Last Sunday, at a monthly flea market held at an abandoned mine outside of Pittsburgh, I stumbled upon a cache of racist collectibles. For context: This flea market is less the kind of place you’d find bingo daubers and inexpensive hardware, and geared more for serious collectors of high-end antiques. So the goods on display often reach back several hundred years in origin. Having been to this flea market dozens of times, I’ve noticed these types of pieces in the past — Golliwogs and items of that nature — but this time around there was an odd abundance of peculiarities: Namely a stationery embossing tool used by the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (i.e., the “Busy Bee Klan”) and a ghetto-themed Monopoly knockoff called Ghettopoly.
I actually saw the game change hands at the event for $100. One dealer bought it from another, hoping to cash in. (Since production of the game was halted, it’s become fairly rare and high-priced on the secondary market.) At the end of the day, I saw the dealer who paid $100 for the game packing it up into his van. No buyers.
Here’s what Ghettopoly’s twist is on Hasbro’s Monopoly: “Instead of building houses and hotels, property owners can build crack houses and projects. The seven game pieces include: a pimp, a ho, a 40 oz, a machine gun, a marijuana leaf, a crack rock, and a basketball.”
Included below is context on how the game was received by the public, and the controversy that it stirred:
The game was criticized as offensively racist by a local chapter of the NAACP and black clergy among others.
The game was pulled from the market by Urban Outfitters, its retailer. Chang still marketed the game without their support. According to Chang’s now-defunct website, further such games were planned, including Hoodopoly, Hiphopopoly, and Thugopoly. In October 2003, Hasbro sued David Chang over the game’s similarities to Monopoly. In January 2006, Chang was found in contempt of court for failure to produce documents.
The court thus entered a “default judgment” for Hasbro’s continued use of “Monopoly” as a trademark, and dismissed Chang’s counterclaims, which were to revoke trademark status on “Monopoly”. In May, 2006, the court estimated that Chang generated US$879,000 in profits from the sale of Ghettopoly, and that damages of $400,000 were reasonable as reflected in the court documents.
[Quoted text via Wikipedia]