Racist Propoganda Cartoons: What to do with our racist past?

Eleven Warner Bros. cartoons that have been under lock and key for the past four decades due to their highly racist and stereotypical content recently surfaced on YouTube and now everyone is in a tizzy over what to do with them.

The “classic” videos include such gag/anger inducing titles such as ‘Tokio Jokio’ and ‘Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs’ and several were created (not surprisingly) as war propaganda during WWII. Many, including the NAACP, are calling for the videos to be returned to the vault while YouTube/Google are less inclined to pull the videos unless Warner Bros comes forward to claim copyright infringement.

A representative for Warner wrote in an e-mail message that “Warner Brothers has rights to the titles” in question and that “we vigorously protect all our copyrights. We do not make distinctions based on content.”

The cartoons, known as the “Censored 11,” have been unavailable to the public for 40 years. Postings no longer appear if YouTube is searched for “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs,” a parody of “Snow White” and the most famous of the cartoons. But a search for “Coal Black” does find the cartoon.

Considering the viral nature of media these days, even if YouTube were to pull ever version of the offending cartoons it’s unlikely that they’ll truly disappear…so the argument is pretty much moot. But here’s the real interesting question that I pose to all you readers…and the real issue that I believe is at the heart of this controversy. How should we (as a collective society) deal with our racial history and all the artifacts that come along with it? Do we bury the offending materials and pretend they never existed or do we inject the materials into the ongoing public dialogue about race and racism in America? Personally, I’m for an honest examination of race in this country – even if that means making these videos publicly available.

Obviously Warner Bros. wants nothing more than these videos to disappear. But beyond that, what good is yielded from ignoring the existance of these cartoons? They were apart of our country’s history and a telling clue to how horrifyingly racist this country once was and, some might argue, still is. Critics will argue that these cartoons, when taken out of context and viewed without proper guidance, may serve as fooder for and exploited by racial supremisists and other seperatist groups.

What do you think?

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About Bo

A 30something, 1.5 generation Korean-American/New Yorker who spends her day as an HR exec. specializing in corporate diversity & inclusion. I get to think about ways to make "The Man" less male, white, and straight. It's the best job in the world! When I'm not trying to change corporate America, I teach yoga and dabble in holistic health counseling. I have an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and my undergraduate from the University of Michigan. Lesser known facts about me: I enjoy b&w film photography, training for endurance races, and making homemade jam. Other mindless observations can be found at http://itsbo.blogspot.com/
This entry was posted in Current Events, Discrimination, Observations. Bookmark the permalink.