Good grief! It appears the social justice left is at it again. Recently, The Hill reported the type of story that irks conservatives to the point of outrage. It was a display of leftist insanity that should immediately attract a spirited “harumph!” from the right. Yes, Charlie Brown is now persona non grata for killjoys who seek racial outrage in even the most innocuous of places.
Or is he?
With a little digging, it appears the cataclysmic demise of one of the nation’s best-loved characters may be somewhat exaggerated. In fact, this story illustrates an important lesson for those on both the left and the right: Not all news stories warrant outrage.
Charlie Brown Is Racist?
It was reported that ABC’s “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” special was criticized as racist on social media. Why? Because of how Franklin – a black character – was seated at a dinner table.
The scene features several of Peanuts’ most beloved characters: Sally, Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, and everyone’s favorite, Snoopy. They are sitting at a makeshift table for Thanksgiving. The point of contention is the fact that Franklin is sitting on a lawn chair on one side of the table while the rest of the group sits on the other.
You already know how this story goes. Some viewers took this scene as proof that Peanuts is somehow a racist cartoon designed to promote the white supremacist power structure blah blah blah. One individual tweeted: “Not watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving anymore, until they sit some people on the same side of the table as Franklin.”
Another compared the scene to the movie Get Out in which wealthy white liberals implant their brains into black bodies. He wrote:
“Let’s talk about Franklin. Dude gets invited to Charlie Brown’s by Peppermint Patty. Then he finds out that it wasn’t a real invite, a dog is cooking the food and he’s gotta sit by himself at dinner. That’s Get Out. #CharlieBrownThanksgiving”
Lastly, one user exclaimed: “Am I woke now, why is Franklin in Charlie Brown Thanksgiving sitting all by himself at the table. Man. Things that I did not notice as a child.”
The claims that the seating arrangement was somehow racist are easy to debunk. Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, was no bigot. Indeed, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he insisted that the cartoon’s publisher include a black character in the television specials. When the publisher asked if he was sure that he wanted to take this step, Schulz retorted: “Either you run it the way I drew it, or I quit.”
Mr. Schulz was not very good at being a racist, was he?
Does This Story Matter?
After the news broke about the allegations of racism against Peanuts, several conservative outlets published stories slamming the left for daring to claim the Thanksgiving dinner scene was racist. Reading the headlines might lead one to believe that massive numbers of leftists protested the cartoon because of alleged bigotry. You could almost imagine them attempting to start a boycott because of the shabby treatment toward Franklin. However, the truth is something far different.
It appears that the three individuals quoted above were the only ones who felt the need to criticize the cartoon. And the reference to the movie “Get Out” was actually a joke. The person who posted it responded to one of the people who commented on the thread: “Just a joke, not a battle. Happy Thanksgiving.”
There was no viral moment in which progressives attacked Peanuts for racism. Al Sharpton didn’t make a statement condemning the cartoon. Heck, even The View didn’t even try to make this into a story – and everyone knows they’re all about fake outrage!
Not Worth the Outrage
In his book “Addicted to Outrage,” author Glenn Beck notes that America’s dependence on outrage is like an “addiction to caffeine, sugar, or fast food.” He also warns that “our Outrage Addiction is destroying our nation.”
America’s dependence on outrage is like an “addiction to caffeine, sugar, or fast food.”
Beck is right. Outrage culture is slowly destroying the fabric of American political discourse. People across the spectrum seem to be constantly searching for a new reason to become enraged, much like an addict who is perpetually looking for the next fix. Just as drugs like heroin and cocaine destroy a person’s mind and body, the endless unchecked outrage will only intensify the enmity between people on the right and the left.
Fortunately, ending the nation’s addiction to outrage is not impossible. It only requires all of us to take a step back and think critically when we see a news report that might be infuriating. We should assess whether or not the situation is worthy of our anger. In many cases, the answer will be “yes.” Still, there are plenty of instances in which it would be best to laugh it off and move on. Knowing the difference will go a long way towards healing the growing rift.