Patterico's Pontifications


Hallmark Pulls “Racist” Card

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via Hot Air, Hallmark has responded to NAACP objections to a 3-year-old graduation card by pulling the card from the shelves:

Hallmark claims the card is about the solar system and includes the phrase “black hole.” The NAACP insists the wording refers to “black whore” and is offensive to black women.

I’m not surprised Hallmark decided to pull the card instead of standing firm. After all, there aren’t many American companies that are more mild-mannered than Hallmark. They’re just lucky the card didn’t use the word niggardly.


53 Responses to “Hallmark Pulls “Racist” Card”

  1. This reminds me of that lawsuit in the 1980s where Ozzie Osbourne was sued by some parent after their son committee suicide, claimng the lyrics to “Paranoid” said “I tell you to end your life” and refused to drop the lawsuit after Ozzie, among others pointed out the lyric was “I tell you to enjoy life”.

    One big difference though: the nutjobs who filed that lawsuit were not given any deference in the media, as these nutjobs are.

    Sean P (4fde41)

  2. I found it interesting that the one woman stated she said it heard like “a group of school children laughing at black people – again”. So it wasn’t just this card that was being objected to, but also the historical. My question is, when does that end because what I saw was just an innocuous graduation card dealing with the solar system, limitless opportunity, afraid of nothing. The bottom line is, if you’re looking for something to be offended about, you’ll never come up empty handed.

    Hallmark should just re-record the card more clearly and succinctly. Obviously the card has made the company money or else it would not continue being put on the market.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  3. Eh…because what I saw and heard was just an innocuous graduation card

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  4. For Pete’s sake.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. They are a pointless parody of themselves. And laughingstocks, now, of course.

    Gazzer (d79016)

  6. I wish Hallmark’s response could have been “While we have to accept that that is what *you* may hear when you listen to this card, the words actually are “…” and not what *you* claim to be hearing.”

    Followed by “How many copies of the card would you like to buy ?” …

    As I have said before, and will say again – there is a reason why, in English, you can choose to offer offence, and you can choose to take offence – but you do not *have* to choose to take offence …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  7. now that’s speaking troooof to powah! thank goodness it’s not a birfday card, otherwise the NAACP might have axed someone to remedial the sichuashion with repairiashunsaginuses, per se. MLK Jr would be fit to be tied. He would be very, very sad.

    enoch_root (174a66)

  8. They’re not victims of racial prejudice, they aren’t even that stupid; they had a press conference and got the card pulled.

    But they are woefully ignorant and, apparently, proud of it.

    If they want school children to stop laughing at them they are doing it wrong.

    Jack (e383ed)

  9. They’re not ignorant, tho they’re happy to let you think that. Really, they’re just affirming that they have the power to make corporations dance. If they didn’t exercise this power regularly, it would atrophy.

    It will all prove useful to them in future cases where they can then quietly charge a fee for NOT taking offense.

    ras (88eebb)

  10. “But they are woefully ignorant and, apparently, proud of it.”

    Jack – Agree. Not a very proud moment for the NAACP.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  11. Is the NAACP going to refer to Hallmark as HallmarKKK now?

    Gorgutz (da9957)

  12. There was not an iota of good-faith in this by the NAACP. None.

    JD (c2ebc8)

  13. “Young”* Jaguar: I think their protest did more harm than if the card actually said what they said it said.

    Whatever this episode demonstrates, it is not good, and my mother, who is ever so patient with me, tells me this is what happens when you humans pounce jump to conclusions, instead of being patient and wise. All young animals by the Dark, Turbid Amazon are told by their mummies and daddies that we have one mouth and two ears (even if you cannot see them, like the tree frog) for a good reason. That is, one should patiently listen twice as long as one purrs, growls, tweets, or whatever it is one does with the mouth, and this is right. For it is not good to rashly pounce when a Jaguar sees something moving in the grass by the waters of the Dark, Turbid Amazon, for the impatient one will perhaps find Stickly-Prickly Hedgehog under its paws. This is bad, and you know it is so, for the Jaguar will yowl with pain because of the prickers, and feel very foolish as it sucks it poor paddy paws. Not only will the Jaguar feel foolish, but the whole Jungle by the Deep, Dark, Turbid Amazon will know that the Jaguar is foolish, because it was not patient and jumped before it knew what it was jumping on. And the Jaguar’s mummy, even though she is ever so patient, will feel embarrassment for having such a foolish child.

    How can it be, you ask, my friends, that a Young Jaguar can act so foolishly when it has had a loving and patient mummy to teach it. It must be a very powerful and terrible reason, and so it is. And terrible though it may be, each young creature must learn the lesson before they become a grown-up, or they shall ever remain foolish. And this, my friends, is true not only by the waters of the Dark, Turbid Amazon, but in the Land Across the Water where they have Elephants, and at the Top of the World where they have Elephant Seals, and in that strangest of places where an animal lives that has a mouth like a duck and a tail like a beaver, and they call it “platypus” (because no other name would fit, don’t you see?)

    What is the terrible reason that all young must learn? It is this, and you know it is true, that all creatures, even humans, were given brains that could learn all they needed to learn, but often they are not used. Creatures fill their brains with things that are not important, or they don’t bother putting much in their brains at all, or worst of all, they put things in their brains which are not true, which mixes everything up. (And if you remember the story of how armadillos came to be, you know what trouble happens when one gets mixed-up). And the very, very, very sad part of this is, the things that are not true are put there on purpose by someone else, by someone who pretends to care for you as your loving mummy, but who really has evil and selfish things in mind.

    Now, I am but a Jaguar, and Hoops and Yo-Yos, whatever kind of creatures they are, do not live by the waters of the Dark, Turbid Amazon. But I know this, as the voice said, those creatures were talking about planets, and stars, and other things we do not see. (But we do hear about them from friendly alpacas, who live in the mountains and see such things at night, yes they do. The llamas see such things too, but they are rude, and would rather spit than say a kind word). But those people have never put information about “Black Holes” into their brains, and they have been taught, by evil people, to assume whenever the word “black” is used, it must be a bad thing. (My aunt, the sister of my mother, who is ever so kind and patient with me, has beautiful black fur, and there is nothing bad about that at all.) They do not know there is a thing called a “black hole”, and they do not know what a “Hoops” or “Yo-Yo” is, but, because they think that the word “black” will mean something bad, they try to find a bad word that will fit.

    And when the other creatures hear it, they think it is foolish, for so it is. In kindness we can say they are not fools, but they have been taught foolishness by people who were not kind. My mummy and I hope, very much, that someone will tell these people about “black holes”, and tell them they have been tricked and made to look foolish by mean people who only pretend to love them.

    *I changed my name for this offering, for I feared similar foolishness about my name.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  14. MD – brilliant.

    enoch_root (174a66)

  15. The fact that this card has been on the market for three years, and is only now coming to the attention of the NAACP, indicates the problem with rates of black matriculation. Apparently NAACP finds it much easier to sue a card company than to encourage education.

    TimesDisliker (d5805f)

  16. Times – one of those two options takes effort and discipline

    enoch_root (174a66)

  17. Silly me, I thought we were in a hopey changey post – racial society now. Not so much.

    Dmac (3d61d9)

  18. This could be the stupidest thing Ive ever heard. It CLEARLY says “black holes” CLEARLY!!!!!!!!!!!! Why would a graduation card that references Saturn and planets talk about black whores??????

    Seriously, SHUT THE FUCK UP! I really mean it.

    Dopey (a812c5)

  19. Hope has been changed forever.

    highpockets (cf4a2b)

  20. What a pitiful exhibition.

    Mike K (82f374)

  21. Some people really excel at the race to the bottom.
    No need for affirmative action here.

    Jack (e383ed)

  22. Members of the NAACP were strangled with barbed wire trying to get suffrage for black people. This is worse than pitiful for their descendants.

    nk (db4a41)

  23. This is one of those examples where “intentionalism” applies with full force.

    That said, I found it amusing that Jeff Goldstein managed to insinuate that my support for textualism in the legal interpretation of statutory language somehow supports ridiculous, crazy interpretations such as this. Note the references in the linked post to egrets, dogs, boys, and hypotheticals. It’s all a cutesy (and obsessive!) way to try to blame this ridiculous affair on me.

    Even if you applied a textualist reading to this, which I don’t support, you’d have to twist facts and turn logic on its head to pretend (as Goldstein does) that textualism would justify the NAACP reaction.

    The card simply doesn’t say what they claim it does, for one thing.

    For another, their reaction isn’t reasonable. At all. So to mock the idea that reasonable reactions should be given any importance whatsoever, Goldstein does his usual dishonest trick of pretending a patently unreasonable reaction is reasonable (“Reasonable — and so reasonably offended — blacks heard something different from what you intended them to hear.”).

    Patterico (c218bd)

  24. I’m not sure which is more ludicrous, the original clip from the LA NAACP or Goldstein’s trying to make this an example of the evils of textualism. I think Goldstein wins out, for the NAACP folks just are lacking in knowledge about astronomy and astrophysics, but Goldstein is being malicious and knowingly twisting logic through a black hole himself.

    That is the last time I will ever feel the need to look at a proteinwisdom link again. I don’t know who is being more mislead, the NAACP folk who think racism is hiding behind every utterance or deed, or people who think JG is legitimately representing what “textualism” means. Whatever point he’s trying to make, I guess it has to do with the nonsense about “changing the text without changing the words”, or whatever that was.

    Painted Jaguar went to bed, he didn’t see the point in trying to reason with JG and is leaving patterico to take up the banner himself. (PJ may know a lot about getting confused, but it is risking sanity to chasing JG down too many rabbit holes). He does purr joyfully knowing that enoch_root appreciated his contribution.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  25. You know this commotion over an astronomical term is not new. Here’s an original report from 2008:

    The controversy did go on for a few more days. I don’t live in Dallas County, but I’m close enough that I get to enjoy these shenanigans on a regular basis.

    Is “shenanigans” racist? It’s hard to keep up.

    Ag80 (1b8eea)

  26. I like hearism better. Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”, for example. Compete with that, Jeff.

    nk (db4a41)

  27. Comment by Ag80

    At least in the Dallas meeting it seems that reason eventually won the day. Maybe the NAACP should write an article about use of the term “black hole” to spare them more embarassing moments.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  28. Should we just ban the use of the word black?

    kimsch (2ce939)

  29. Nailed it, nk,

    but I can’t get the link to work, you just sent 50,000,000 PP readers there and the site can’t handle it.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  30. “Still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest …”

    nk (db4a41)

  31. It will just be replaced by code words, kimsch. Ban “black” and next you’ll have to ban the phrase “let’s cut taxes,” which Charlie Rangel informed us is a code word for various racial slurs.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  32. nk- I know exactly what you were referring to, your reminder urged me to have a listen, but it’s still loading, oh well,

    Little known, but Paul Simon was simply giving an upadted paraphrase of Paul the Apostle, who said that people would have “itchy ears, and find people to tell them the things they want to hear”

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  33. “Jeff Goldstein managed to insinuate that my support for textualism in the legal interpretation of statutory language somehow supports ridiculous, crazy interpretations such as this.”

    Jeff Goldstein does not hold grudges and is the most honest and intellectually consistent blogger I know on the intartubes. Heh.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  34. Where can I find the “code word” manual?

    kimsch (2ce939)

  35. Oh that’s right, they can’t publish it because it may change at any moment.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  36. I’m just wondering how that damned racist Stephen Hawking is still wheeling the earth.

    Ag80 (1b8eea)

  37. I don’t know where the manual is but here’s another “code word.”

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  38. You can’t see the manual.

    It’s like when the big whig MSM’ers say “The news is what we say it is”. To some it’s racist, “Because we say it is”.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  39. Stop blowing those dog whistles!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  40. What has happened here is a “Lady Mondegreen

    A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.

    Of course, I don’t think that your typical “reasonable man” would be hearing what the NAACP people were hearing.

    Jose can you see by the donzerly light…

    Elton John: She had electric boobs, a mohair suit… (Sarah Palin?) :) – Electric BOOTS

    Manfred Mann: wrapped up like a douche bag runner in the night… Wrapped up like a DEUCE ANOTHER runner in the night.

    Mondegreens are funny.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  41. What will be the next code word? Rutabega?

    kimsch (2ce939)

  42. Love your comment, kimsch. With the Hallmark card, if I were to have mis-heard it, I would have claimed it sounded much more like “black ho”, not “black whore”. Not even close.

    (With that, is there the possibility that the NAACP also heard “black ho” but didn’t want to go with the crude and prevalent (in certain communities) ‘ho’ and instead went with whore? Too much stigma…)

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  43. Meanwhile, the crass, crude and racist-word filled world of rap music continues on its merry, little way.

    And, btw, isn’t the “colored people” part of the acronym “NAACP” a rather strangely condescending (and, therefore, a peculiarly racist/bigoted) phrase?

    Mark (411533)

  44. I honestly thought this was an Onion parody when I saw it.

    Mrs. Patterico (c218bd)

  45. Hallmark’s cards are routinely ugly and offensive. The NAACP erred on the side of experience.

    tehag (88f6ed)

  46. What I found funny is that this GRADUATION card has been on the market for THREE YEARS without any complaints from the NAACP. The implications to those facts are pretty hilarious. Heck, put a nasty message in a card for honor rolls or anniversary, and it could well go undetected indefinately.

    prowlerguy (efdb32)

  47. Comment by kimsch — 6/11/2010 @ 10:43 pm

    As a straight man with many gay friends I object to your use of an anti-gay word in the comment above. This controversy may indeed be “phony” but there is no reason to use “homo” as a pejorative.

    I demand an apology, reparations, and my own reality show.

    Pious Agnostic (b2c3ab)

  48. I demand an apology, reparations, and my own reality show.
    Comment by Pious Agnostic — 6/12/2010 @ 6:38 am

    1. Mumbled lyrics to “Rocket Man” in an apologetic tone.
    2. A coupon for $1 off at our local car wash.
    3. Your likeness portrayed on an Etch-A-Sketch (you have to provide the Etch-A-Sketch and refrain from moving, jostling, or otherwise disturbing it after the likeness is complete. Also, no guarantee your likeness will not resemble a poorly-drawn square. I need 6 months of art lessons before I’m ready to draw stick figures.)


    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  49. Mumbled lyrics to “Rocket Man” in an apologetic tone.

    True fact.

    “Burning out at perihelion,” the way I heard this lyric for years makes 1000% more sense than the actual lyric.

    Pious Agnostic (b2c3ab)

  50. This is the Saul Alinsky method again. Manufacture insult where there is none.


    JD (9ac83d)

  51. I saw lots of black “holes” in that video.

    Oh, the irony of the second “A” — Advancement. This action advances NOTHING; quite the opposite, in fact.

    It’s a neat little scheme: Play “the card”, get a card pulled.

    Coming next: your local Hoedown cancelled; not because the word “hoe” (or “ho”) is in itself offensive, but because it’s demeaning to ‘put her down’.

    Icy Texan (11677d)

  52. Did the card mention Uranus? Just asking.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    Jim S. (1e6958)

  53. i took my art lessons online from some popular website and i do got a great art lesson package *”*

    Welder work (faeb7a)

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