Last week, Hallmark yanked a Hoops and YoYo graduation card because the NAACP claimed a dopey joke about black holes was really a dopey joke about black whores. The controversy was a unique waste of time for the NAACP. Not just because it was dumb, but because of all the other Hallmark cards full of stereotypes still on the shelves.
In the interest of public service journalism, the Pitch Action News Team went to the Hallmark store in Crown Center to find the most offensive greeting cards - and luckily, Hallmark's separate but equal shelving system keeps its cards for black people in one, easy-to-find place.
Everyone reading this has probably come across the greeting-card-as-come-on gag. You see a sexy six pack of abs or a bikini babe on the front, which promises to show you something special for your birthday when you open the card. You do it, and you've been tricked because you're old and no one wants to touch you down there anymore. Boom! But Hallmark assumes that you'll never be enticed to the birthday zinger if that seductive wink comes from anyone not of Eastern Europe descent. Look at every sexy card in the shop, and it's like gazing into a fresh snowbank. With hot abs.
Hallmark knows that young black men have the same potential for bright futures as any other student, and their academic advancement should be celebrated. Well, maybe one in four. As long as you cut your damn Afro.
Of course, for every black student who gets into college, there's a father who didn't abandon him. Hallmark's Mahogany cards are supposed to reach, the company says, "African American Culture." If you were curious about other cultures and decided that studying Hallmark's greeting cards would be a great way to prepare to live among them, it would be easy to think that a black man actually raising his kids is a rare and splendid phenomenon. Hallmark shows us that the parenting bar is so low in the black community, simply not abandoning your children makes you Cliff Huxtable.
Assuming you actually do support your children, Hallmark knows that the biggest challenge to black families is keeping them off the streets, where every single African-American youth is constantly pressured to join a gang, smoke blunts and drink malt liquor - unlike their white counterparts, who skip merrily and unmolested to school carrying their lunches of peppermint soda and white-bread-and-mayo sandwiches. Maybe it's just that we did our shopping near Father's Day, so we saw more of this than normal, but every card about these kids was written as if the only black people in the world were all inner-city teens looking for one rebellious teacher to help them by explaining that Shakespeare is just like hip-hop or beating them in a game of high-stakes street basketball.
We probably don't need to guild the lily by pointing out everything that's racist about the way this make-up-with-your-lover card is written. The wording alone should be enough. If we're going to throw something away, let's throw away all that craziness, the card's interior coos. Hallmark takes all their cues on African-American pillow talk from that
breakdown in the song where LL Cool J tells you that, girl, he's come to
understand that he needs love.
Just so you don't think Hallmark is uncomfortable only around black people, we present this card as evidence that the gays make the company a little shaky, too. When we first spotted this card, its face was so blank that we assumed it was just the cardboard piece at the rear of the rack. This is actually Hallmark's attempt at a card congratulating you on your same-sex nuptials. Having been to far too many weddings in the past year to ever want to eat another piece of sheet cake, we can assure you that the selection for hetero wedlock is far brighter. Brides kiss grooms, hands are caressed, boquets thrown. This drab little salutation, on the other hand, looks ashamed of its own existence, a dirty secret carefully avoiding any color - or any gender-specific pronouns. We'll believe Hallmark's cool with homosexuals when we see a congratulatory card with one man in a tuxedo carrying another over a threshold.