AN UN-FUNNY VALENTINE: Greeting card picture evokes race stereotype
February 13, 2004
BY JIM SCHAEFER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
American Greetings Corp. calls it a regrettable printing error.
Somehow, boxes of SpongeBob SquarePants Valentine's Day cards are popping up in local Wal-Mart stores -- but the popular cartoon character found inside isn't his traditional yellow color.
He's black. And with his trademark big teeth and wide eyes, this SpongeBob seems similar to offensive images of African Americans portrayed in minstrel shows decades ago.
American Greetings officials said Thursday they were surprised and puzzled when the Free Press made them aware of a complaint about the product.