Is This Hallmark Graduation Card Racist?

Orange County Register, June 4, 2010

Hoops and Yoyo, the cartoon stars of one of Hallmark’s most popular lines, are created and voiced by Hallmark artists Bob Holt and Mike Adair, an Orange County native.

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So it’s startling to see the fun-loving pair hauled into the court of local TV to be accused of racism by the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP.

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Printed on the card, is dialogue such as, “Watch out, Saturn, this grad is gonna run rings around you!” And on the audio chip that plays once the card is opened, Hoops and Yoyo continue their riffing on all the things new graduates are going to do once they get out there to take on the universe.

Including: “And you black holes–you’re so ominous! And you planets? Watch your back!”

Sounds like an innocent enough reference to that peculiar feature of the solar system known as a black hole to us. But members of the NAACP hear it differently, saying the high-pitched voice of Hoops–or Yoyo, we still can’t keep ’em straight–says “black whores” and is a racist slur against African-American women.

Hallmark’s response to KABC was to defend the card–which has been sold for three years now with no complaints–as not being racist at all, but then to go ahead and pull it from all its stores anyway.


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.”

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“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 {snip} power the grad will wield.

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

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“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.

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

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