Down in the Boondocks

Recently, there’s been an addition to the comics page of the Chicago Tribune. It’s a strip called “The Boondocks” and I’m assuming it’s in syndication. For those of you who don’t read it, I’ll give a brief synopsis so you’ll at least know what I’m prattling on about:

Two black boys live with their grandfather in a white suburbian neighborhood. Most of the plot revolves around the older boy (pre-teen) and his attitudes about the black race, the white race, some inter-racial girl, and the neighborhood. Really, that’s about it.

So far, reaction to the strip has been fairly polarlized. People either say it’s cutting edge and witty or else racist and demeaning. A fair amount have hinted that the only reason why the author of the strip (A. McGregor) gets away with it is because he’s black and so he’s allowed to get away with insulting white people because saying he can’t would be “racist”. Some of the recent plots have involved the boy creating a “Klan Watch” program for the neighborhood because he suspects the KKK has inflintrated, him being upset that his toy light saber wouldn’t actually kill girls, and most recently, him refusing to celebrated Independance Day because blacks were still held as slaves in 1776.

So… I have found the comic to be a little bothersome at times. However, being the fair-minded guy I am, I figure that instead of just huffing over it, I’d think to myself how I’d react if the same plot was in Doonesbury, a politically edged strip I enjoy reading. For the most part, I’ve realized that I’d either find it amusing or at least not insulting. Some of them though have gone to the point of utter revulsion. Namely, the whole Independance Day thing (which makes me think, “so… am I supposed to feel guilty or something about something that happened over 200 years ago and had nothing to do with me or even my Polish forefathers?”).

Out of curiousity, anyone else read it? Have opinions? Want to rant at me for being a racist lout? Don’t tell me “if you don’t like it, don’t read it”. I’m well aware of that choice and can make that decision myself - I’m more curious about other people’s thoughts than hints on how to not read a comic strip.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

The L.A. Times has started carrying that strip, too. I tend to agree that it is racist – I didn’t know that it was written by a black cartoonist, but it doesn’t change my opinion any. I don’t think it says much positive about blacks OR whites.

I pass over it now.


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I prefer funnies that are actually, well, funny. “Boondocks” has yet to elicit a laugh from me. If it’s scathing social satire, I’m not exactly sure what he’s satirizing - if he’s poking fun at the central character’s reverse racism, he’s not poking hard enough. But the artwork isn’t bad.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution picked up “The Boondocks” several weeks ago. The reader reaction was swift and strong (both for and against). The strip was moved from the comics page to the opinion section, where other satirical comics already reside (“Doonesberry” and “Rhymes with Orange”). That seems to be the AJC’s modus operandi. If it is controversial, it can’t be a comic so put it with the editorials. The real reason is probably that the people who get worked up over comic strips do not read the opinion section and the move cuts down on complaints.

I personally have not become a fan of “The Boondocks”, but I’ll give it a little more time before I relegate it to the “waste of newsprint” catagory.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

Well I guess I’m in the minority. I like The Boondocks. Read it everyday.

It might not supposed to make you laugh in so much as inspire debate like this.

I think that the comic deals straight with topics that people tend to dance around with all the time. Race and Racism. Especially in the black community. I want to borrow another quote:

I admit, my experiences with black people are just limited to my family and friends and their friends. So I’m no expert. But my relatives act in the same way as the two main characters tend to act in the strip. The fact you don’t LIKE the lead character doing that in the strip is probably the point.
But I’ll get off that rant for a while.

Although I don’t find the strip terribly funny, I don’t think it’s anymore racist than “All in the Family”. If anything, I think it pokes fun at Black paranoia and conspiracy theorists. We’ve all met people like the black kid in the “Boondocks” who thinks the entirity of the white race is out to get him, just as we’ve all met people like Archie Bunker who measure people by the stereotypes they grew up with.

On the other hand, I don’t see any networks trying to pull off a 1999 version of “All In The Family”. I can’t help but think that there is some sort of reverse discrimination going on where apparently it’s okay for blacks to go off on whites, but for a white to do so to a black in the media is terribly wrong. Find a mainstream comic with an anti-black focus and prove me wrong :wink:

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

Has anyone seen the TV show, “The Hughlys” (sp?). I don’t know that I’d call it a 1999 All In The Family (in reverse), but it is about a black family who moves to a white suburb, and the father has a lot of pre-set conspiracy-type notions about whitey. Personally, I think the show does a decent job (for a sitcom) of addressing the uncomfortable feelings many people have but don’t want to talk about.
As to ‘Boondocks’, I’ve seen it two or three times and found it neither funny nor offensive.

“I think it would be a great idea” Mohandas Ghandi’s answer when asked what he thought of Western civilization

My comments on the “Boondocks:”

I had high hopes when the strip debuted. Living in a Chicago area “ring suburb” that is integrating in a similar way to the fictional neighborhood the comic portrays, I had hoped for insightful satire.

There has been some of that, particularly in the relationship between Huey (the older black child) and Jasmine, the nieghbor girl who is bi-racial.

But the basic tone of the strip is very angry, and the “laughs” are usually at stereotypes. The atmosphere is so dark, there is little hope. Even Doonesbury makes me chuckle sometime. What little insightfullness “Boondocks” has presented has been hurtful.

“Its fiction, but all the facts are true!”


“Rhymes with Orange” is considered controversial in Atlanta? It boggles the mind.

And what about the Chicago Sun-Times decision to not carry “Funky Winkerbean’s” series on breast cancer?

“Cubs fever - - - Catch it and die!”