Cartoon classic Tom and Jerry now come with a disclaimer at two popular sites. Both Amazon and iTunes warns that the shorts, made between 1940 to 1957, are racist.
This viewer discretion disclaimer is now on Amazon:
Tom & Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed.
A similar warning also appears at iTunes.
Not surprisingly, some groups have called it political correctness gone amok.
“The story sounds too crazy to contemplate at first blush,” conservative site Hot Air wrote. “If you’re going to be putting parental warnings on video entertainment, cartoons which date back to before even I was born seem an unlikely place to start. It’s a cat chasing a mouse who generally makes a fool of him.”
Yet, while Hot Air may well be right about the basic plot, even one of the show’s creatives admitted that the depictions of an African-American woman in the shoe was, in fact, racist.
“Now the mammy in Tom and Jerry was an outright racist cartoon character. [She] had the typical negro voice and served as a foil for the two animal characters,” Jack Zander, who helped draw the cartoons admitted. “Showing just her feet and lower body kept us from worrying about her face and making her another ‘character’ to give personality to.”
Despite the racial overtones, Whoopi Goldberg thinks that the warning is enough and that future generations should still be allowed to enjoy the cartoons, albeit with a little bit of contextualization, especially since while Tom and Jerry was racist in their portrayal, the cartoons actually afforded a rare opportunity for an African-American actor.
Mammy Two-Shoes was voiced by Lillian Randolph, a pioneering African-American actress who was one of the first to work in cartoons, although the role was uncredited.
Photo Credits: Screenshot/YouTube