By Dann Cuellar
There's a new coloring book on the market, and it's causing a firestorm of controversy. It's called "The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book".
It's obviously not just any coloring book. You can use your crayons to color a picture of Ice-T holding a sub machine gun behind his back, or Brother Lynch hung menacingly holding a dagger. Or even 50 Cent pointing a gun at you. There are also stereotype images of black men holding prison cell mug shot numbers in front of them.
The book, created by freelance artist Aye Jay of San Francisco, is meant to pay homage to gansta rappers but it has raised the ire of some in the African American community.
Rev. Willie E. Robinson of the Mount Zion Baptist Church said, "For something of this nature being designed to give children with images of weaponry and killing and prison and things of that nature, I don't see it as a fitting image for our young people."
Iman Suetwedien A. Muhammad of Masjid Muhammad said, "This stuff needs to be exposed, it shouldn't be sold, they know exactly who they're targeting with this kind of foolishness here."
On the back cover, the book highlights glowing reviews including one who says: "Cop this and get the young guns in the game early." Another writes: "An automatic weapon, a set of crayons and this coloring book. What more could a growing boy ask for?"
But District Attorney Lynne Abraham calls the book a disgrace. "With all the terrible things happening, shootings, gang warfare, Mac 10's, Tec-9's and here is this company that is supposed to be a responsible company that's totally unresposible, so I'm disgusted, I'm horrified."
The book is being sold by, among other outlets, Urban Outfitters on the company's webpage. The company has previously been under fire for selling a Monopoly-style game called Ghettopoly, and for selling Christmas ornaments shaped like glittering handguns.
Abraham said, "Glen Senk who owns that store is socially irresponsible, here we are awash in the blood of young people where carrying a gun in our society is supposed to be frown on and what he does is re-enforce all the bad images."
As of late Tuesday night, our calls to Urban Outfitters for comment had not been returned.
X wrote:Sounds similiar to....
The Sabotage Of Legitimate Dissent
This is but one horrific example of the tactics used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stifle legitimate dissent and violate the civil rights of political groups that the administration dislikes. Along with the anti-war movement, the Nixon White House targeted the civil rights movement for disruption, using on-campus informants to infiltrate and in many cases to disrupt legal protests and activism.
This coloring book, which was purported to be from the Black Panthers, had actually been rejected by them when it was brought to them by a man later revealed to have intelligence connections. Not to be troubled by the fact that the Panthers found the coloring book revolting, the FBI added even more offensive illustrations, and mass mailed it across America. It so infuriated the white population that they stopped listening to the legitimate grievances of the black people.
While it can be argued that such an action did not technically violate the right of the Black Panthers to free speech (even as it sabotaged the willingness of the people to listen), it is apparent than such a divisive act violated the right of the people, black and white, to peacefully assemble.
At the time, I asked my parents if it didn't seem odd to have a book purported to be by blacks for black children mailed to a white household, but I was outvoted in what was a functionally democratic household. But heck, most of us still thought Oswald acted alone then as well.
I had thought the actual coloring book lost forever, relegated to a mere footnote in the Congressional inquiry into COINTELPRO, when the wonder that is the internet brought it into the light again.