Cartoon Network released a public service announcement meant to teach children how to be “anti-racist.” The one-minute spot used two male cartoon characters — one white and one black — who discussed marrying each other someday.
“Hey, when we’re older, let’s get married!” exclaimed a black boy to a white boy in the ad.
But before the white character had a chance to respond, a white female cartoon character interrupts the two boys, saying, “you can’t get married.”
“Why not?” asks the white male character.
“Black people can’t marry white people,” responds the white female character.
Just then, Garnet from Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe appears and says to all three children, “Kids, don’t be racist,” before someone offscreen yells, “cut,” insinuating that the entire scene was being staged by the cartoon characters, and filmed by other cartoon characters off set.
“This is the cheesiest job I’ve ever done, stuff like this doesn’t actually happen in real life,” lamented the white male cartoon character of his acting gig.
“Are you kidding? It totally does,” said the black boy.
“Just because this has never happened to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen,” added Garnet.
“I’m sorry, seriously, I didn’t know,” reacted the white boy.
“Yeah, everyone messes up sometimes, but you gotta realize it hurts to deal with racism, and when people act like it’s not real, it makes it feel even worse,” adds the black boy.
“You have to acknowledge racism to work against it,” lectures Garnet.
Cartoon Network is not the only TV network to push content suggesting that society is racist and that children should take it upon themselves to call it out.
A few weeks ago, Sesame Street aired a 30-minute special aimed at teaching children and families how to be “anti-racist.” The special defined “racism” for young audiences, and urged children to call out others who they suspect of being racist.
“When you see something that’s wrong, speak up and say, ‘That’s wrong’ and tell an adult,” advises one Muppet during the special.