Leave Tom and Jerry Alone!

Years ago, I watched Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in a rarely seen today 1941 Busby Berkeley musical called Babes On Broadway. As always, they were kids putting on a show. The big finale is a minstrel number with the two stars singing in blackface. I remember two things: how strange they both looked blacked up like that and how much I enjoyed Judy Garland’s rendition of Waiting For The Robert. E. Lee (for years I thought it was called ‘See Dem Shufflin’ Along’). I didn’t think about that film again until years later in 2000 when I reviewed Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one reason to see Spike’s somewhat muddled film: the thought-provoking, disturbing montage right at the end. It features the worst stereotypes of black people from movies, TV shows and cartoons: bug-eyed, big lipped, ants-in-pants, nappy-haired, watermelon-eating, cannibalistic savages who shuffled, sang, jived and danced. These images were taken from Hollywood classics such as The Birth Of A Nation, The Jazz Singer, Gone With The Wind etc. and also Ub Iwerks’ cartoon Little Black Sambo, Walter Lantz’s cartoon Scrub Me Mama With A Boogie Beat, the Merrie Melodies short All This And Rabbit Stew (featuring Bugs Bunny) and Tom and Jerry, among others.
I mentioned in one of my previous entries that I have no plans to dispose of my VHS Tom and Jerry cartoons due to the fact that the DVD releases have fallen victim to political correctness: they’re cut to shreds. No blackface, no blatant ethnic stereotyping, no original voice for Mammy Two Shoes (the female black character famous for shouting "Taaaaaaaaaaamas!"). This much-loved character has been de-Mammy-fied courtesy of a new voice and correct grammar ("This" instead of "Dis" etc). Soon, there’ll be no cartoon characters smoking either. When America’s Supreme Court declared racism unconstitutional in 1954, the studios were under pressure – this explains the Tom and Jerry cartoons of the mid 1950s featuring the pair living with a white woman/couple rather than Mammy Two Shoes. In addition, it accounts for why fans may come across two versions of the same cartoon: the 1940s Fred Quimby-produced shorts with Mammy Two Shoes and an exact copy made without her by Chuck Jones’ team in the 1950s. Carelessness led to instances of anomalies: my Chuck Jones version of Saturday Evening Puss, for example, has the white character with the black southern Mammy Two Shoes voice originally provided by Lillian Randolph.
Today, measures are even more stringent and only dubbed/edited versions of cartoon greats can be seen on kids channels such as The Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Fair enough – the audience is made up of kids. However, my blood boils whenever I contemplate the hatchet job that is Tom and Jerry on DVD. I have spent years searching for the original version of Saturday Evening Puss (now only available for view on a certain video sharing site) to no avail. And yet, when the Looney Tunes collection got a DVD release, the cartoons were uncut. Whoopi Goldberg provided an introduction to the set explaining why some of the ethnic gags are no longer appropriate. She also correctly states that removing them would falsify both the history of animation and also, American culture. The mind boggles as to why Tom and Jerry didn’t receive similar treatment. 
While I am prepared to watch black people bug eyes, shuffle and chow down on watermelons etc whenever I watch movies from a certain period of time, I vehemently object to doing so in these supposedly enlightened days. That’s why I was one of the thousands who complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about Cadbury Schweppes’ Trident chewing gum advert. I’m talking about the one featuring a black minstrel-like character’s faux-Caribbean accented cry of "Mastication for de nation!" Insensitive in the extreme, it was rightly axed.
However, ask me if I want Gone With The Wind or Imitation Of Life (the 1934 version) butchered. Ask me if cartoons like Tex Avery’s Uncle Tom’s Bungalow and Fritz Freleng’s Jungle Jitters should be banned forever. My answer is an emphatic ‘no’. Unpleasant as they undoubtedly are, these Hollywood stereotypes (largely by white and Jewish Americans) must be viewed within the context of their era. I wouldn’t expect a child to understand that – but I’d certainly expect an adult to. So Ted Turner et al, give us the choice and give us back our cartoons in their original condition on DVD. In the words of Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter: you know it makes sense.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – Marcool for writing in and putting me out of my misery. The song used on the Sure Biorhythm advert is My Life by Elmo. Cheers mate!
Today I am mostly hatin’ – I’m an Arsenal fan; we’re top of the table, Spurs are in the bottom three, Moaninho has gone – what’s to hate aside from the fact that the season can’t end right now?
MSN Editor Coops
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46 Responses to Leave Tom and Jerry Alone!

  1. jackie says:

     i am sick of the racial card being played when you are trying to portray real life, if a film, sitcom, soap or even cartoon does not have a diversity of ethnic origins in it, it is then declared racist, if it does then of coarse again it\’s racist. No matter what you do in this day and age of the PC society you just can\’t get it right, and now they want to attack our history of programs to. Well first I\’m going to stand up for Tom and Jerry, the lady in the cartoon( who you only see their legs and feet, so obviously not predominant to the cartoon) just happens to be of african american persuasion ( I hope that description is satisfactory to PC lot as they keep changing what we can and cant say), the lady is the one who scolds the cat and wants the mouse caught(seems normal to me)if they are portraying them as an ethnic minority rife for racism then I can\’t see it, she comes across as a fine, high morale, no nonsense kind of woman and as a woman think it\’s a great portrayel. It has gone to far – Gone with the wind _ it is reflective of history whether you agree with it or not and at the end of the day it\’s in a time when the north and south fought, the north won(go yankees)and freedom prevailed, the southern belle is left on her own. Just deserts to the south portrayed here, so what\’s the problem. I also need to put forward that though Whoopi Goldberg is a fine actress and comedienne, she herself has taken the mick out of the stupid,ugly white folk in a few films along with Eddie Murphy(only one white guy in Coming to America, played and treated like an old fool, a jewish white guy) did I take offense, No. I actually laughed along with it for what it is, people see others differently and if we can\’t laugh at ourselves who can you laugh at. For every person who offends your ethnic background, there is someone doing it to the other. To the extreme example( and I am not a fan of either) Bernard Manning came across as a racist with his jokes, but the same can be said for a very well known Chris Rock, you watch him do stand up and he comes across as racist as well, infact Goodness gracious me is a joke at the expense of the White British and our ignorance of other ethnic society\’s, is this offensive, you tell me. Hopefully, without trying to offend anyone(which in this day and age is difficult)the racism card is what stops us all living in harmony, Colour and religion matter not, we are all human beings, we all live and breathe, love and honour and we all have feelings. It is time to grow up and throw all this pent up anger of our four fathers away and stop picking holes in everything. History has taught us that fighting and arguing gets you no where, can we at least get on. My mum always taught me that life is what you make it, make it your life. Live and let live. I\’m British, I am of origin of where I was born, not by where my parents or grandparents where born and thats how I see everyone else, you where born in America, your American, born in South Africa, you are African- forget the rest – it does not define you as a person – you are you, I am Me – Lets be friends.

  2. karen says:

    I agree totally "leave Tom and Jerry Alone" they are classic cartoons I watched them as a child and watch them with my children now, and we all love them as they were !!!

  3. katie says:

    I always hated tom and jerry anyway – why did that annoying little sh*t of a mouse always get the upper hand?!?!!! 

  4. Coops - says:

     stereotype, I can see you feel quite strongly about this subject; thanks for your comments. arcticmonkey34, you just can\’t beat the classics. Some of the cartoons made these days have me shaking my head in disbelief. Where\’s the magic? no name – how can you not like Tom and Jerry? Without them, there\’d be no Itchy and Scratchy on The Simpsons. 🙂 .

  5. Coops - says:

    Thanks for returning my comment. I apologise if I over vented but these subjects just remind me how TV pc policies just add wood to the fire and make light of real racism problems, which I am more than willing to help stamp out as a British citizen.  sorry just vented again. Thanks for your blog though as it keeps you up to date with what\’s going on in the world.

  6. Coops - says:

    Hello stereotype, all comments are welcome. I\’m actually surprised and flattered to find people reading my blog so please feel free to vent. I just want common sense applied to certain situations – censoring cartoons is just the tip of the iceberg…

  7. James says:

    I agree with you, why cut out the jokes just because they are slightly racist. Heh I like the "Goodness gracious me" comment stereotype a joke at my expense and I never even relised it but its funny, and surly The Life Of Brian is much more erm Politically Incorrect then Tom and Jerry yet Im a Christian and can still laugh along. Some people just cant take a joke and thats about that!

  8. famous says:

    i have always said live and let live.i am over 60 so obviously something of a \’\’dinasaur\’ but i am wondering when the pendulum of P C is going to swing back towards common sense.leave the classic cartoons etc alone!hold them up as stereotypes of old fashioned thinking!if people cannot see the old stuff ,how will they know the new stuff is good or bad??i was on a bus trip the other day and visited a shop witha display of golliwogs(shriek,shame ,disgusting etc)no-one complained or fainted (including some people of west indian origin)  i sometimes think that the trouble with P C is that it is white people bending over back wards to prove how up to date they are and being the problem and not the solution!!!                                                                          from famouseccles  in notts

  9. famous says:

    coops .i have to say i am a TOTTENHAM fan and for you to crow at \’\’our\’\’ misfortune is tantamount to kicking a person when they are down . stop it or i may need a stiff drink (or counselling)to get over it.!stiff drink eh ??on second thoughts    carry on!!

  10. Coops - says:

    Does anyone remember the brouhaha over Hergé\’s Tintin In The Congo? Today, it is rightly viewed as a book containing racist views with an offensive portrayal of Africans. I wasn\’t surprised at calls for it to be withdrawn and banned. But I didn\’t agree. Again I say it must be viewed within the context of its era. The publishers and sellers had the last laugh though – all the publicity sent sales soaring. You\’ve all provided great food for thought on this subject. I\’m keeping my fingers crossed as I may yet obtain some unedited Tom and Jerry cartoons on DVD. famouseccles, Spurs fans in this office gave me a ton of grief when Thierry Henry departed so I\’m giving it the large one while I can. Fancy a lasagne? 🙂

  11. lynette says:

    ban this ban that….HUMANS ARE WORSE THAN ANIMALS.

  12. deany_boy says:

    well im only 17, and watching tom and jerry isone of my fondest memories, there used to be limeted childrens tv growing up (even less if ur any older than me i know) and i was spoon fed gold like tom and gerry and thomas the tank engine, both great show that, even now when i hear the theme i shudder in exitmenmt and reflect on the years, i could sit and cuddle up with my mum and nan watching these and we\’d all crease up laughing, amd now to find that they, amoung other shows are coming under scrutiny is rediculas, as u mentioned about tom and gerry, allow me to elaborate on thomas, the name of the fat controller has been changed as to not offend, also due to this obesity epidemic, ITS REDICULAS!! leave these old shows alone, its all some if us have of our childhood, as childrens tv is so saturated nowa days, also have you noticed that they\’re re-making everything, thomas, teenage mutant ninja turtles (the first series back in the 90\’s was changed to teenage mutant HERO turtles as it was seen as offensive by the way) so lets just leave it be, for tom, for jerry, for the turtles and thomas

  13. famous says:

    coops,  what do you feel about the cable tv stations that keep recycling old series??by these i mean \’\’fools and horses \’\’ l o t summer wine \’\’ \’\’ new tricks \’\’and others . uktv seems to be the biggest culprit (we saw   new tricks   on bbc .it was repeated on uktv drama and a couple of weeks later on  ukgold.)my wife has a problem with her short term memory due to illness.(she can remember her schooldays but not necessarily what she did last week.)so she can watch and not be fazed by it having been on recently.it sometimes drives me mad knowing what is coming next.!the fact is that these stations just seem to recycle the same set of programmes.summer wine in particular. its been on for 30 years but the first 2 series have now been on uktv  3 times already this year.do you think this is value for the licence fee??

  14. M says:

    I absolutely concur the original T&J cartoons were a staple of my early years and I beleive heralded the arrival of the evening news. The cartoons were true classics and any cut versions I am sure would be a real shame. As I am without sky or cable I have been denied my \’fix\’ of Tom and Jerry,even in their cut versions, for many,many years. I would love to see a DVD box set of original T&J for sale perhaps we should start a campaign ?

  15. ronan karen says:

    I agree that it’s important that the originals are available uncut.  It’s always problematic to ‘deal’ with racism in media by removing black representations (and therefore black actors/voice actors/writers etc) entirely.  For instance, Animaniacs, which was supposed to be a sort of call-back to Golden Era animation, I’m trying to remember if it had any non-white/non-Jewish references…?  And there are some very talented performers that can still be enjoyed, in their context.
    They also show an ugly truth—black performers used to only be tolerated as entertainers if they acted out the worst stereotypes.  Most minorities, in fact, would only be represented in ways that reinforced their marginalisation.  There’s still too much of that in today’s media, a combination of what will be green-lighted and what some performers use as ‘black comedy’—like, the difference between the Martin Lawrence Show and the Dave Chappelle Show.  One played with and challenged the old lingering images, and the other actively mined them for material.  Without the chance to see the original material—and think, wow, that’s right where it stops being funny—the Sambo/Mammy figures will keep slipping in.
    Anyway, great entry!

  16. Coops - says:

    famouseccles, in order to keep the comments here on-topic, I will deal with your cable query regarding repeats in a future entry. Cheers my Spurs-supporting friend.

  17. David says:

    I am a white anglo-saxon heterosexual married taxpaying homeowning law-abiding protestant !  I am against NOBODY…so why Oh why….is everybody against ME …?

  18. kelly says:

    I absolutely agree that cartoons like T&J should not be \’cleaned up\’. T&J was my favourite cartoon and I still loving watching it now with my kids. I know that when I was younger I had no idea that there was anything sinister about the protrayal of certain characters in the cartoons, of course when I got older and watched them again the blatant stereotyping was uncomfortable to watch. But as an \’enlightened\’ person i know that it was the ignorance of people in those times. Black people and minorities did not hold many positions of power in the media industry so did not have a say. Things have changed and it simply would not be acceptable now, even the institutionally racist organisation Disney have had a black chairman.

  19. Robert says:

    How far should we go to disguise history? If early T & J cartoons are perceived to be offensive to African Americans then surely it follows that all pre-1960 \’westerns\’ should be deleted from distribution because of the characteristic images of \’bloodthirsty indians scalping the innocent white settlers\’ offending today\’s Native Americans. Do we \’eliminate\’ the female stereotypes shown in movies of the 40\’s/50\’s? At what age will our children be allowed to know that attitudes, however wrong, were very different in the past??

  20. Simon says:

    Utterly, utterly ridiculous. I grew up watching Tom and Jerry and loved it. By the time I was old enough to realise that some of the situations etc. were a little stereotypical, i was also old enough to form my own opinions. Have I grown up to be a racist? No. I grew up with a love for well made cartoons and a healthy sense of humour. I also have a large number of Tom and Jerry cartoons on VHS tape, and I\’d pay good money to upgrade to DVD. But I want the original cartoons. Not what some politically correct do-gooder thinks is best for me. I\’m an adult and can make my own choices thank you very much. Release the original cartoons (with warning stickers all over the box if you must) and I\’ll happily buy them, but untill then, I\’m one of the increasing number of people who\’s going to download them from the internet and make up my own compilation DVDs 🙂

  21. Keith says:

    It is amazing that such words of common sense can spout, even from the mouth of an arsenal fan!!! A pity the censors didn\’t get to foreign managers too. I stand up for the right to be racist or any other \’ist\’.  A natural British citizen.

  22. mary says:

    a generation of people grew up watching tom and jerry and there wasnt so called  racistism until recent years.
    there are others who have nothing better to do so they look for ways to hack decent people of,
    tom and jerry was a cartoon for gods sake, something to laugh at, oops sorry we arnt supposed to laugh anymore in case it upsets others who spend there life miserable.

  23. Lawrence says:

    I grew up watching Tom & Jerry and although watching and understanding the uncut episodes as an adult, I never understood the political incorrectness as a child. I didn\’t grow up racist and I didn\’t grow up hitting my friend on the thumbs with a hammer thinking they would be fine in a few seconds, (Tom\’s swollen thumb was always ok in the next scene). The cartoons did not affect my respect for my fellow man and I\’d hardly think today they would make any difference to the way children are currently acting. Whoopi Goldberg\’s statement is right, it does falsify history and the culture of the times and to change it is as ridiculous as trying to change history. Why stop there, why don\’t we destroy or do a hack job on films of hitler and show that he was a good person or re-write the history books and rid the world of all evidence of political incorrectness.
    I don\’t know what all the fuss is about as the current situation with young kids is out of control with acts of violence, crime and no respect for anyone. I\’m sure a bunch of 50 year old cartoons will make them worse! Maybe its the political correctness that is causing the problems, some people act out because they are being told what to do and what is right, they might never have acted out if they were not told what to do. If you bring attention to something, it will attract attention, but the wrong kind. Don\’t even start me on Big Brother, that was all blown out of proportion BECAUSE OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, not in spite of it.

  24. Char says:

    I grew up watching Tom And Jerry and even my daughter enjoys watching the cartoon and doesn\’t copy them or wanna spark up a fag or whack people over the head with hammers and irons!!!! I can\’t understand why they have to cut the cartoon short (No point what so ever!!!) Without all of those things that are SO bad (apparently!!) the cartoon would not be as good as it was intended to be!! It\’s a cartoon at the end of the day and not real life. OMG the world of politics these days are getting so ridiculously stupid and petty, is there any point of having any cartoons (classic or new) around if all they do is moan and complain that it is affecting the society these days and causing people to copy or mimic from cartoons!! Don\’t they have nothing better do with themselves, they should listen to themselves and they have bound to have watched this cartoon aswell when they were growing up but apparently that doesn\’t count!!!

  25. Matt says:

    Isn\’t this country geting stupid, Tom & Jerry racist (no mam aint seen no cat no place no how!) sorry one of my favourite T & J CARTOONS, it\’s odd in this day and age Tom ends up with a black face and it\’s racist but it\’s ok on Thomas the Tank Engine for the controller to be called fat and no one gives a s**t.
    If we have to be correct in everything we say it should apply to every person, thin, fat, short, black, yellow or sky blue pink with yellow spots, DON\’T JUST WHINGE ABOUT THE ODD THING……….
    Long live Tom & Jerry, Spike & Tike, Sylvester & Tweety anf to all the animations (and that\’s all they are) for making our childhoods fun and for giving us something to laugh at.

  26. Rachel says:

    These \’censors\’ need to grow up.
    Tom and Jerry cartoons were my staple TV diet when I was growing up. I\’m not a racist, I\’m not homophobic, I don\’t pick on disabled people or gingers. Racism is nurtured in the home. Children learn by example, not from television on the whole, but from their parents.
    Leave these cartoons alone, and see them for what they are. Harmless fun.

  27. Brian says:

    When oh when are the Pc brigade going to stop? Just about every person on the planet could find something to be "offended" about if they thought about it. These cartoons were made in a different era and should be treated as such,if this is not going to be the case, wher will it stop? When every film,book,play etc has been banned/edited/censored? Surely as adults we are capable of making up our own minds as to what we watch or read etc.

  28. Unknown says:

    A great post that hits the ridiculousness of the pc nail right on its head. This is a still under-appreciated artform that really should be seen in the context of its time. We\’re all big enough to know the difference between right and wrong and I get really angry at these people whose main agenda (let\’s face it) is to promote themselves. I don\’t see anyone complaining about the "Yo mamma\’s so fat" gags which are potentially more hurtful than any number of petticoats that Mammy Two-Shoes might wear (my favourite gag of hers). There is much more affection and good-nature in T&J, Looney Tunes etc (and I don\’t mean in a patronising way) than in much of the comedy around today.And lastly, I don\’t want to rain on your parade but as a Man U fan all I can say is enjoy it while it lasts. You won\’t be at the top of the table come the end of the season…

  29. sarah says:

    For political correctness one thing always amuses me. I\’m English and the amount of people not originating from England that make "tea and crumpets" jokes, or assume the English are posh, patriarical etc etc is astonding. Generally the English culture is hideously type-casted – so far as maybe it could be deemed "offensive". Yet will the episodes of "Bones" featuring Stephen Fry be edited? No. Would we want them edited? No. Generally its a culture that laughs tongue – in – cheek and is far from treated as politically correct.My point is this; why are the English stereotyped in media to death and yet we have "Ba Ba Wooly Sheep" now, Gollywogs from the Noddy cartoons aren\’t shown and Tom and Jerry is ruined? Because some cultures can\’t imbrace an unfair, unconstitutional type-cast? I would say ban the English type-cast too but I embrace my culture\’s neuroticims and find it amusing. Perhaps we need to lighten up and accept these things for the manner in which they were intended.

  30. Jessica says:

    Firstly I agree that these TV programmes, along with many books and movies, were made in a time when this was seen as appropriate. Don\’t you ever wonder if some of these things are being censored more out of white people\’s shame that their forefathers were so racist than to keep black people from being offended. If we pretend this whole racist era never happened we are belittling the suffering of those who went through it and how will we learn from our mistakes if we just cover them up. Tom and Jerry isn\’t real – even very young children can tell you that – so these children have no reason to believe that the racial stereotype portrayed is any more real than cats and mice hitting each other on the head with irons.
    However, I guess, it\’s not really my place to say whether or not things are offensive to people because I\’m only fourteen and I live in a prodominantly white area so I\’ve never witnessed any real, direct racism because it was already deemed unacceptable by the time I was born. I\’m not black myself but I don\’t think that if I was that Tom and Jerry racism from years ago would be my prime concern, I think I\’d be more worried about racism in politics (very few politicians of ethnic backgrounds are voted into parliament/congress) , education (no education on the slave trade and black peopel recieving poorer education in general to white counterparts) , employment (racist employers) and advertising (for example the Trident advert somebody else mentioned) which all still happen today.
    Also racism isn\’t the only form of discrimination. Women still receive less pay than men doing the same job, young people are still stereotyped in the media and forced to only enter shops two at a time, while old people are refused jobs because of their age, thin young women are immediately assumed to be unhealthy and anorexic, any muslim is now a suicide bomber according to many people and the media shamelessly critsises gypsy travellers and foreign immigrants. I could go on forever but these are the things that matter now and really affect people\’s lives more than a fifty year old cartoon with a black woman in it.

  31. Jon says:

    I used to watch Tom and Jerry for years.  I\’m 18 now and I still love watching the good old stuff by Quimby, but the PC army have made it not only irritatingly PC, but also plainly not funny.  Mammy Two Shoes used to be one of the things that was funny about it, but no anything that one person finds offensive, has to be banned for the rest of us.  I agree with the others, we\’re all offended by different things.  If you are offended by Tom and Jerry, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU WATCHING IT???  Do people sit down on a Friday night and put the telly on thinking "I wanna get offended tonight…"  I mean come on just change the damn channel!!  Live and let live, for example, I hate Big Brother, but I\’m not going to stop/upset others watching it just because I don\’t like it, I\’ll watch Tom and Jerry!  PC and Health and Safety need to pull their fingers out of their tightly sealed arses and lighten up.  Freedom of choice?  Let us have the freedom to choose what we want to watch instead of interfering!  We\’re happier that way!  Peace out.

  32. Gary says:

    I have to say that self-righteous people like you make me sick. Who really cares about Tom and Jerry? The cartoon is an anachronism and wouldn\’t get shown were it not for the high number of satellite channels that need to fill their airtime. Don\’t you understand that Mammy Two-Shoes harks back to the days when affluent white American families all had black servants and that, in itself echoes the days of slavery? Just because it reflects the age does not make it appropriate viewing in these, more enlightened days. What next, as far as you are concerned, "Love Thy Neighbour"?
    It seems to me you are using the original Tom and Jerry as a form of comfort blanket. You want to be reiminded of happy, innocent, childhood days and hang on to your memories. But those were not innocent times. The cartoons were made in an age of ignorance and they reflect that.
    And, maybe you can tell me how the kind of racial stereotyping in Tom and Jerry is any different from the Trident chewing gum ad? If anything, it is worse. There is a large, indigenous white Caribbean population that really do speak like the character in the advert but I\’m willing to bet that all you saw was a white man immitating a black man. What next? Complaints about Asians speaking with a cockney accent?
    No doubt you feel that your conscience is eased by your complaint but by coming on here and spouting drivel about a 70 year old cartoon, you are showing yourself to be more ignorant and out of touch than most.

  33. Coops - says:

    Jess, how nice to hear from someone on the other side of the pond. I\’d like to thank you and Jon Boy for your comments – interesting reading.  (no name) who left a comment on 17 October at 15:18, what can I say? Nothing infuriates me more than censorship; if that makes me "self-righteous" in your eyes, so be it. Of Tom and Jerry you say: "Just because it reflects the age does not make it appropriate viewing in these, more enlightened days. What next, as far as you are concerned, "Love Thy Neighbour"? As I stated in the original entry, I can understand why certain cartoons are subjected to edits on TV. However, discerning adults should have the choice when it comes to DVD releases – that\’s my argument in a nutshell. I\’d recommend another perusal of this entry as you\’ve totally got the wrong end of the stick, especially with regard to my stance on the Trident advert. I didn\’t mention the white character (was there one?), I – and thousands more like me – objected to the black character for reasons outlined above. So, to use your words, it\’s not me "spouting drivel" and it\’s not me looking "ignorant" and "out of touch".

  34. Gary says:

    I have a friend who was recently reprimanded at work for absent mindedly repeating something he heard on TV. In short, he mimicked an Indian accent within earshot of an Indian lady, who complained. The rights or wrongs of what he did are debateable. However, he could never be described as racist. He just repeated something he had heard on TV and with TV constantly bombarding us with stereotypes of one kind or another, is he really to blame?
    The point of my earlier argument is that you cannot have your cake and eat it. If censorship is used to protect minorities or the disadvantaged, then it should apply across the board. A person cannot complain about the censorship of one thing whilst advocating the censorship of another.
    We are all exposed to the media in one form or another and can anybody say for sure that what we read, see or hear isn\’t censored, if only to give bias? The fact that you may be able to put the stereotypes represented in Tom and Jerry cartoons into context does not necessarily mean that everybody can and that is the risk. Is the person, who knows no better, to be castigated for, perhaps, mimicking Mama Two Shoes in front of a West Indian person after seeing an uncensored Tom and Jerry cartoon?
    Either have no censorship and accept that people may stereotype others, as my friend did in all innocence, or you censor totally.

  35. Jessica says:

    Most sensible people don\’t copy everything they see on TV, not even small children, and the very much under-valued talent of thinking before you speak comes in useful here. Racism and stereotypes are unacceptable – I think most people will agree – so we shouldn\’t continue making things which promote this BUT if something has already been made in a bygone era when people did believe these stereotypes were true then it shouldn\’t just be cencored, how far would that go, we could end up back in the book burning Nazi days, unlikely I know but it goes to show what cencorship can do.  Mammy Two Shoes is a racist image and that\’s wrong, no more characters should be made like her these days, but just because she is a stereotype doesn\’t mean she promotes them. This may seem strange but most children will meet at least a few people of a different ethnicity, if they see that stereotypes aren\’t always true by comparing Mammy Two Shoes to black women they have met then that can only be a good thing. I believe that with the right parental support we can get over this racism and enjoy cartoons the way they were meant to be.

  36. Christopher F. says:

    Well, it looks as if Jules Verne will have to go too, then. The character in Around the World in Eighty Days (Passepartout?) is definitely a stereotype. Journey to the Centre of the Earth will no doubt offend all those new species discovered recently at the bottom of the sea. Most of his stories contain stereotypes of very clever professors, so its goodbye The Day the Earth Screamed. And are many horror films to be banned because they offend vampires? What about Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, doesn\’t that upset all the schizophrenics out there? God help us if we ever meet up with the inhabitants of other planets, because there goes Star Trek and all its\’ spin-offs. The PC brigade are a bunch of tossers. Ooops, sorry, that could upset any number of Scotsmen who indulge in throwing tree trunks all over the landscape. Oooops, sorry, that could upset anyone north of the border. Oooops, sorry, that might offend the Ramblers, who know no borders. Oooops, sorry, that might upset anyone who can walk. And so it goes on, the PC brigade won\’t be happy until nobody does or says anything at all. Well, b*ll*cks to all of them. Ok, NOW who have I offended?

  37. colin says:

    mammy two shoes is a strong condident black woman who we all love…ooohhh! shocking, get her off!

  38. Sati Marie says:

    I basically agree. Most humour, aside from the absolute slapstick (which I have never understood, personally) includes some elements of mockery, whether it comes through in stereotypes (of black people, or gays, or blondes, or Americans, or…) or self-detrimental comments (like stories about the dumb thing you did the other day), or people making fun of their friends. Maybe it isn\’t entirely correct or healthy, but it is what it is. The nature of humour is to defy political correctness. If it was made so that nobody could ever find a single offensive thing in it, it wouldn\’t be funny. Yeah, some of it has to be edited out for younger viewers, but adults generally know where to draw the line between funny and just plain offensive. And I think most of us understand that art (yes, I consider good cartoons art) can be viewed in a historic context and still entertain, even if some of the viewpoints are inappropriate in this day and age.
    I strongly dislike the "nanny-state" that you hear so much about these days. Implying that people cannot be responsible for what they view (or what they eat, or anything else) without there being dire consequences is, in my mind, much worse than letting occasionally un-PC things exist. Solving a problem by removing people\’s ability to choose is both impractical and insulting, whether it\’s un-PC cartoons, or calories in a McDonalds meal.

  39. me says:

    So typical. If it offends blacks, SO WHAT! As far as you whites are conserned, we blacks compain and are crybabies in the first place and too sensitive in the second place.  It matters no how BLATANT the racism is, whites will justify ANY attempt at calling something racist, or someone white, a racist. Imus makes a Small comment, and you people say his being fired was too harsh. You quickly put him back on as soon as the black watchdogs are gone. Dog the Bounty Hunter, is "caught" talking like a racist that he is, and your people state that the BOY was wrong and a traitor! A Traitor to WHAT? To WHOME? His racist father for insulting the black woman he loves? NO ONE has intervied the black woman who was insulted, NO ONE has interviewed the son to see how Hurt he was. But EVERYONE has given DOG the chance to say "I AM NOT A RACIST" and it was just a slip, and I was just mad!
    NOW Tom and Jerry. I LOVED the cartoon as a kid, but I also thought that the MAMMY charector was funny, but southern. I think that it DOES show the Red kneck racist behaviour of whites. BUT the cartoon is NOT in the PAST. We NEED to stop saying its in the PAST. The White people make money from that Cartoon. TODAY> It is Being Sold TODAY. THere is a copyright for it TODAY. The fact is, the cartoon called the charrector "MAMMY"! HOW can you not say its racist? So it was made in the past, its ok to show today? I as a black person who have KIDS TODAY, will SEE the show TODAY, and my kids like to watch cartoons TODAY, and they will see the depiction of blacks as YOUR servants as being POSITIVE TODAY! So STOP saying this is IN the PAST. YEs it was MADE in the Past, but its STILL a MODERN thing. It is STILL being played.
    Look at it this way, what if there was Pro hitler Propaganda being shown on tv, NOT under the light of a documentary type setting, but for its general entertainment purposes. Lets pretend that the movies were shown BY a german run station. The name of the Cable network is Germany TV. They show German made shows and stuff like that. They didnt make any comments before or after the show. Just the propaganda footage alone, translated. It showed why Jews were inferior, or simply showed the rightness of the removal of jews from the land of germany. ALL they did was just SHOW the film. Week after week, different ones. NO comments , No spin on HOW we should view them.
    Would it be ok? Would it not be placed into question JUST on the fact that the company showing the shows were GERMAN? THAT would make the americans feel that they were spewing HATE right? What if the propaganda didnt really show jews being Killed or instructing that they should be killed. It just stated that Jews were trouble makers politically, and the jews were shown as criminals. THATS ALL it shows. CLEARLY that would be BAD right? Because we KNOW what Hitler DID to jews during that day. We KNOW that such movies may have been POSITIVE to his followers, but they are NOT good today. We KNOW that a GERMAN run TV station may not CARE if the show was seen as negative or not.
    What if, after protest from Jews to the cable network, the German people who OWN the station, Removed the show. What if GERMAN OWNED Internet sites started having messege blogs and the GERMAN bloggers started saying how it was No big deal, it was the past, and we have to take it in CONTEXT to the past. What if even a few JEWS felt the same way. Would we not have to think about the fact that the INTERNET SITE ITSELF is owned by GERMANS too?
    I am NOT going to Draw the lines for you whites to show you how this is the same with Tom And Jerry. I want the whites on this site to SEE it for themselves. If that is at all possible.

  40. Coops - says:

    (no name), very passionately argued. I wonder if you read my original article before you responded? I recognise Tom and Jerry as being a product of their time – blatant racism is a consequence of this. However cartoons with questionable content are edited on TV and there is no way for your children or anyone else\’s to see racist cartoon images unless they do a search on the internet. I argued for unedited cartoons to be made available on DVD for discerning adults, and I will continue to argue for it. Do you really think all white people are unable to recognise how distasteful and offensive elements of these cartoons remain to this very day? Who do you think it is leading the PC charge? It isn\’t always black people y\’know…

  41. carey says:

    Re \’no name\’:The fact that you have just referred to people as \’blacks\’ and \’whites\’ all the way through your rant and have geralised the whole of a population by the colour of their skin shows that you\’re more racist than the vast majority of people in this world will ever be. No one is denying that there is a history of racism that was dispicable but with this in mind shouldn\’t you and everyone else be anti-oppressive to every group rather than definifng them by their colour?

  42. flisskat says:

    Hmm, this will be my second ever-so-slightly-off-topic comment on your blog, but making the same point. So \’pollogies.
    Being largely unaware of the \’mammy\’ sterotype until ridiculously late on in life, I always just assumed that a) the house was hers, rather than being a housekeeper, as wikipedia suggests, and b) she spoke like americans of the time (I grew up in the 80\’s. I recognised that the cartoons seemed to be set in the 50\’s).
    Infact, I\’ve just had to ask what the watermelon thing was about, and the best explanation i\’ve got was \’white americans think black americans from the deep south eat a lot of watermelon\’,  I\’m not saying that english cartoons from the same period would depict a happy smiling circle of different ethnicities singing ebony and ivory, but surely all those stereotypes you mention are peculiar to the U.S of A? Watermelon is still an exotic fruit to me, and \’nappy\’ refers to baby sanitary wear….

  43. Coops - says:

    Hello flisskat, indeed – most of the stereotypes are American stereotypes. However, it doesn\’t mean that I, as a black Briton, am immune to the hurt they cause. Get my point?

  44. flisskat says:

    \’Course I do, I happen to be Scottish, I have similar issues with scrooge McDuck (who, coincidentally started out around the same time, in a cartoon called the spirit of \’45). I was just making the point that not every one who reads your blog thingy will imediately understand the sterotype. I\’m not a particularly sheltered individual myself, but that watermelon thing had me scratching my head. 

  45. flisskat says:

    Actually, now that I really think about it, british TV isn\’t any better at representing Scots in a non sterotypical way. Aside from the fact
    that we\’re under represented in general, I can\’t think of a single positive scottish character on a soap or drama recently. we\’ve had mo\’s husband the wife beater in eastenders, and uhh, marks wife ruth the alcoholic in eastenders 10 years ago. Even big brother was 3 years in before a Scottish accent appeared.
    Yep, times surely have changed from the bad old days when every \’extra\’ on the Bill was a drunken violent scotsman.

  46. Anna says:

    As a kid I didn\’t even think about Tom and Jerry portraying black people in a stereotypical way. I thought the cat was mean and the mouse was funny and strong for standing up to a bully. The black owner was incidental and I felt at the time it was good that black people were portrayed in cartoons too as several of my close friends were black/indian/chinese etc. Young kids just don\’t care, it certainly hasn\’t made me a racist, in fact it made me see right from wrong no matter what the species/ethnicity/skin colour. Bollocks to political correctness, educate kids to be kind and fair and don\’t highlight differences between people by making allowances. I don\’t give a damn who takes the mick out of me, my beliefs or my religion as long as there is no malicious intent and they can take a bit of a ribbing back!

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