Recently, six Dr. Seuss books were put on the chopping block for reportedly being insensitive. The action caused a backlash, but the story didn’t end there. The Cat took center stage, but behind-the-scenes attacks on other cartoon characters were also in play. Next up on the list of undesirables are Speedy Gonzalez and Pepé Le Pew.
In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Charles M. Blow recently condemned the Seuss books as well as Speedy Gonzalez, “whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans,” and the French skunk, “who normalized rape culture.” In a tweet, Blow said right-wing blogs were upset because Le Pew was declared offensive. “Let’s see,” he wrote:
- He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will.
- She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her.
- He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.
If you look hard enough, you can find fault in anything. I was raised on Pepé Le Pew and other cartoons and never once thought that it was okay to force a female into doing or accepting anything. In fact, I laughed at the “dumb skunk” who couldn’t tell the difference between a cat and a skunk. The same goes for Barbie-haters who think young girls are conditioned to believe they should look like those hard plastic dolls. My Barbie doll collection was quite extensive, yet I did not believe I was supposed to look like them – who wants legs that could snap off and get lost under the couch? But I digress.
Some of the comments echoed my sentiments, with one tweeter saying: “I also watched the Coyote try and blow up the Roadrunner with TNT, but, for some reason, I never felt compelled to attempt to do that to anyone irl. Strange ….” And then there was this gem of a response:
“I wonder how many people who thought it was a good idea to wreck the Capitol had their own destructive instincts reinforced by such presentations. No, the coyote won’t turn people into destructive maniacs, but it will reinforce some who have those tendencies.”
Blow, however, was not through dismantling cartoons and TV shows from five decades and more ago. Tarzan made the inappropriate list because it is:
“about a half-naked white man in the middle of an African jungle who conquers and tames it and outwits the Black people there who are all portrayed as primitive, if not savage.”
And, according to the columnist, Buckwheat from the Little Rascals in Our Gang “summoned all the stereotypes of the pickaninny.” Blow’s arguments seem to advocate for cancel culture on a large scale, getting rid of the classics and replacing with something culturally acceptable – at least to the left’s way of thinking – in today’s society. He wrote:
“Racism must be exorcised from culture, including, or maybe especially, from children’s culture. Teaching a child to hate or be ashamed of themselves is a sin against their innocence and a weight against their possibilities.”
History should not be destroyed just because it makes someone uncomfortable. It is to be used as a tool to learn from and make sure the same mistakes are not repeated. There is also the matter of taking responsibility at home: It is not society’s job to eliminate what it has decided is wrong. Those who are raising children are responsible for instilling morals and promoting what they consider right.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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