Thursday, October 2, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Racism

Tom & Jerry cartoons are now available on Amazon Prime and iTunes and they come with a disclaimer because these were made in the 1940's and back then Black people were pretty much human speed bumps. “Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”

They had to do this one other time when these came out on DVD and had Whoopi Goldberg do the disclaimer because she is Black and if it is cool with her it should be cool with everyone else. Particularly since she laughed when her then boyfriend Ted Danson did Black-face.

“The Tom and Jerry episodes included in this collection comes to us from a time when racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in the name of entertainment. These prejudices were wrong then and they're wrong today. Removing Mammy Two Shoes would be the same as pretending she never existed. The same is true for the other images and jokes that we wouldn't normally include in a mainstream cartoon today.”

I remember years ago turning on the TV and seeing Tom & Jerry on and got so happy until I saw a Mammy episode. They changed her voice to the voice of an angry sounding Black secretary. I was like “Oh, come the fuck on!” There was an old episode of The Little Rascals where they made this surprise cake filled with brushes, mousetraps, and other garbage. It is the funniest episode of the series. In it Stimey, the bald Black kid, is sweating while baking the cake and wipes his brow. He flicks it and sprays “color” on the wall. As a kid I never noticed this but watching it as a teenager me and my brother lost every bit of our shit laughing. A lot of times people and companies are presumptuous about how Black people will react to things. Remember: some of the top ranked comedians of al time are Black. We do have a sense of humor.  

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