Try this out. To to Urban Outfitter’s website urbn.com and type “ghetto” in the search box and press enter. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be greeted with a pop-up window reading, “Due to customer concerns, Urban Outfitters no longer sells the board game ‘Ghettopoly’.” And for good reason, for an excellent discussion of the board game, I suggest Tim Wise’s recent column “Ghettos are not a game: Making money on the misery of others.” Excerpts:

“Chang’s biggest offense is in reinforcing the notion of the ghetto as a free-standing entity, with an inherent culture, separate from the rest of the society. But in truth, the ghettos of this nation are the product of deliberate decisions made by political and economic elites. Whatever culture springs up in such places is not some intrinsic pathology unique to the urban poor, but largely the consequence of institutional racism and economic oppression.

….

As if this wasn’t bad enough, local governments then began the process of “urban renewal,” which meant the elimination of low-and-moderate-income family housing, to be replaced by office buildings, shopping centers and parking lots.

While hundreds of thousands of homes (one-fifth of all housing occupied at the time by people of color) were destroyed as part of this process, less than 10 percent of those displaced three-fourths of whom were black had new single-resident housing to go to afterwards, as cities rarely built new units to replace the old ones. Instead, displaced families often had to rely on crowded apartments, living with relatives, or living in run-down public housing projects.”

I’d be interested to know if the company has made a decision on the similar “Homies” figurines they have sold in the past, since they’re not listed on their website.

BBC: “Ghettopoly game sparks outrage” and plenty more via GoogleNews

Author: Rob