PHILADELPHIA – Cheap Trick Avenue instead of Boardwalk? Hernando’s Chop Shop instead of Reading Railroad?
Black leaders are outraged over a new board game called “Ghettopoly” that has “playas” acting like pimps and game cards reading: “You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50.”
Black clergymen say the game, the brainchild of a Pennsylvania man, should be banned, and have called for a boycott of Urban Outfitters unless the company stops selling Ghettopoly in its chain of clothing stores.
Urban Outfitters has not publicly commented on the issue, and did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.
“If we are silent on this issue there is more of this type to come,” the Rev. Robert P. Shine Sr., president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity, said at a sidewalk rally Wednesday in front Urban Outfitters’ corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
Shine displayed the game board, with properties including Westside Liquor, Harlem, The Bronx, and Long Beach City, and squares labeled Smitty’s XXX Peep Show, Weinstein’s Gold and Platinum, and Tyron’s Gun Shop.
Players draw “Hustle” and “Ghetto Stash” cards with directions like, “You’re a little short on loot, so you decided to stick up a bank. Collect $75,” and “Steal $$$ if you pass Let$ Roll.”
The creator of Ghettopoly, David Chang, did not immediately answer e-mails or phone calls seeking comment about the game.
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.”
But the Ghettopoly board depicts figures labeled “Malcum X” and “Martin Luthor King Jr.” – intentionally misspelled – noted Rev. Glenn Wilson, pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.
“This is beyond making fun, to use the caricature of Dr. King in this regard,” Wilson said. “There”s no way that game could be taken in any way other than that this man had racist intent in marketing it.”
The Philadelphia black clergy and Men United for a Better Philadelphia were just the latest to protest the game. In Chicago, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church, called for a boycott of Urban Outfitters. In Florida, the St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urged the company to stop carrying the game.
“I was outraged. We called Outfitters, we wrote them a letter, we held a press conference, but we’ve had no response,” Pfleger said Wednesday.