Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Black Native American Panther Son of Boris and Natasha

Reading the personification of two humorous cartoon characters from a childhood show was unexpected. Who ever takes the time to think about the personal lives of cartoons? We never think about what happens after the artist abandons his/her pen. At least they can have a private life. No journalist from the National Enquirer would think about publishing a fabricated story on cartoons. It would, amazingly, be too beyond belief for an adult, American audience. In this way they are lucky. However, when and if Boris and Natasha want to file for divorce, I would like to see them try to convince a judge of their case.

On a more serious note, this poem stood out most to me because it exposed the underlying ideology behind a popular cartoon. As a child I did not know that the Americans and Russians were enemies; that the Russians were fighting for the ideology of communism, or what communism was. The cartoon for me was not about the US always triumphing against elusive Russian spies. Instead, simply, this cartoon was about a dumb Moose and a smart Squirrel who always seemed to escape the wrath of a couple of comical, menacing, angry people with funny accents. Making connections like these are some of the most exciting experiences of growing up.

An appealing cartoon was the one where the researcher is in a jail cell saying, “gee, I bet your glad to be out of the ghetto!” to a black inmate. Unfortunately, these sorts of occurrences can put the social sciences in a potentially negative light. Such statements are leftovers from a (relatively recent) despicable history of racism and bigotry in these fields. Not to say that these fields are not still attempting to dig themselves out of such holes.

The Black Panther cartoon with the maid is interesting. It is demonstrating, from what I understand that although these men are fighting for a freedom from oppression, they are themselves contributing to the oppression of black women. The Native Son cartoon is also humorous, because obviously this book on “black anger” sold very well.

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