racist garbage

coal black

This 1943 Warner Brothers’ Merrie Melodies animated short is entitled Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs. It is one of the so-called “censored eleven,” cartoons that were taken out of circulation by their then-owner Universal in 1968 due to their questionable subject matter. It is pretty plain as to why this one would be suppressed–its vile depiction of grotesque black stereotypes (and, this being wartime, at least one mention of “japs”). What surprised me is the Citizen Kane reference.

Note: I prepared this post a few days ago with a youtube video that claimed to be taken from a 16mm print with very good image and sound but that has been removed. (I guess Warner Brothers only want people to see this if it is a mess of a VHS rip.) I settled on an inferior video. If this one is removed you’ll have to try your luck here.

8 responses to “racist garbage

  1. yah know. i normally like old cartoons, but this seems to come from that ilk of cartoons that thinks its just funny to be black in general.

    I mean yes, the racial stereotyping is painful to watch, and the characters drawn so unpleasantly that you wince, but at the route of it all the general joke is, aren’t black people funny?

  2. I think that you see lots of examples of racism in old cartoons like those mentioned above…but many people are sorely mistaken with the Briar Rabbit stories.

    A little research reveals that stories like the tar baby are wide spread from culture to culture and are used as a metaphor for a sticky situation. Anansi the spider in african folklore fights a tar man and gets stuck to him. In some cherokee stories the animals all make a wolf out of pine tar to scare off rabbit who, in turn, eventually gets stuck to the wolf.

    The sad part is..the term tar baby has become somewhat of a “tar baby” in itself as the over-sensative and ignorant both exploit it for their own devices and fail to see the real moral behind the story itself..

  3. This review pissed me off pretty badly. If you’d done even a little research, you’d have found out that Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs is considered by many to be Bob Clampett’s magnum opus and one of the greatest cartoons ever made. It’s a technical masterpiece, and if you want to get your panties in a knot over how overtly racist it is… well duh. Of course it’s racist as hell, most everything groundbreaking from that period is. If it makes you feel any better, you know who suggested Clampett make this cartoon? His friend Duke Ellington. It’s also a rare film role for both Ruby Dandridge and Leo Watson, so it’s significant for both film AND jazz history.

    Of course this cartoon is incredibly, unforgivably racist, but it’s also brilliant. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, as well as the countless other pieces of classic art that are no longer politically correct.

  4. Is it just me, or does Coal Black look a lot like John K’s Sody Pop?

  5. mmm I don´t think it´s a racist cartoon, in fact the most important role was a very nice Pretty girl, as you see in other classical cartoons many of the caracters would be offensive, and many of the girls are pretty, and nobody dislike that.

  6. ‘Racist garbage’? Utterly ridiculous. How are these caricatures different from thousands of others depicting European Americans or whatever you call them, ‘white’ is it?

    I am a proud Barbadian from a family with thousands of these illustrations loved for many generations.

    The only racisim I see today, is that from people in a country that seems to have lept back to the 1950’s. With a mixed race [to it’s credit] President that everybody through fear of being brandished a racist, has to call Black. Ridiculous. Get over it.

  7. Lets be frank, these old videos that have been deemed by black rights excentrics as racest can not posibably depict blacks in an any-worse manner than most modern day blacks present theirselves. Lil’wayne, Gucci Maine, all of Dipset and praticaly every other rapper out there running around with their pants below their butt with all that silly jewerly promoting streetcrime, shiftless behavor and total disregard to the codes and conduct of civilized society that set us apart from common animal. All that they sugest is that blacks sell drugs, murder for petty reason, and that it is okay to partake in permisculous sex. The worse part is, is that the majority of Americans can not deferenciate from what is right to do and what is wrong due to the lack of ethics presented to the public by mainstream socity and are beginig to adopt these illconcived ethics from black rappers.

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