Rant: Peanuts, Racism, and revisionist history.

I weep for humanity. 

I’m pretty sure that unless you’ve lived in a cave, you have heard about the outrage over the Peanuts Thanksgiving Special and how utterly racist it is. 

The Peanuts gang started their run in the comic section of the paper way back in 1950, and ran until 2000. Fifty years of Charlie Brown and the gang having all sorts of misadventures. Most of the Peanuts specials that run are from the sixties and seventies, long before sensibilities have become as fragile as they have. 

The Peanuts special in question, has drawn fire due to a scene where the one black kid, Franklin, is seated on his own in a lawn chair across the table from everyone else, who has regular dining room chairs. Cries of racism abound, because no one is seated beside Franklin. 

Twitter erupted, with one person going so far to say they won’t watch the special again until more people are seated beside Franklin, and he gets a proper chair…

Let that sink in for a minute. 

One person is refusing to watch it again until they make changes to this beloved classic because he finds it offensive? 

While the individual in question is certainly entitled to his opinion, here’s mine. 

As I started with this blog, Peanuts ran for fifty years, ending in 2000, making the franchise nearly 70 years old. The special in question is nearly 50 years old, and while dated, is still a special story that generations grew up with.  It was a different time and place back then, but we can’t go changing history because a few disagree with it. 

Secondly, the sole reason that there was a black character to begin with, is Charles M. Schulz told his editor that if he couldn’t include a black character, he was going to quit. This happened a short time after Martin Luther King was shot, and was Schulz’s way of honouring King. Does that sound racist?

Third up, who has never gone to a backyard barbecue, and grabbed the nearest available chair and pulled it up to an empty spot at the table?

Yes, looking at the image that has been flying around social media, the optics look bad. That is a fair point in today’s easily offended world. Considering the age of the special, it’s a wonder there is a single black character. What people call racist was actually ahead of it’s time. 

The simple fact is people get offended way to easily, and freedom of speech seems to only apply to those who are offended. Perish the thought of someone disagreeing with you. 

The problem is, instead of learning from the past, the current generation insists on erasing it. 

The removal of John A. Macdonld’s statue from city hall in Victoria, BC is another example. 

I’m not disagreeing that what he allegedly did and said 150 years ago was not right, but he WAS the father of confederation. Canada as it exists today can be credited back to him. Protesters raise right holy hell that he was a monster and he needs to be scrubbed from the fabric of our society. 

If we scrub him out though, what do we learn?

Sir Winston Churchill, another target for those easily offended, once said that “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.” 

I agree with that statement 100 per cent. 

Instead of trying to apologize for our past, and scrubbing it away, why can we not learn from it. Learn from where we came from, and do everything in our power to not repeat that history. If we scrub our history of everything offensive, how are we going to have a benchmark of seeing how far we have come?

Rant over. 

Kevin

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