‘T’ Is For … Thomas The Tank Engine Is Also Racist
The TV show “Thomas and Friends” is racist, wrote Tracy van Syke for the Guardian in July, because good engines puff white smoke and bad engines puff black smoke. She is so relieved her son doesn’t have “a manic train fascination like so many other children,” because although the show “seems to impart good moral lessons about hard work and friendship,” it is in reality “concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages” — it’s racist, classist, sexist and anti-environmentalist. The smoke is just one example. “I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there,” she writes, “but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke … it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.”
Another person who has no trouble leaping into “the race territory” is author and activist Leonard Zeskind, who said at a National White Privilege Conference that the entire Tea Party is is marked by a contagious racism. “There has been a longitudinal study that find the longer you are in the Tea Party, the more racist you become,” he declared, and said the movement is like other white nationalist groups. “Is it racist?” he asked, and then answered himself: “Yes.”
The Tea Party rallying cry, “Take back our country,” is racist, Eugene Robinson wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in May. “In general, I try to focus on what a person does or says rather than speculate on what he or she is. How can I really know what’s in another person’s heart?” he asks, before implying that anyone holding a “Take Back Our Country” sign is racist, since they started using the phrase after a black man became president.
A Connecticut resident complained that a version of the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” performed at a local high school was racist because of its portrayal of Asians. “We would never do anything anti-Jewish, or anti-African-American,” she wrote on her blog Pragmatic Mom. “Blackface is unthinkable, but yellowface is utterly fine.” A community meeting was called, and the theater director apologized profusely. “I’m sorry, I am so, so sorry you are felling the anger you are feeling,” said Director Adam Brown. “We blew it. I’m sorry.” Harvard professor Carol J. Oja told the Boston Globe, who covered the story, many Broadway classics contain troubling racial stereotypes. “Being sensitive is really important,” Oja said.
In a strange twist, a federal judge in California implied that teacher tenure laws are racist, because they allow bad teachers to stick around and deprive students of a good education — and a disproportionate number of those students affected are minorities, reported The New York Times. “The evidence is compelling,” Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling. “Indeed it shocks the conscience.” Treu said his ruling ties in to Brown v. Board of Education, because good teachers are a part of insuring an “equality of the education experience.”
The Portland African American Leadership Forum has made it very clear that the presence of a Trader Joe’s in North or Northeast Portland is unacceptable, because it would attract too many white people, reported the Associated Press. Trader Joe’s would “increase the desirability” for “non-oppressed populations,” the Forum wrote in a letter to Portland after it got wind of plans for a new Trader Joe’s in the area. And the mayor actually signed a letter saying The Portland Development Commission, which had offered Trader Joe’s a good deal on the property, was contributing to “the destructive impact of gentrification and displacement on the African American community.” Trader Joe’s did not protest and took its business elsewhere.
Educate yourself. Catch up on the rest of The Daily Caller’s Alphabet of Racism:
(Photos: Flickr/Creative Commons, Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images, Flickr/Creative Commons, Getty Images, Flickr/Creative Commons/Mike Mozart)