Millennials Rewatching Charlie Brown Notice Something ‘Racist’ In It
A seasonal episode of Charlie Brown has caused controversy, with viewers new and old noticing something amiss with the seating arrangement at the Thanksgiving feast.
The scene which has drawn such attention shows Charlie Brown, Sally, Peppermint Patty and dog Snoopy sitting at one side of a table, with Marcie sitting at the head of the table.
The only black character, Franklin, is shown to be sitting all by himself on the other side of the table. He can also be seen sitting in a lawn chair rather than a regular chair like the rest of the characters.
One person tweeted:
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.
Not watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving anymore, until they sit some people on the same side of the table as Franklin.
Journalist Jeremy Helligar wrote in Medium:
While I don’t read any racism into the Peanuts specials of the time, the ’70s was indeed an era of racial, and sometimes egregiously racist, TV humor.
Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of the classic sitcoms All in the Family, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons (an All in the Family spin-off) on YouTube, and I’m frequently astonished by the racist comments that Archie Bunker, a white bigot, and Fred Sanford and George Jefferson, both black bigots, got away with spewing.
Franklin was introduced to the world of Peanuts in 1968, becoming the very first black character in the iconic comic strip.
As reported by The Washington Post, Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz was motivated to introduce a black character following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
This came about after retired teacher Harriet Glickman reportedly wrote Schulz a letter urging him to make his comic more inclusive:
Since the death of Martin Luther King, I’ve been asking myself what I can do to help change those conditions in our society which led to the assassination and which contribute to the vast sea of misunderstanding, fear, hate and violence.
As a suburban housewife; the mother of three children and a deeply concerned and social citizen, I am well aware of the very long and torturous road ahead.
I believe that it will be another generation before the kind of open friendship, trust and mobility will be an accepted part of our lives.
When asked by Peanuts’ publisher, United Feature Syndicate, if he was certain about adding a black character, Schulz reportedly replied, ‘Either you run it the way I drew it, or I quit’.
What do you think about this scene? And do you think it would have been drawn differently today?
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Topics: Film and TV