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All posts copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le.
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The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

December 4, 2004

Written by C.N.

“Ghettopoly” Creates a Storm of Controversy

Orignally posted Oct. 2003

David Chang, a Chinese American entrepreneur, had an idea that he could create a version of the classic board game Monopoly, except his version is centered on an inner-city ghetto theme and features caricatures of Blacks holding sub-machine guns, bottles of malt liquor, crack houses, prostitutes, etc. Needless to say, his idea of “fun and games” touched off an overwhelming torrent of criticism and charges of racism.

Ghettopoly graphic © Ghettopoly.com

After being bombarded by protests, Urban Outfitters, eBay, and Yahoo! recently decided to pull the game from their shelves and sites. Recently, Hasbro (the company who makes the original Monopoly) filed suit against David Chang for copyright and trademark infringement.

David Chang claims to be completely surprised by all the criticism and says that he is trying to unite racial/ethnic groups together in laughter while exercising his rights to free speech at the same time. Unfortunately, he apparently doesn’t understand that in the same way that he can express his views, we also have the right to tell him what a dumb ass ignorant idiot he is.

It’s been gratifying to see that people, groups, and organizations of all races and ethnicities have united to condemn this game and its reinforcement and perpetuation of demeaning stereotypes. This collective outrage also shows that just because one Asian American does something wrong and stupid does not mean that our entire community is somehow behind it and should be blamed for his actions, a lesson that a Black radio show host learned recently after telling her listeners to call in with demeaning racial slurs for Asians in support of her idea for a “Chinkopoly” game as a protest response to Ghettopoly. Fortunately, she apologized soon after making those comments.

The lessons here are: (1) being Asian American does not give you the right to demean and slander other groups of color and, (2) the acts of one person should not be blamed on an entire community.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "“Ghettopoly” Creates a Storm of Controversy" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2004/12/ghettopoly-creates-a-storm-of-controversy/> ().

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