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NAACP calls Hallmark graduation card racist

A graduation card sold at local stores has been pulled from shelves after a civil rights group raised concerns about the content. The group claims the card's micro-speaker plays a greeting that's racist.
June 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A graduation card sold at local stores has been pulled from shelves after a civil rights group raised concerns about the content. The group claims the card's micro-speaker plays a greeting that's racist.It is a graduation greeting from Hallmark that says, "Hey world, we are officially putting you on notice."

Members of the Los Angeles NAACP did take notice. As characters known as "Hoops" and "Yoyo" banter on, African American leaders hear offensive language.

"And you black holes, you are so ominous. Watch your back," the card vocalizes.

"That was very demeaning to African American women. When it made reference to African American women as whores and at the end, it says 'watch your back,'" said Leon Jenkins of the Los Angeles NAACP.

When Hallmark was reached by phone, they said the card is all a misunderstanding. The card's theme is the solar system and emphasizes the power of the grad to take over the universe, even energy-absorbing black holes.

The card company says the card speaks about the power the grad will wield.

"The intent here is to say that this graduate is not afraid of anything," explained Hallmark spokesman Steve Doyal.

But that's not what some people heard.

"You hear the 'r' in there. 'Whores,' not, 'holes.' The 'r' is in there," said Minnie Hatley of the Los Angeles NAACP.

Hallmark sent Eyewitness News a transcript of what the card says, but Hatley says that the actual audio raises questions.

"It sounds like a group of children laughing and joking about blackness, again," said another NAACP member.

Hallmark is now notifying all of its stores to pull the card. Walgreens and CVS are doing the same.

"In any situation where there is a circumstance that we need to be sensitive to, we try to learn from that experience," said Doyal.

However, NAACP members say they do not want to see the card on store shelves ever again.

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