“Tom and Jerry” reruns were a staple of Saturday morning cartoons in the days before cable, watched by millions of American kids — without a racial disclaimer.
But that was then and this is now.
Here in the politically correct 21st century, Amazon Prime Instant Video warns its subscribers the slapstick comedy between Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse may include scenes of “racial prejudice,” BBC News reports.
Amazon added this warning to the series: “Tom and 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.”
If the company truly believes the cartoon series to be racist, then why even carry it?
“Tom and Jerry” was created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and ran until 1957.
The depiction of a black maid — Mammy Two Shoes — is said to be one point of contention, BBC News reported. Another is the use of “black faces” to show characters with blasted faces. There are also concerns about how women are portrayed in the series and about characters smoking cigarettes.
Barbera said in interview later in life the scenes were a product of the time and not intended to be racist.
Frank Furedi, a cultural commentator and University of Kent sociology professor, told BCC News the racial disclaimer is “empty-headed.”
“We’re reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values,” Furedi said.
A few fans of the cartoon classic took to Twitter to share their thoughts about Amazon’s decision:
Old Tom and Jerry cartoons to carry warnings of ‘racial prejudice’. Give me strength. I am a foreigner in a culture I no longer understand.
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) October 1, 2014
There’s no way in hell that Tom and Jerry is racist. http://t.co/kekAodN6VO This cartoon show is a classic! Lay off of it, leftists.
— Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) October 2, 2014
Is it right for Amazon to put a racist warning on Tom and Jerry? Isn’t it just ‘of its time’? Daft… http://t.co/vGGFLtWdGe
— Jo Hemmings (@TVpsychologist) October 1, 2014
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