somewhat oppositionally.
posted by jonmc at 9:12 AM on October 10, 2003


> it's racist as hell.

Looks like stark social realism to me. But then everything I know about geto culcha was sold to me over the radio by R Kelly and 2 Live Crew. If such Negroes In Good Standing as these tell me stuff about their own culture, I'm entitled to believe every syllable. You needn't tell me I got it from the Klan because I didn't. I got it from 50 Cent.
posted by jfuller at 10:12 AM on October 10, 2003


Personally, I read this as another instance of turning the reality of poor inner-city communities into funhouse image in which black people and poor people are blamed for their own problems.

People's reaction to the game is telling in its own right. Whose culture? Whose values? Should we recognize and tolerate different values? (I come down strongly in favor of tolerance and diversity and every PC thing you could think of, too, but...) This is a big scam—the scam of culture.

The ghetto is real only in the sense that, yes, there are neighborhoods that are strikingly worse off in every way that are within blocks of neighborhoods that are strikingly affluent. The ghetto is unreal in that it doesn't have a distinct "culture" which can account for this difference.

I'm really surprised by how many people have already said that this "rings true" or is "sadly accurate," even while professing how offended they are. That's the kind of PC thought I just can't stand; let's hypocritically tolerate a culture invented by MTV, even though we secretly take satisfaction in the fact that we were lucky to have been raised better. How convenient a concept that culture is. You never have think about the inherent unfairness in the American culture we all share!
posted by rschram at 11:03 AM on October 10, 2003


The ghetto is real only in the sense that, yes, there are neighborhoods that are strikingly worse off in every way that are within blocks of neighborhoods that are strikingly affluent. The ghetto is unreal in that it doesn't have a distinct "culture" which can account for this difference.

Damn right. I am sorry, but the point is that the "pimps, hos and crackheads" are such small part of the life of most inner city neighborhoods (even the very poor ones), to make this absurd. Just because it looms large in popular culture, and just because 'luminaries' such as 2 live crew profess it to be a real phenomenon, doesn't mean that it is the case.

(If anyone has seen "Bamboozled," or read "Boondocks" in the last three years, they will know that there is striking divergence among Black Americans concerning the viability, authenticity, and consequences of ghetto culture. PLEASE do not take MTV as your benchmark!)
posted by amauck at 12:13 PM on October 10, 2003


Oh, and as I think I mentioned earlier, ther are very few crackheads anymore (many users have died; some have stopped. There have been few new users). Just the fact that we still refer to 'crackheads' in the ghetto tells me how out of touch many people's perceptions are.
posted by amauck at 12:16 PM on October 10, 2003


I'm watching the people trying to defend this and come up with reasons why it's okay, and I still can't shake that this is just the modern day minstrel show-- a stereotype overexaggerated and played up by white audiences for their own amusement.
posted by nath at 12:47 PM on October 10, 2003


amauck, have you've EVER lived in the ghetto, drove through the neighborhoods, conversed with the people? if so, then i might listen. otoh, if you're just another spoonfed educated progressive, then i immediately dismiss you and any scientific statistics you might present as fact.
posted by poopy at 1:01 PM on October 10, 2003


There are many different types of disadvantaged neighborhoods in America, but poor urban minority neighborhoods seem to be especially unhealthy. Some of these neighborhoods have the highest mortality rates in the country, but this is not, as many believe, mainly because of drug overdoses and gunshot wounds. It is because of chronic diseases -- mainly diseases of adulthood that are probably not caused by viruses, bacteria or other infections and that include stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.

Since the time of slavery, physicians have noted that the health of impoverished blacks is, in general, worse than that of whites. Racist doctors proposed that the reasons were genetic, and that blacks were intrinsically inferior and physically weaker than whites. But there is very little evidence that poor blacks or Hispanics are genetically predisposed to the vast majority of the afflictions from which they disproportionately suffer. As the living conditions of blacks have improved over the past century, their health improved in step; when conditions deteriorated, health deteriorated, too. This has helped support the contention among researchers that much chronic disease among minority groups is caused not by genes, but by something else.

The best we have at the moment are theories that fall into two main schools of thought. One school holds that the problem has mainly to do with stress; the other holds actual deprivation responsible. These two factors are often intertwined, but the emphasis is important. "There are so many fists in the face of poor African-Americans," says Arline Geronimus, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan who leans toward the stress school, and she proceeded to list them for me. They have enormous family obligations, she explained, and while the middle class are able to purchase child care and care for elderly relatives, the poor cannot. The experience of racism and discrimination in everyday life is also still very real, and very stressful. She says that blacks are faced with a society that institutionalizes the idea "that you are a menace -- and that demeans you," she says. Nancy Krieger, a Harvard researcher, found that working-class African-Americans who said they accepted unfair treatment as a fact of life had higher blood pressure than those who challenged it.

Geronimus calls the grinding everyday stress of being poor and marginalized in America "weathering," a condition not unlike the effect of exposure to wind and rain on houses. Listening to Geronimus describe "weathering," I found it hard not to wonder whether anyone really knows what it is. Stress is subjective, a feeling, and it means different things to different people. Philip Alcabes, associate professor of urban public health at Hunter College, says that stress is like the miasma that was once thought to cause cholera in 19th-century slums. "You can't see it, you can't really measure it, but it floats over certain people, especially the poor, and makes them sick."

Ha, ha ha. Stop — you're killing me.
posted by sudama at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2003


Amuak, from your own link above:

It really is pretty bad around here. There's quite a few grandmothers taking care of kids. They mothers out here on crack. There's quite a few of 'em. The drugs are terrible. Now, I got a fifteen-year-old boy, and I do everything I can to keep him straight. `Cause they [drug dealers and users] all on the corner. You can't say you not in it, 'cause we in a bad area. They be all on the corner. They be sittin' in front of apartments takin' the crack. And constantly, every day, I have to stay on 'em and make sure everything's OK. Which is real bad, I never seen it this bad. And I been around here since '81, and I never seen it this bad. At nights they be roamin' up and down the streets, and they be droppin' the caps [used crack vials] all in front of your door.

I'm just saying.
posted by Samsonov14 at 1:28 PM on October 10, 2003


I have been over broad but still I maintain this game crosses the line.

I wouldn't find "Redneckopoly" to be making fun of white people -- it would be making fun of a certain culture that happened to be made up primarily (entirely?) of white people.

And members of that culture might have an opinion of that. So then, while we discuss the possibilities, how do you feel about a game called Jewopoly?

As for getting your information about the ghetto from rap artists, if it's coming from the creators of a hyperreal fantasy of criminality, sexism and internalized racism whose paychecks are paid by white teenagers, it might as well be coming from the Klan as far as I am concerned.

It was the whole niggas thing that came from gangsta rap, which made me, besides the fact that life is short and one can only hear so much of anything, made me listening to a lot of hip hop--Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's They Reminisce Over You was about the last thing I liked, I'm so out of it---because I don't see any reclaiming the word in that context, but a perpetuation of the base meaning.

On a sidenote--Christ, I am sick of people causing themselves permanent hearing loss, driving cars with sound systems that go BOOM, muthafucka, muthafucka at industrial noise pollution volumes... one could write an EIS on The Effects of 2¢ on Downtown Shoppers. I suppose it's a defensive coping mechanism, a marking of territory or psychic space on one hand, but there's always an act of malice involved in playing that crap that loud in public, on the other. You kids get off my lawn!
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on October 10, 2003


On his Web site, Chang is unapologetic, and promises that more games -- Hoodopoly, Hiphopopoly, Thugopoly and Redneckopoly -- are coming soon... "It draws on stereotypes not as a means to degrade, but as a medium to bring together in laughter," Chang maintains, adding, "If we can't laugh at ourselves ... we'll continue to live in blame and bitterness."
Ah. Ha ha ha. No mention of a game featuring a bucktoothed Asian stereotype pulling a rickshaw through a laundromat. I suppose those kind of jokes stop being funny when it starts being you.

poopy? I have lived in the ghetto, talked to the people, seen them up close etc. Hell, I live there right now. I can personally vouch for most of what amauck is saying. The great majority of people living there are poor but perfectly honest and upstanding citizens who nonetheless find themselves perpetually stereotyped by the abhorrent behavior of the self-destructive minority. I didn't realize that police stopped us for "random" searches because we looked poor. Thanks for the enlightenment.

I... don't even have time to properly cover all the stereotypical idiocy I see in this thread. And of course, there's nary a supporting link to be found in here: just overblown conjecture masquerading as objective fact. "I heard it on the radio, so it must be true"? Spare me. I especially like the posts that basically say "I have no actual knowledge about the subject, but..." Here's an idea: if you don't know what you're talking about, stop talking.

I have to go. I'll check back Monday. Another brilliantly asinine thread about race. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by tyro urge at 2:12 PM on October 10, 2003


Karl, I still don't agree with what you said before, but I love Reminisce. I was in about 9th grade when it came out. Brings back memories. The rest of that CD sucked, though.

Using "Jewopoly" in your comment is a lot better than your earlier "Pedopoly", but I still think you're painting with too broad a brush here. The name Jewopoly pretty much says that it's a game about Jews - All of 'em. Ghettopoly, on the other hand, only refers to the worst of bad neighborhoods. Check out the link that Amauk posted before to see what I'm talking about. It's the "street" people (as opposed to the "decent" people) that the game is making fun of here. I didn't know the terminology before, but if you read the article I think you might see what I mean.

It sucks that "the ghetto" is predominantly black, but if you read that article you'll see that the themes they're making fun of are very real. It may be in bad taste (which I'm kind of a fan of), but I still don't think it's racist. It's not a blanket indictment of all black people, that's for sure.

It's good that we agree on old rap, though. Ah, metafilter.
posted by Samsonov14 at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2003


> As for getting your information about the ghetto from rap
> artists, if it's coming from the creators of a hyperreal fantasy
> of criminality, sexism and internalized racism whose
> paychecks are paid by white teenagers, it might as well be
> coming from the Klan as far as I am concerned.

Well, we knew it was the white devils' fault somehow. So P Diddy is really just the latest sellout/panderer to white kulturkampf? Just the now version of Step'n'Fetchit?

Do you say this on the radio? If not, why not?
posted by jfuller at 2:18 PM on October 10, 2003


tyro urge, stereotyping ANY group can be seen as a bad thing. however, if that's the case, then we might as well boycott/censor anyone who makes fun of another's race/socioeconomic crowd, including:

pryor, groening, trey and matt, lear, etc...

the real question is: does this game cross the blurred parody line?
posted by poopy at 2:42 PM on October 10, 2003


I think the question is: is it insensitive and hurtful, and do we want to be associated with that? We don't have to boycott or censor something in order to distance ourselves from the bigots and idiots who promote it.

For those who couldn't be bothered to read the few paragraphs I quoted above, it's quite likely that 'soft' racism (like this boardgame, and the endless ripples of chuckles and winks that accompany its discovery throughout the valiantly un-PC crowd) kills.
posted by sudama at 2:51 PM on October 10, 2003


Samsonov 14, If you'll notice, the book came out several years ago, and was based on research in the early 1990s when crack was still a major problem.

If you want furter support for this argument, check out this site, from which I obtained the following excerpt (not that this is the DOJ website).

The following is an excerpt from the site:

The level of cocaine use in the United States has remained high and relatively stable since the mid-1990s, with a slight indication of downward trends for most age groups. According to the 2000 NHSDA, past year use of powdered cocaine for all age groups declined from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 1.5 percent in 2000, while past year use of crack cocaine decreased significantly from 0.5 to 0.3 percent.

According to MTF data, the rates of past year use of powdered cocaine among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders trended downward between 1999 and 2000; the decline for twelfth graders--6.2 percent to 5.0 percent--was statistically significant. The 2000 rates for powdered cocaine use are well above the lowest levels recorded for eighth graders (1991) and for tenth and twelfth graders (1992). Regarding crack cocaine, the MTF further reveals that past year use remained stable among eighth graders at 1.8 percent between 1999 and 2000. Among tenth graders, past year use of crack declined from 2.4 percent to 2.2 percent, although the change was not statistically significant. Past year use of crack among twelfth graders for the same period did show a significant decrease from 2.7 to 2.2 percent.


The rest of the data shows cocaine to continue to be a significant problem among young people, but I can assure you that data from the last three years is consistent with the overall course of this trend.

Poopy, it is frankly irrelevant where I live, whether it be in East Saint Louis or the Gold Coast. This is never a good standard by which to judge the legitimacy of a claim. Never.
posted by amauck at 3:03 PM on October 10, 2003


not: note
posted by amauck at 3:04 PM on October 10, 2003


It's the "street" people (as opposed to the "decent" people) that the game is making fun of here.

Then what the hell is up with the basketball, or even the 40? I don't buy that the game is that focused.

In theory, the kind of parody this game is doing is possible to pull off fairly. In reality, it's damn hard, and even if you succeed you'll piss people off. Satire is all about power relationships, you know.
posted by furiousthought at 3:09 PM on October 10, 2003


We don't have to boycott or censor something in order to distance ourselves from the bigots and idiots who promote it.

again, where do you draw the line? personally, i couldn't care less about the game because it just looks like another marketing scheme. otoh, would we even be arguing if it were a game about drunken upper-middle-class whiteys?
posted by poopy at 3:13 PM on October 10, 2003


> I especially like the posts that basically say "I have no
> actual knowledge about the subject, but..." Here's an idea:
> if you don't know what you're talking about, stop talking.

The subject is image versus reality. Anyone who has knowledge of either the image or the reality has some knowledge of the subject.

Now then, I know a large number of very high profile Black folks who are projecting a certain image of a certain kind of culture.

If you say it is a false image I'll take your word with due seriousness. It is, nevertheless, the main source of information most people worldwide have about American Black culture. If you're outraged at the people who swallow the false image, do you also have some anger left over for the people who're pushing it? All of them, or just this trashy Chang person and the others who aren't Black? If Dr. Dre gets a git out a jail fre card from you for his participation then I guess all the rest of us deserve one too.
posted by jfuller at 3:49 PM on October 10, 2003


I am actually far more bothered by the producers of this contrived image than I am the consumers, who are somewhat complicit in the construction of this image (they want more of it, so they get it), but don't do the mock-up or production work.
posted by amauck at 7:11 PM on October 10, 2003


This game is obviously both tasteless and racist in the context of America's sad history and present treatment of minorities. Couching such bullshit in terms of "the ghetto" is the same old song and dance. Blame the victims.

Looks like stark social realism to me. But then everything I know about geto culcha was sold to me over the radio by R Kelly and 2 Live Crew. If such Negroes In Good Standing as these tell me stuff about their own culture, I'm entitled to believe every syllable. You needn't tell me I got it from the Klan because I didn't. I got it from 50 Cent.

This is, of course, precisely the kind of swill apologists for racism going all the way back to American slavery have used. Why, did you know some black musicians "push ghetto culture"? Why, it must therefore be ok for a historically racist society (and this idiot game designer) to continue to bash that culture with a broad bat. Why, did you know some black folks use the word nigger? Racist language must therefore be ok for a historically racist society to use. Why, did you know that some black folk argued for separate schools? Segregation must be ok. Why, did you know that some black folk even fought for the Confederacy? Slavery must be ok.

America spawned institutionalized racism and the very ghettoes some mean-spirited buffoons now believe are fodder for crude jokes. America helped create some very awfully particular classes of poor people. There is absolutely nothing funny about the genesis or the fruits of American racism.

Now then, I know a large number of very high profile Black folks who are projecting a certain image of a certain kind of culture....It is, nevertheless, the main source of information most people worldwide have about American Black culture.

Now then...."a large number". Can you give us your exact N so we can crunch the stats ourselves? And they are "the main source"? Wow. One had no idea that hundreds of years of proud African American history and the unique and varied lives and contributions of millions of African American individuals had been magically superceded by what jfuller has learned of "American Black Culture" from that intellectual goldmine called TeeVee from his ownest own couch. Congratulations. Ugh. Really wonderful generalizations....particularly in light of the very contexts mentioned above.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:01 PM on October 10, 2003


Like it or not, f_a_m, I would bet that Americans learn more about "black culture" from television and radio then they did by reading why the caged bird sings in high school.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:07 PM on October 10, 2003


otoh, would we even be arguing if it were a game about drunken upper-middle-class whit money grubbing, corporate media and bank controlling, Israel supporting kikeys?

If Dr. Dre gets a git out a jail fre card from you for his participation then I guess all the rest of us deserve one too.

So, jfuller, speaking of false images on a related topic, as I recall, when the Justice Department, at the President's direction, sought to help overturn University of Michigan’s affirmative action policy, only Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, out of the whole civilian side of the Bush Administration, along with Norman Schwartzkopf, Wesley Clark, several other retired line officers and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and pretty much the entire upper echelons of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, on the military side of the ledger, openly supported, by public statements on the part of the first two and briefs of amicus curiae for the latter, the U of Michigan policy in particular and the concept of affirmative action in general--why do you think that is?

What possible reason could there be, do you suppose, for these individuals and institutions to go to the extent of openly opposing the President and his Justice Department in this matter?

I mean, if Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, who are the two highest ranking black members--no ghettopoly stereotypes there, by the way--of the current administration, and nearly the entire military leadership, past and present in this country support affirmative action, don't you think you and I deserve to be in support of affirmative action, too?
posted by y2karl at 10:47 PM on October 10, 2003


Pretending that cultural differences don't exist, and that no humor can come out of it silly.

You know, jonmc, I shouldn't have used the work example. I worked in multi-racial environments, too--albeit in temporary positions at law firms and financial publishers--so I didn't have such intimate man-of-the-people relationships with my black coworkers that topics related to race were often aired, let alone made the subject of light hearted banter. Which is something, in the contemporary office, that could lead to instant termination and being escorted to the elevator and out of the building immediately, if overheard by a supervisor--at least in Seattle.

Oh, by the way, how many times a year did you socialize with your nonwhite coworkers away from after work or work related functions and how much social contact do you think you would have had with them at all, were there not affirmative action? I contend there would be none.

Anyway, to be clear, let's change my rule of thumb to the strictly public arena--would you attempt to share a laugh about such humor as Ghettopoly with just met African-American strangers on the bus or in a store? What would the chances be of making light of cultural differences there without misunderstanding?
posted by y2karl at 10:49 PM on October 10, 2003


My PC's been down all weekend so it took me a long time to respond. Sorry, 'bout that.

Actually, when I was in Florida, all my co-workers except for one supervisor were black or hispanic and I lived in 80% nonwhite are, so I socialized almost exclusively with non-whites. In my cube at work right now there's 3 black people, a gay Puerto Rican guy and me. When I worked in a bread factory, I was the only white guy in my department. And when I was in a smaller bakery, I was one of 2 native-born white boys in the department.

I don't like playing the "cred" game, but you asked.

Anyway, to be clear, let's change my rule of thumb to the strictly public arena--would you attempt to share a laugh about such humor as Ghettopoly with just met African-American strangers on the bus or in a store?

I said before I didn't find the game that funny. But there's obviously a difference between strangers on the bus and people you're in close quarters with.

But I'll give you a similar example. When I was working in a video store on NYC's upper west side in 1990, we put "The Best Of Eddie Murphy" on the overhead screen. When it got to the Tyrone Greene and his Reggae Band's "Kill Da White People" routine, the two co-workers with me, an Italian kid from Bensonhurst and a Black kid from the Bronx wre publicly falling over ourselves laughing, which seemed to freak out more than a few customers.

And I never claimed to have a problem with affirmative action. Also these were bottom-level servise positions I was working in, and this was the northeast for the most part which almost guarantees a racial mixture.
posted by jonmc at 6:32 AM on October 13, 2003


Dammit, Metafilter ate my post!

I forgot about this thread until I read this. One quick post before I'm gone for the weekend:

Like jonmc, I realize that sometimes jokes are just jokes (even weak ones in poor taste). What really pulled me into this thread was the immediate "the really are all like that, you know" slant the thread began to take: no corroboration or links or support, of course, just slanderous conjecture about a subject that I doubt certain posters are very familiar with. Jokes and caricatures are fine-- until fools begin trying to apply the stereotypical assumptions from the jokes to real life. How the hell would you feel if I started posting about how all white men are fat drunk and stupid because I saw Animal House once?

Here is a link to samhsa.gov. The have exhaustive statistics on various forms of substance abuse broken down by age, race, gender, and other characteristics. I think I'll come back through on Monday and highlight some of the more interesting little factoids I found there, if only to put some actual information into this thread to counter all the conjecture and hearsay that typically gets planted in these race-related threads.
posted by tyro urge at 1:59 PM on October 24, 2003


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