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Azizi BS: BNP on question time (285* d) RE: BS: BNP on question time 23 Oct 09

I explained here why I thought my name called to mind the name of Baroneess Warsi.

Kevin, I appreciate your comment about Kermit the Frog. However, because of the almost total absence of Black & Brown* people in cartoons and relative lack of positive Black character on television, the standard depiction of good guys as Whites and bad guys as non-Whites, with black hair and black clothing is troubling.

And couple the fact that the history of animation includes many very negative stereotypical depictions of Black characters with that almost total absence of animated Black & Brown characters, then cartoons are no laughing matter.

* To use Baroness Warsi's words which (by the way, are also appropriate racial terminology in USA).

I've written about race in cartoons on at least one Mudcat thread whose URL I'm not going to hunt for, but here's a hyperlink to an article about that subject:

WB Cartoons racist
Video collection reminds of bigotry past
By Craig Smith; Issue date: 4/5/02


Here's an excerpt of that article:

"If you were a young kid in the 1980s, you probably spent much of your earliest years watching the WB cartoons of Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig. If you think back hard amidst the laughter, once in awhile appeared a strange 'toon or two with really odd, savage-like dark skinned characters that suffered much embarrassment at the hands of the cartoon heroes. We were too young to realize it then, but this was the racist legacy of cartooning from the middle of the 20th century...

In Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, the famous Warner Brothers' cartoonist Walter Lantz gave this quote regarding TV censorship: "The first thing that happened was the elimination of all my films that contained Negro characters; there were eight such pictures. But we never offended or degraded the colored race and they were all top musical cartoons, too."

After viewing the Lantz cartoon included on the Goodtimes tape, I'm glad that Lantz didn't purposely try to "offend or degrade" anyone: He did enough damage without thinking about it. Virtually every stereotype one could apply to African-Americans is used in Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat (1941). According to the imagery of the film, Blacks are lazy, shiftless creatures a step or two removed from monkeys until they hear music or see an attractive woman. Then they suddenly possess endless energy, albeit directed more towards dancing and singing than working...

Minstrel-style entertainment was featured as the punch line in the Bugs Bunny short Fresh Hare(1942) in which Bugs' last wish before a Canadian firing squad is that he were in Dixie. Native Americans were mocked mercilessly in Big Heel-Watha (1944), a Tex Avery cartoon in which Red got to play an Indian princess.

Among the worst examples, Tokio Jokio (1943), featured a parody of newsreels that turns terribly bigoted. The film opens with a rooster about to crow as the sun rises on Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. The rooster turns into a sinister, slant-eyed vulture with a thick Oriental accent. The rest of the movie contains sight gags mixed in with horrible caricatures of the Asian race. Obviously a result of wartime hysteria, the intent of the film seems to be to present the Japanese as a subhuman race. Disturbing as it is, this is a far cry from the "just for children" attitude most people take towards cartoons."

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