Tuesday, December 09, 2003


not parker bros approved

My fellow chinky-eyed bro' David Chang has created a game called Ghettopoly that's attracting considerable attention and controversy, not the least of which is because Urban Outfitters (in what has to be a business decision as ill-advised as Abercrombie and Fitch's t-shirt fiasco) is selling the game, just in time for the holidays!

Chang answers his critics on the WWW site. I'll post it at length:

    A Message To The Haters
    Ask yourself; Is Jay Leno a racist because he made a comment about Asian people eating dogs? How about Snoop Dog, on his TV show on MTV, is he a racist too?

    What do you think when Rappers rap about "Chinky eyes" or "eyes slanted like", should they be called racist also. Or how about the broken English Asians who are portrayed in Black Movies, are the people who laugh, all racist?

    Should we also ban every single comedian who cracks jokes about Asians?

    For those of you who say, "why don't you make Chinkopoly ?" The word Chink is a Racist word, Ghetto is not. The last time I checked, there may be one Asian rapper on MTV, even then you would probably ask me who he is.

    Simply, there would not be enough interest in the American market place, because being an Asian in this Country is not consider too "Hip". Did you ever see an Asian action figure? And those that say "OH OH, he used the word Ghetto" that must mean he thinks all African Americans are just the images than that are in the game.

    There are all ethnic groups portrayed in Ghettopoly. Including Asians, Irish, Jewish, Hispanics, Whites, and Italians, just like any "Ghetto".

    It's a shame that when the news media decided to turn something into a story, they only speak of the black properties that's in the game. They always fail to mention cards and properties that are of other ethnicity. Remember, the game is called Ghettopoly not Blackopoly. The word black is not even mentioned anywhere in the game PERIOD.

    I hope from this message some of you should know that I am not a racist person, but someone who decided to make a game that we all can enjoy and relate to. And what is so wrong with a game that not made by your everyday corporations.

    When I play with a traditional board game with my friends, it simply does not appeal to me much. To your dismay, Hip Hop Culture is what I gravitate towards, so naturally when I decided to make a game, I want to give it an urban edge.

    Stereotypes are everywhere, when you flip to MTV or BET you do not often see the same images and lyrics, rappers rapping about sipping on 40's, pimping hoes, smoking the chronics, slinging crack rocks, wicked jump shots.

    So with that said, I think before you pass judgment on my game, you should just see it for what it is. It is just a game. It's not so different from what's already out there in the entertainment media in America.

    So if this game should be banned than there are tons of other forms of entertainments that also need to be banned. Just because you don't find this game funny and original, it does not give you the right to call me a racist or worst yet, try to ban it. However you do have every right not to buy it.

    I also think that some of you, not all, who wrote and called me all those nasty names are simply mad because you didn't think of Ghettopoly first. I am sorry that my last name is of Asian decent, maybe if my last name was different, some of you might not be so harsh.

    David Chang

Chang actually raises a few points worth consider: one - that if he was black, reactions would be different. Two - it's not like racialized stereotypes began with his game. That said, neither actually remotely justfies the rampant racism that's all over his game. Ok, so he doesn't single out blacks - he singles out EVERYONE, which just means there'll be at least four different groups of folks out there looking to serve him a beatdown (wait until ADL gets into the game). The game is patently offensive to EVERYONE and while Chang could argue that he's creating a parody, the spirit of his game isn't to problematize these portrayals but to feed off of them. Like a big, fat, bloodsucking leach. Way to go Dave - you're an equal opportunity asshole. Enjoy your ill-gotten gains while you have them and wait for the karma train to come back around, full bore.

By the way, my old housemate and up-and-coming public intellectual David Leonard pens a provocative look at the controversy and its wider social implications.