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-   -   Holy crud! Racist Tom and Jerry episode on Cartoon Network Japan (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=867485)

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 09:06 AM

Holy crud! Racist Tom and Jerry episode on Cartoon Network Japan
 
I just came home a few hours ago to find my kid watching an old Tom and Jerry episode on Cartoon Network.
Tom has Jerry and Tuffy trapped in a closet. How will they get past him!?
Then, Jerry finds a tin of boot polish!
(“No... this can’t be about to happen” I start thinking.)
Jerry begins smearing the boot polish over his face.
(“No... noooo-no-no-no-no-no!” I plead out loud to the TV.)
Jerry wraps a red and white polkadot handkerchief around his head.
(“Oh My God No!”)
But there is no god; and, yes, Jerry waddles out of the closet dressed as a mammy caricature, followed by Tuffy all blacked up as a Pickaninny “Honey Chile’”.
I was flabbergasted. (Well, to be honest, I was simultaneously laughing and cussing at the TV in incredulity.)

I looked it up, and the episode we saw is titled “Milky Waif”.

As I said to my kid, I remember seeing similar things in cartoons when I was a kid, but can’t believe I’m seeing it now, and I’m sure that wouldn’t be aired on Cartoon Network in the US.
This is Japan, so I think there’s probably a lot less sensitivity to that kind of thing, but I figured, if I’ve got the time to write about it here, I might as well write a complaint to the network.
Now I feel a little like a fussy old parent, but I’m damned if I’m gonna let them show that shit to my kids when I’m paying for their service.

manson1972 12-19-2018 09:09 AM

So, did the disguises work?

asterion 12-19-2018 09:54 AM

Dude, you're in Japan. They've got their own problems with racism, but an American-specific blackface isn't one of them.

Grrr! 12-19-2018 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21386374)
So, did the disguises work?

It almost did. But as Tuffy was walking away, his diaper fell exposing his grey ass to Tom. Then the chase was back on again.

Son of a Rich 12-19-2018 10:24 AM

https://vimeo.com/90734719

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 10:41 AM

This is Japan, so I think there’s probably a lot less sensitivity to that kind of thing


Ya think?

Penfeather 12-19-2018 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21386597)
This is Japan, so I think there’s probably a lot less sensitivity to that kind of thing


Ya think?

That's nothing to do with American blackface; Ganguro is an exaggerated tan with bleached hair. It's a deliberately noisy, bright and trashy aesthetic as a subversion of received Japanese notions of how women ought to look and behave. Ganguro girls were fun.

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Penfeather (Post 21386676)
That's nothing to do with American blackface



Still looks like it.

Penfeather 12-19-2018 11:43 AM

American racial context is not every culture's racial context.

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 11:48 AM

I was trying to remember a movie I had seen featuring an especially brutal depiction of ganguro, and this article happened to mention it. Check out this scene (there are others if you search.)

CalMeacham 12-19-2018 01:15 PM

There have been complaints in the past about obvious blackface caricature characters, dolls, and cartoons in Japan. I think they're either oblivious to it, or else don't care -- it's part of some other nation's racist history. as the articles below indicate, though, it's becoming part of their considerations as the internet-connected world continues to shrink.


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42561815

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/communi.../#.XBqYAmfsYdU


http://www.mit.edu/~rei/manga-ethnic.html

https://www.vox.com/2015/3/17/823078...cism-blackface

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/communi.../#.XBqYlGfsYdU


http://originalpeople.org/blackface-...mbos-in-japan/

BigT 12-19-2018 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asterion (Post 21386483)
Dude, you're in Japan. They've got their own problems with racism, but an American-specific blackface isn't one of them.

That would make sense if we were talking about some bit of Japanese culture that happened to look like blackface. But this is them showing an American cartoon--it is definitely blackface. And Americans clearly consider this to be racist.

Also, if Darren's links are to be believed, it seems Japan very much does have that problem, having imported the minstrel shows same as Western countries. And there has actually been protest from within Japan to try and stop this.

It may not have the exact same history, but it's still racial stereotyping, and still considered offensive. Blackface is not "American-specific."

BigT 12-19-2018 01:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21386741)
Check out this scene (there are others if you search.)

I will say that this does not look at all the same as the ganguro you linked earlier. The movie definitely just looks like blackface. But the fashion trend looks plausibly like it could be just a style with heavy tanning and white lips, without any black signifiers.

In other words, can you confirm that these two are actually both ganguro? That the video you linked is just plain blackface?

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 21387018)
I
In other words, can you confirm that these two are actually both ganguro? That the video you linked is just plain blackface?


Feel free to browse links. (And all four of those characters are supposed to be Japanese gangaru girls.)

Sage Rat 12-19-2018 03:42 PM

Ganguro is unrelated to blackface. It's the Japanese equivalent to something like "Jersey Girl-chique".

Though, I would expect the style to have died out by now...?

teela brown 12-19-2018 04:21 PM

We were traveling in France, and I was watching some Tom & Jerry cartoons in the hotel room. I thought I had seen every single T&J ever created, but I found myself watching one I had never even heard of.

It was "His Mouse Friday". It was made in 1951, and it was set on a cannibal island. You had better believe there was blackface galore. Also, Jerry spoke! (He was trying to fake out Tom that he was one of the natives and was speaking cannibal gibberish.)

I guess this cartoon had been banned in the U.S., but France had no problem showing it uncut.

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 04:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21387257)
Ganguro is unrelated to blackface.


You are the second person on this thread to make that assertion, but it still remains a face tinted dark, and at least Japanese director Yoshihiro Nishimura made that association when satirizing ganguro in the movie I linked above.


Put it this way--if someone in America died their face black, then claimed that it wasn't blackface, how well would that fly?

Roderick Femm 12-19-2018 05:03 PM

These howlers from other cultures aren't limited to Japan. Here's one from Italy.

https://www.today.com/style/prada-ac...urines-t145256

For context, Prada has had these little novelty items for several years, designed to hang off your handbag or something like that. The earliest ones I remember were like robots. These in the article somehow managed to make it to market for a while.

Reindeer Flotilla 12-19-2018 05:23 PM

In 2011 the remastered and completely uncensored first Tom and Jerry theatrical shorts were released for purchase. As part of the remastering process the decision was made to preserve them as created, warts and all, for historical purposes. This includes obviously all the racially insensitive caricatures (along with restoring Lillian Randolph's original voice work) and all the cartoon violence which MGM sort of lead the pack compared to other studios. (Check out the old original Screwy Squirrel shorts as an example.)

The disc contains an introductory disclaimer to warn viewers whom hadn't ever seen the uncensored versions about the contents and an explanation on why the major restoration of these classics from original pristine 35mm film elements should preserve their history.

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 21386948)
... I think they're either oblivious to it, or else don't care -- it's part of some other nation's racist history.

I think it's a little of both.
A lot of Japanese comedy is broad farce, including dress-up, make-up and exaggerated mannerisms, so a lot of folks here probably don't see the harm.
Also, Japan still being somewhat culturally insular, and rather ethnically homogeneous, I think there's much
less awareness of the problem with blakface.
It's good to know this is changing.

Yep. I remember that.
Reminded me of the time Hey Hey It's Saturday, a popular Australian show I watched as a kid, got told off by Harry Connick Jr for showcasing a blakface lampooning of Michael Jackson.
Australian broadcasters certainly should have known better by that time.
Now it's one of the first things to come up if you search for the show on You Tube.

madmonk28 12-19-2018 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21387347)
We were traveling in France, and I was watching some Tom & Jerry cartoons in the hotel room. I thought I had seen every single T&J ever created, but I found myself watching one I had never even heard of.

It was "His Mouse Friday". It was made in 1951, and it was set on a cannibal island. You had better believe there was blackface galore. Also, Jerry spoke! (He was trying to fake out Tom that he was one of the natives and was speaking cannibal gibberish.)

I guess this cartoon had been banned in the U.S., but France had no problem showing it uncut.

Banned by whom in the US?

Sage Rat 12-19-2018 05:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21387418)
Put it this way--if someone in America died their face black, then claimed that it wasn't blackface, how well would that fly?

https://goo.gl/images/e97LrS

I'll also note...Japanese people aren't in America. What does how well the style would fly in America have to do with anything?

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Not Carlson (Post 21387484)
Reminded me of the time Hey Hey It's Saturday, a popular Australian show I watched as a kid, got told off by Harry Connick Jr for showcasing a blakface lampooning of Michael Jackson.


Hey Hey There's a Dope Thread.

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 21387018)
I will say that this does not look at all the same as the ganguro you linked earlier. The movie definitely just looks like blackface. But the fashion trend looks plausibly like it could be just a style with heavy tanning and white lips, without any black signifiers.

In other words, can you confirm that these two are actually both ganguro? That the video you linked is just plain blackface?

I couldn't bear to watch more than a minute of that, but the sign by the door says "Ganguro Club", and the girl sporting the afro says something to the effect of "We're ganguro! That means we're black!"
To which one of the more typical ganguro
girls says "Aren't you two taking it a bit far?" For which she gets speared by the girl wearing the lip plate.

So that's the "joke". Those two girls were going beyond the mere exaggerated tan and makeup associated with ganguro style to straight up blakface. Hardee-har-harrrr...

[Stumbles off to rinse eyballs in a cup of bleach.]

Dale Sams 12-19-2018 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21387418)
You are the second person on this thread to make that assertion, but it still remains a face tinted dark, and at least Japanese director Yoshihiro Nishimura made that association when satirizing ganguro in the movie I linked above.


Put it this way--if someone in America died their face black, then claimed that it wasn't blackface, how well would that fly?

It wouldn't. Maybe is a 1000 years it will. I'd posit my theory about how if you're not putting on a GD minstrel show, then there's nothing wrong with going all the way with an Orange is the New Black costume...but then if you asked me if its ok for a white girl to dress up like an "Indian Princess" i'd say probably not. And then I'd be a hypocrite.

It has something to do with 'are you being respectful? Or just a drunk entitled frat girl, and you know something I don't think natives get enopugh respect as it is to push those boundries.

Damn it...i went ahead and posted my theories on the subject.

TLDR: Maybe in 1000 years we'll all get along well enough not to care.

pulykamell 12-19-2018 06:10 PM

I'm pretty sure I've seen this episode of Tom and Jerry airing in the US as late as the mid-80s. I also very much remember the stereotypical portrayals of "Mammy" who is at least the caretaker of the house T&J live in (or perhaps the owner--I don't recall if this was ever explicitly defined.) Do they still show those cartoons here?

teela brown 12-19-2018 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madmonk28 (Post 21387492)
Banned by whom in the US?

No idea. All I know is that I was a confirmed Tom & Jerry junky (still am), yet I had never seen nor heard of that cartoon.

Dale Sams 12-19-2018 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21387548)
No idea. All I know is that I was a confirmed Tom & Jerry junky (still am), yet I had never seen nor heard of that cartoon.

I don't think you can even see the ones with Mammy Two Shoes can you? Even though she's voiced by an African American

pulykamell 12-19-2018 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21387548)
No idea. All I know is that I was a confirmed Tom & Jerry junky (still am), yet I had never seen nor heard of that cartoon.

That one I'm almost certain I've seen as well. I'm sure it depends on when you grew up, but I did most my cartoon watching in the 80s, being born in '75 myself. I remember the whole pygmy or African tribe bone-in-the-hair stereotypical portrayal was still fairly common in cartoons shown in that era. Mind you, not made in that era, but shown. I mean, that's the whole reason I even know that stereotype exists.

Dale Sams 12-19-2018 06:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21387554)
That one I'm almost certain I've seen as well. I'm sure it depends on when you grew up, but I did most my cartoon watching in the 80s, being born in '75 myself. I remember the whole pygmy or African tribe bone-in-the-hair stereotypical portrayal was still fairly common in cartoons shown in that era. Mind you, not made in that era, but shown. I mean, that's the whole reason I even know that stereotype exists.

I was going to post that I think the cartoons with Inky and the Mynah Bird get a bad rap as Inky doesn't look thaaaaat bad....annnnnd I just got his name.*


*File that to the "Popular works that went over your head for years" thread. Shit, for about seven years I thought The Borg was just a cool name.

Sage Rat 12-19-2018 06:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dale Sams (Post 21387530)
It wouldn't. Maybe is a 1000 years it will. I'd posit my theory about how if you're not putting on a GD minstrel show, then there's nothing wrong with going all the way with an Orange is the New Black costume...but then if you asked me if its ok for a white girl to dress up like an "Indian Princess" i'd say probably not. And then I'd be a hypocrite.

It has something to do with 'are you being respectful? Or just a drunk entitled frat girl, and you know something I don't think natives get enopugh respect as it is to push those boundries.

Damn it...i went ahead and posted my theories on the subject.

TLDR: Maybe in 1000 years we'll all get along well enough not to care.

https://goo.gl/images/e97LrS

Grrr! 12-19-2018 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21387554)
That one I'm almost certain I've seen as well. I'm sure it depends on when you grew up, but I did most my cartoon watching in the 80s, being born in '75 myself. I remember the whole pygmy or African tribe bone-in-the-hair stereotypical portrayal was still fairly common in cartoons shown in that era. Mind you, not made in that era, but shown. I mean, that's the whole reason I even know that stereotype exists.

Same. And I'm five years older than you. I also remember, Go Go Gophers (the Indian dudes), Tijuana Toads, and Speedy Gonzales.

None of which would fly today.

Bryan Ekers 12-19-2018 07:08 PM

If it offends you that much, draw a cartoon of a Japanese soldier raping a Korean or Chinese woman. That'll show 'em!

Bryan Ekers 12-19-2018 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 21387614)
Same. And I'm five years older than you. I also remember, Go Go Gophers (the Indian dudes), Tijuana Toads, and Speedy Gonzales.

None of which would fly today.

Speedy's aware.

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers (Post 21387628)
If it offends you that much, draw a cartoon of a Japanese soldier raping a Korean or Chinese woman. That'll show 'em!

Dude, WTF!?
What are you trying to say?

That wouldn't show anyone anything other than how much of an arsehole I would be.

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 21387614)
Same. And I'm five years older than you. I also remember, Go Go Gophers (the Indian dudes), Tijuana Toads, and Speedy Gonzales.

None of which would fly today.

Maybe it's just my own blind spot, but I've never had a problem with ol' Speedy.
Maybe it's because he's played as the hero and the jokes are always at the expense of the "gringo pussycat".

I think I read somewhere that even Mexicans are fine with Speedy's portrayal. Maybe it was the Dope. Not sure.

Personally, I prefer Slowpoke Rodriguez.

pulykamell 12-19-2018 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 21387614)
Same. And I'm five years older than you. I also remember, Go Go Gophers (the Indian dudes), Tijuana Toads, and Speedy Gonzales.

None of which would fly today.

Yeah. I remember visiting my cousin in Australia back in 1993 and having a conversation one night about Tom and Jerry. He grew up in the US with me, and it just dawned on us then at how very inappropriate the cartoon was for children for many reasons, among them violence and racial stereotypes. And this was back when I was a Rush Limbaugh-listening conservative Republican. When I think back on the 80s and the cartoons I watched, I'm still a bit amazed. On the other hand, the cartoon fostered a great respect for classical music for me, and got me interesting in composers like Liszt (Hungarian Rhapsody #2) and also jazz (especially the "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" episode.)

Grrr! 12-19-2018 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Not Carlson (Post 21387664)
Maybe it's just my own blind spot, but I've never had a problem with ol' Speedy.
Maybe it's because he's played as the hero and the jokes are always at the expense of the "gringo pussycat".

I think I read somewhere that even Mexicans are fine with Speedy's portrayal. Maybe it was the Dope. Not sure.

Personally, I prefer Slowpoke Rodriguez.

Yeah, when I was a teenager, I lived with a Mexican family for a while. Both Tijuana Toads and Speedy were loved by the whole family. Especially Tijuana Toads! That shit would have us ALL in tears from laughing so hard.

I also favored Slow Poke. Partly due because I was an awkward kid that sucked at all things sports. So I sort of related.

HMS Irruncible 12-19-2018 08:10 PM

Send them a letter, they might very well respond, couldn't hurt. But they also might very well run this same strip for the next 70 years.

Bryan Ekers 12-19-2018 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Not Carlson (Post 21387657)
Dude, WTF!?
What are you trying to say?

That wouldn't show anyone anything other than how much of an arsehole I would be.

Well, you've got an image that is offensive to Americans (characters putting on blackface - though clearly within living memory, Americans were thought to be okay with this), but the Japanese view it with cultural indifference.

If you want to up the stakes, draw something offensive to Americans (a soldier raping a civilian woman) but is apparently really really offensive to the Japanese, insofar as they routinely deny that stuff like this even happened, though it also is within living memory.

Skywatcher 12-19-2018 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21387418)
Put it this way--if someone in America died their face black, then claimed that it wasn't blackface, how well would that fly?

You evidently missed the discussion of blackface vs. "black"face in this thread.

This is blackface; this is not, but still a bad idea.

DPRK 12-19-2018 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 21387686)
I also favored Slow Poke. Partly due because I was an awkward kid that sucked at all things sports. So I sort of related.

You packed a gun and mesmerized cats? :)

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers (Post 21387702)
If you want to up the stakes...

I don't.
And whatever the intent, I don't think thowing one unrelated, offensive thing at another is going to solve anything.

Not Carlson 12-19-2018 09:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible (Post 21387701)
Send them a letter, they might very well respond, couldn't hurt. But they also might very well run this same strip for the next 70 years.

I did. Hence:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Not Carlson (Post 21386370)
...I figured, if I’ve got the time to write about it here, I might as well write a complaint to the network.
Now I feel a little like a fussy old parent, but I’m damned if I’m gonna let them show that shit to my kids when I’m paying for their service.

I have no illusion it will makea difference, but you never know.

bmoak 12-19-2018 09:45 PM

Ask Cartoon Network Japan when their next airing of that wartime classic "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" will be.

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 10:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21387541)
I'm pretty sure I've seen this episode of Tom and Jerry airing in the US as late as the mid-80s. I also very much remember the stereotypical portrayals of "Mammy" who is at least the caretaker of the house T&J live in (or perhaps the owner--I don't recall if this was ever explicitly defined.) Do they still show those cartoons here?


All of those were still airing in the US in the 80s, including ones where some sort of explosion gave the character a black face and nappy hair.

Darren Garrison 12-19-2018 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 21387686)
Especially Tijuana Toads! That shit would have us ALL in tears from laughing so hard.

I also favored Slow Poke. Partly due because I was an awkward kid that sucked at all things sports. So I sort of related.




Huh. I don't remember those guys.

nightshadea 12-20-2018 12:27 AM

what about "bunny and claude a rabbit and his broad"

madmonk28 12-20-2018 06:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21387548)
No idea. All I know is that I was a confirmed Tom & Jerry junky (still am), yet I had never seen nor heard of that cartoon.

That's a pretty radical assumption isn't it? There's no committee of political correctness deciding what is and is not allowed to air. Culture changes and so do tastes, I haven't seen an episode of the Monkees since the '70s, but that doesn't mean the episodes have been banned, just that tastes have shifted. The fact that audiences no longer enjoy casually racists cartoons from 70 years ago isn't a banning anymore than the fact that we don't see Charlie Chaplin movies during prime time means that he's been banned. We've moved on.

madmonk28 12-20-2018 07:32 AM

Also, you can buy the DVD with this "banned" cartoon on Amazon or stream His Mouse Friday on Amazon Video.


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