Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Cartoons..what did they teach us?

This post kind of jumped out at me over the past few days. I've been reading some of the extremely thought provoking and pro African Americn posts and my objectivity went right out the damn window.

As you can see from recent weeks, I have been stuck in kind of a timewarp relating to cartoons and P.S.A.'s. School house has and will be some of my favorites forever. Yet, I can recall vividly some of my other cartoon classics and now they anger me more than I can laugh at them.

Let's take a walk down memory lane..shall we.

My man Daffy Duck. Other than the fact that he was funny, what were some of the other characteristics of this persona. Well let's see.

1. He was a hater!
2. He was plainly depicted as crazed and out of control
3. Portrayed as a sidekick in most episodes to Bugs Bunny
4. He was loud, obnoxious, and spoke with a speech impediment
I'll just stop there for a moment to pontificate on those ideas. oops...he was a black duck.

On to the next character. Do I really need to go into this one at all?....please! I'm disappointed in myself for not noticing this earlier.

click here==>: Thomassss!!!

Next up.....

Pepe LePew...a serial date rapist, stalker. In every episode, pepe chased chicks down, relentless in his approach, never took no for an answer and totally disrespected on every level. Funny..right? Of course it is..and what did they use to make it into a subtext joke? A black skunk. add into the equation the obvious odor that they referenced when in reality the only time you smelled a skunk is if they sprayed. hmmmm..another jacked up attack on my ethnicity.

moving right along.....

I loved this cartoon for real. Jokingly a fellow blogger recently referenced old cartoons and I was reminded of the fact that all of the names of the ethnic heroes displayed their heritage. ie:
1. Black Lightning
2. Black Panther
3. Apache Chief
4. Samurai Tornado
Just ridiculous...I thought about the new green lantern figure. Now a black dude. If the name would change to the "Black Green Lantern". WTF???

And last but not least...the lovable bugs...
Man, I don't know where to start. Let's just give it a little jumpstart.
1. Obvious gay, drag queen.
2. Always depicted as the good guy/defenseless victim
3. Always given the position of intelligence and leadership over other characters when there was more than one animal persona.

I'm just going to stop right there on him. Even in the picture above, it highlights the fact that Elmer Fudd is a closet gay man. Bugs kissed him on the lips without being checked or stopped numerous times when he wasn't in drag.

Oh and not to forget this point, the cartoons also showed that there would be no consequence for shooting someone in the face...other than a little black face and ruffled hair/hats for a quick second or a mouth get dislodged and reattached. What did that teach us, family?

I will make sure that I censor what my kids and young people around me watch. Times have changed and the influences kids have on them now makes those cartoons more dangerous than ever before.




Lo said...


Wait. I'm not gay. What am I talking about?


There. That's more like it. Took me years to get out of that red lipstick phase.


Girly_Girl said...

Bugs Bunny made me hate people named 'Elmer.'

dc_speaks said...

ahahahaha...ya'll are funny.

I was being serious and ya'll got jokes..tisk tisk tisk.

CapCity said...

i would've taken this more seriously some years back when i was a real militant conspiracy theorist...but my blood pressure can't take it anymore. And the cartoons now are so "off da meter" that these OLD not-so-subtle attacks are really child's play. I will say - GUARD YOUR mind & the minds of yo' chirren!

DC - what's the photo-snapping noise that i hear when i come to your page,now? u takin' photos of us, now;-)?

dc_speaks said...

thats the load from the videos...i'm not taking any pics of ya'll

Nic said...

Oh! I can't believe you forgot that dog GOOFY. He always bothered me. He was as dumb as dish-water, and he dressed like a Ho-bo. All that "Aguck!" and "Well Golly!" crap used to rub me the wrong way. And half of the time he was tripping over himself.

Anyway nice P.S.A.


mark said...

Yo DC I dont really see anything to bad about bugs bunny, however the black mamy women is not cool.

But hey, what about mushmouth from fat albert. Wasnt that pretty embarrassing for a black guy on tv to be talking like that.
Although see your point about Elmer Fudd and Bugs bunny bieng gay.

But on gay end of things you forgot

1) Barney(purple dinosaur)
2) Snaggle puss ( That pink Lion)
3) The pink panther.
4) The male wonder twin
5) Vanity Smurf (he was flamming)

Dave said...

Hey, my grandpa on my moms side name was Elmer. :P

You remember that toy Speak & Spell? It had a function on there that you could enter a word into it, and it would encrypt it, you know, not reorder the original letters, but replace with wholly new ones. When we entered "Elmer" into it, it changed his name to "Butbo." We ran up to him thinking it was hilarious, he was not happy. LOL. Good times.

Anyways, on the cartoon subject, it is really messed up how early we begin to socialize our babies through colorful cartoon characters. Looney Tunes was the worst. It lays the foundation for all the stereotypes.

This was a great read DC, you really got me thinking on the hidden agenda of cartoons now. I'm off to class, (last day) but maybe I can arrive at something meaningful to say about it tonight.

Sheletha said...

of course you know, this means war...

off the damn chain... im sure you guys noticed this before??? you had to have....

the one bugs cartoon that stands out in my mind is when elmer chased bugs over the mason dixie line and Bugs came out as an Abraham Lincoln type saying "Whats this I hear about you killin' slaves?" Elmer was befuddled and started studderin' and dropping his gun...the chase continued.

Im saying all of this to say that as kids we don't catch these subliminal cues, just laugh and keep it moving.

Sheletha said...

@Mark I used my Speak & Spell to swear...I know I wasnt the only one that did that...

Sheletha said...

Sorry it was Yosemite Sam....same thing happened though...

Heres the summary for Souther Fried Rabbit...
This cartoon has not appeared unedited on American television for decades. The edited sequence shows Bugs Bunny trying to cross the Mason-Dixon line in black-face (brownface?). He sings two songs (the second of which, "Yankee Doodle", enrages Confederate Sam) then, placing a whip in the bewildered Sam's hand, Bugs acts as if Sam is going to beat him. Bugs then exits and re-enters as an indignant Abe Lincoln.

KIKI said...

Man, you are so on point with this. My 6 year old keeps getting into trouble in school because he tries to act out the violence he sees on cartoons, thinking it's humorous instead of realizing that this is real life & he's actually HURTING someone with his actions. I find myself checking what he's watching on cartoon network every 1/2 hour just to make sure there is no violence or negative stereotypes that he's gonna try to imitate. It's hard job but hey, what else am I gonna do?


Sheletha said...

youtube is the greatest....

mark said...

" @Mark I used my Speak & Spell to swear..."

Mark bey: I never had a speak and spell I use actually curse like a sailor. (not around adults though):)

Sheletha said...

er, I meant dave. My bad

Shai said...

The Peanuts Peppament Patty had me confused. At the time, gay was not even in my vocab. LOL. I had to be 7 or 8. Kids at those ages know way more than I did.

Marcy calling Patty sir and her liking Chuck had me so confused. LOL.

JustMeWriting said...

yeah, that's why Daffy was always my fav...he was an outcast. lol.

dc_speaks said...

hahahahaha...ya'll are getting it now...

the subliminal messages were incredible and the outright insults were bold. basically saying you all aren't even smart enough to know we are making you look like idiots.

great comments, family

dcsavvystar said...

YOU KNOW WHAT! i remember that woman on tom and jerry that used to yell at them from when i was a little girl. i don't think they dare show that episode anymore... do they??? haha - i'm tripping b/c you remember it too! haha.

denea marcel said...

Nice post. Its interesting to see what everybody got from cartoons and the things that we see in retrospect. Like most of American entertainment, cartoons were never intended for children, rather most presented social issues in a bright and colorful way for adults. Not to mention using cartoon characters for propoganda: POPEYE. Spinach growers were certainly in on making spinich popular with kids as a way to increase sales, when brocolli actually has more iron. And since most of the "favorite" cartoons came about during a time when it was commonplace to find blacks potrayed in a negative light, you can look back and see our favorite caracters in black face and 'cooning along.... at the most random times, I might add. Like Tom from Tom and Jerry getting shot in the face and in the aftermath is shown in blackface with large red lips. Disney characters have also come under scrutiny for this. A prime example is the portrayal of the crows in Dumbo.
But, I digress.
It seems that the cartoons today have taken the violence and over the top slapstick humor to keep children entertained... But watch a few episodes of different programs, they still aren't for kids. The humor is often sexual in nature or violent and far beyond the grasps of the intended audience.

BigRAY_3183 said...

Bugs Bunny was on some other stuff, at times I thought he was using all kinds of stuff lol. I also think he was sometimes on the DL lol.

Elmer, was like the sissy gangsta.

Daffy was the wannabe player that didnt get none.



dc_speaks said...

I couldnt put every character on the blog would have been too long.

thanks for bring in him up

nikki said...

elmer ain't gay. that man into beastiality. bugs is a WABBIT. also, we have never seen anything on bugs to suggest he's a man, other than his voice. dude been running around butt naked all these years and we haven't even seen a HINT of a penis, let alone a nutsack. i think he's the bea arthur of the cartoon animal world.

Bronzetrinity said...

Did you ever notice that whenever anything would blow up in Tom's or Jerry's face that they would appear in blackface? Their faces became black, they had large red lips, their hair stuck out like they were plats, and there were red bows on the ends. I used to laugh until I got older and realized the bastard who drew those cartoons was insulting little Black girls. You can read it on Wikipedia here
In most places those images are now censored but in some places they are still in left in. I can't even seem to find images of it on Google but I remember those parts vividly!

Dave said...

I been thinking about this all day. And I am stuck between two views. This is what I'm asking myself:

Were the cartoons designed to spread a negative message? Or were the cartoons callously taking part in furthering a message that was already out there?

Either way, it's messed up.

The other part that has had me stewing, is the Super Friends reference. DC, thank you for pointing to this. I never really gave it any thought until now.

Why does it have to be black this, black that, ethnic this, cultural symbol that??

Superman wasn't superwhiteman, he was just plain superman. The Flash wasn't the White Flash. The more I rename these characters with "white" in front of their names the more ridiculously stupid it sounds.
So why didn't it seem stupid to me to see Black Mantis, or Black Panther? (Makes me feel ignorant).

I guess you can make the argument (that you did already with Green Lantern) using characters like The Crimson Dynamo, or Blue Falcon that maybe they weren't trying to be rude, but they sure did not put a lot of thought into how it would make people feel.

I don't know, lemme ask you this DC, what is your stance on ethnic based symbols as team logos, like the Washington Redskins?

dc_speaks said...

coming from the city where our baseball team is called the Cleveland Indians...I'd have to say that when there was Native Americans protesting...I stood right with them.

I think that if its offensive, change the shit immediately. Not to mention, the offended are the original inhabitants of this country that were dogged out and put into!!!

Dave, don't get me started on that.

I am pro people, not just my ethnic heritage.

excellent question you posed to me.

dc_speaks said...

oh...and dcsavvystar, denea, ray, nikki and bronxetrinity...welcome to my blog...thanks for stopping in and come back anytime.

dc_speaks said...

oops..bronzetrinity..sorry for misspelling.

this blog deserves a part two...thanks for some of the other ummmmm...address,yeah that's it.

Andrew The Asshole said...

ALL these characters are a reflections of their creators. Which is why they are so color and reflect the diversity of our society

Bronzetrinity said...

From Dave "Were the cartoons designed to spread a negative message? Or were the cartoons callously taking part in furthering a message that was already out there?"
Who knows what the creaters of these cartoons believed in. If times back then were openly racist and they internalized those views then it came out in the work they did. With people at that time watching Amos and Andy and all that may have been what comedy was. Black people were supposed to be laughed at in their minds and thats why they had all those comedy performers in blackface.
Even as a little kid I boycotted Disney because they didn't have any characters who were not white (I really pay attention to representativeness). I would never let my kids watch those old cartoons (if I had kids and was actually able to control them) because even if the racist parts were edited out they were still orginally insults to them. When I think of how I saw Tom and Jerry in blackface and how I laughed and didn't understand it made me sick. Little Black kids saw that crap and didn't know they were being insulted!

hamil10 said...

WOW... I thought I over-thought things... My husband and I sit and laugh about the subliminal/hidden racism in things... (1)The Stove Top stuffing commercial didn't have black actors in it until "Mama was cooking "cone-bread" stuffin'"... (2)The blue M&Ms had to have deep voices and sing all the time. They aren't in the commercials anymore. (3)Most commercials with black children either show one parent or no parent...

You cannot blame kids for not knowing when they're being ridiculed because many of them don't know about the old vaudeville circuit of entertainment and that black face crap. I refused to let me kids listen to that dang "Chicken Noodle Soup" song or do that dance because it looked just like the old 'Step and Fetch-it" shufflin they did in those days. We have to make them more aware and conscious about the negative stereotypes that are already apart of the belief system of the powers-that-be. We have to make them increasingly aware that they have to jump higher, think faster and be all around better just to be considered equal and taken seriously. It's a shame, but it is what it is for the time being. Until then, we can use those things that harmed us as tools to sharpen the minds and awareness of this generation and those that follow. With that knowledge, they can begin to reshape the way we are viewed as a people by those outside of our community.

dc_speaks said...

hey...hamil10 and welcome andrew...thanks for your comments.

I had some technical difficulties so I will post part 2 to this blog asap