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Are Tom and Jerry Cartoons Racist? Amazon Prime Thinks So.

The assertion by Amazon Prime is that Tom and Jerry Cartoons contain depicts some ethnic and racial prejudices.  In case you spent your childhood living in a cave, Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of short films created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It centers on a rivalry between its two main characters, Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse, and many recurring characters, based around slapstick comedy.

Early Tom and Jerry cartoons that feature Mammy Two Shoes, the stereotype black maid, now carry a health warning on Amazon. The animations, it warns, represent “some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society … that were wrong then and are wrong now”.

Tom and Jerry join a long and growing list of old favourites that are suddenly denounced for failing the test of contemporary sensitivities. This is the cue for an argument that cuts through attitudes like a cheese wire: mirth and derision at political correctness on the one hand, and agonized uncertainty from everyone else.

Have we gone too far in our quest for political correctness? Will we soon be banning films like Gone With the Wind because it contains ethnic, sexist and racial prejudices?

“We’re reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values,” said Prof Furedi from the University of Kent.

I struggle with the criticism of books written in the heyday of western imperialism. From The Secret Garden to Doctor Doolittle to Sherlock Holmes, I can see that they are a mortifying embodiment of late 19th-century attitudes to people who are not white Anglo-Saxons. But most 21st-century children can accommodate the absence of indoor servants and gardeners in their lives. They can be trusted to see that relations between people have changed too.

Maybe the recurring outrage about old stories is actually a reflection of a different problem. As the children’s laureate Malorie Blackman argued earlier this year – triggering abuse exceptional even by the inflated standards of Twitter – there is still not enough diversity in children’s books, not enough interest in other cultures, or different perspectives.

The warning was attacked as “empty-headed” by cultural commentator and professor of sociology, Frank Furedi, who said it was a form of a “false piousness” and a type of censorship which “seems to be sweeping cultural life”.

“We’re reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values,” said Prof Furedi from the University of Kent.

If children and their families could, sometimes at least, find stories that reflect their own experience of life, across all cultural forms, then the dated attitudes of old classics could be safely seen as just that.

The question that can and possibly should be asked is, Isn’t there a danger that, by continually expunging parts of the past from literature we now find uncomfortable, but which were entirely the norm in the period they were written we will forget how unjust the past actually was?

“Tom and Jerry” has addressed this racial controversy before, even adding an intro byWhoopi Goldberg on “Tom And Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume 2.” In it, Goldberg explains why the cartoons contained the humor that they do and why some material that could be considered offensive was left in:

What are your thoughts? Weigh In by leaving your comment below.




Originally posted 2014-10-02 09:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Deaqon James
Deaqon James is a Commercial & Glamour photographer who also enjoys cars, sneakers and of course beautiful women. He founded High Speed Magazine in 2006.

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