Wake up, smell the racism, censor history?

There’s something I’ve wanted to work on for about three years and hadn’t gotten around to it yet because of the research involved and because of the subject matter. I’ve hinted at it several times. The events this year with things like George Floyd being killed are related to it, and I see that if I had written it back then, it wouldn’t be as strong as it will be once I get a handle on it and take in these new events.

Jon Stewart was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night and he made the statement that because COVID-19 took some of the distractions away from us, we have time to think about new things and “America suddenly stopped and smelled the racism”. We’re seeing it branch out and become more prominent under the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • The music group Lady Antebellum decided they will just be called “Lady A” and worked out a deal with singer Lady A so they could both use the new name, even though they’re separate.
  • The University of Virginia came up with a new sports logo and then I think they had to redesign it after someone pointed out that the reference to the university’s building layout was to keep slaves hidden from public view.
  • The writers of Brooklyn Nine-Nine just threw away four scripts and will re-work the entire upcoming season.
  • Confederate statues are coming down, and US military bases named for Confederate people may be renamed.
  • Disney already added disclaimers to a few movies when they were sent to Disney+, and broadcaster Sky is doing the same with the animated and live actions versions of Disney’s The Jungle Book, Disney’s animated Dumbo, plus The Goonies, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and others.

I could name many more at this point, but the one I think is most potent is Quaker Oats’ decision to retire the Aunt Jemima brand because it’s a racial stereotype. On the surface, it’s a no-brainer. The suitability of it as a corporate image came up before and even after updating the image during it’s long history, maybe it wasn’t enough to justify using it any more. However, the families of the women who were the model for the image on the packaging are saying doing this is erasing a part of their family history.

Some episodes of 30 Rock aren’t going to be on streaming services any more because characters wore blackface of varying degrees. When Bill Lawrence received a suggestion to do the same for Scrubs and he said it was already in progress, people countered with asking if they couldn’t be edited so we don’t lose three entire episodes because of one bad thing in each of them.

The response to the decisions about Aunt Jemima and Scrubs show a critical difference being missed in the rush to remove these items. If you’re in a hurry to get rid of X, are you doing anything to offer a better replacement for it, or is saying “you have to get rid of it” the full extent of your involvement?

The actual saying is different, but you’ll more likely hear it as “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” Hiding something like as if it never happened addresses the immediate problem. Are any steps being taken that will help people in the future learn why the change was made that will show it’s more than just bowing to social pressure in a way that could be censoring history?

For the second time in 15 years, there’s discussions about whether The Dukes of Hazzard should still be shown because of the Confederate Flag on the car. The first time, John Schneider opposed it. This time, he’s asking because he honestly wants to know about it. Ben Jones, who played Cooter, points out the history of the flag traces back to St. Andrew, first disciple of Jesus and was crucified in a spread-eagle position. Jones has said about the show, “Suddenly, we’re persona non grata because we have that symbol there. That’s astonishingly narrow, given the demographics and our history.”

HBO decided to pull Gone with the Wind earlier this month. I didn’t include the fact that Scarlett threatened to beat one of her slaves when I mentioned it two years ago, but I did say how manipulative and vindictive she is. Until this year, it was acceptable to watch this movie without a second thought. HBO decided that adding an intro about the horrors of slavery to provide context was a better move than locking it away, so now we can still see it and have new information to help us understand it.

We’ve been here before, very recently with the Me Too movement. Back then, the feeling of “take away everything they did so they don’t get any more benefit” was very strong. It hit Kevin Spacey in particular. A film that was about to be released was delayed while every scene he was in was reshot and his character on House of Cards was killed off.

In between then and now, we had another example where the episode of The Simpsons called “Stark Raving Dad” was removed after the documentary about Michael Jackson was released. For this, the reason was given that while the showrunners are not in favor of book burning, The Simpsons is their book and they’re “allowed to take out a chapter”.

We want things gone but we need to provide enough information so that those who are living now and those in the future can learn from this part of our past. Simply getting rid of it isn’t the answer, and I can provide a concrete example of what you could call a reverse Godwin’s Law.

When Dwight D. Eisenhower was fighting in Europe during World War II, he saw how useful the German highway system was and when he became President of the U.S., he helped get the Interstate Highway System going to improve transportation for both civilians and the military. Some sections of the highways are long and straight so they can be used as runways.

Those German highways were originally called the Reichsautobahn. Others had proposed a highway system before and the Nazi party opposed those ideas. After the party comes to power, it’s suddenly a great idea, so great in fact that Adolph Hitler gets credit for coming up with it and they’re called die Straßen Adolf Hitlers (“Adolph Hitler’s roads”).

Adolph Hitler is pretty much universally considered a bad person. He was involved in the creation of the Reichsautobahn. The U.S. Interstate Highway System is based on that concept. Ergo, we have to start tearing up the Interstate highways because we can’t have them associated with Adolph Hitler. It’s only a tiny fraction of the highway system’s history, but Hitler bad so it has to go.

That’s an exaggerated example, but it does match the mentality of the “we have to get rid of X now” thinking we’re seeing too much of. Actually doing it would be massively expensive and require a completely different transportation system, setting us back economically for decades.

When it comes to current events like Black Lives Matter, what else can we do to help people learn about what’s happened before without taking the “get rid of it” path that too often involves censoring history?

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You’re not wrong, man.

Twitchy has an advanced degree in history. He pointed out to me yesterday that somewhere a statue of Grant is being (or has been) removed… because he was a general during the Civil War… with zero thought about where he stood. Twitchy rattled off a list of things Grant was known for a the time: for being against slavery in general, for freeing slaves as he battled across the south, for hiring those freed slaves to fight with him and paying them the same wages as the rest of the soldiers, for his highest advisor being a black man (possibly also a freed slave, I don’t remember, but it was someone that he had known for a long time.) But because Grant was a figure during the Civil War, and the protestors are ignorant, his statue is gone.

Also, we have a modern example of the “doomed to repeat it” adage, and oddly enough, it is also Nazi related. I saw something a few years ago saying that because Germany whitewashed history in their education system, they have a generation that doesn’t believe the holocaust happened, and some of those folks were doing things that needed to be stopped. (Not that we don’t have stupid people here, too - flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, people who think the moon landings were faked, generic conspiracy theorists…)

A lot of these protests that turn violent really isn’t helping the cause at all, especially if they start toppling the wrong statue and attacking a Democratic state senator like they did in Madison Wisconsin this week:

“One of the statues toppled, decapitated and dragged into a lake about a half-mile away was of Civil War Col. Hans Christian Heg. He was an anti-slavery activist and leader of an anti-slave catcher militia in Wisconsin who fought for the Union and died from injuries suffered during the Battle of Chickamauga.”

If say the mess in Wisconsin is more due to a state senator than any federal elected official.

Our entire state has been a political mess for about a decade now. There’s just no compromise between both parties and resembles a “no holds barred” type of situation over everything.

With the recent focus on episodes of TV shows that have actors appearing in various levels of blackface, does the 2004 movie called “White Chicks” where Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans, two black actors, disguise themselves as white women so they don’t bungle an assignment count as “whiteface”?


Whether it does or not, it still counts as “terrible” either way


Sorry, Burt Reynolds, Jerry Reed and Sally Field. If we have to get rid of The Dukes of Hazard because it had a Confederate flag on the car, the Smokey and the Bandit movies have to go, too. There was a Confederate flag on the front license plate frame of the Trans Am in the first movie. Sheriff Buford T. Justice practically leaks racism, and in the getting Bandit back into shape part of the second movie, the Bandit imitated a slave and used the word “Massa”.

That’s it, three strikes. The Bandit is out. Better make sure the four made-for-TV prequel movies are also never shown again.

Sorry, Donald Faison. You sang part of “Jimmy Crack Corn” in the “My Fruit Cups” episode of Scrubs. And even though you’re a Black actor and you didn’t sing the part about about the “massa” going away, that song’s connected to slavery, so this episode has to go, too.

Ocean’s 11.
During the job, the boys have to put on dark camouflage paint. That’s fine, but then they joke with Sammy Davis Jr. about how he takes it off. This one has to go. Sorry 1960’s.

This isn’t about racism, but it is about a controversial person. Ben Stiller says he’s not going to remove Donald Trump from his movie Zoolander. There’s a lot of calls for it, but as Ryan Lattanzio, who wrote the article, puts it:

“Zoolander” isn’t Donald Trump’s only screen appearance. By this logic, his appearances would also require removal from films such as “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “Two Weeks Notice,” “The Little Rascals,” and “Celebrity,” as well as the series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Spin City,” “Sex and the City,” “Suddenly Susan,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “All My Children,” and “The Nanny.” There’s also the longtime reality series Trump executive-produced, “The Apprentice.”

This is what people want when they fall into the trap of “X is bad, get rid of it now” without thinking further of what would replace it. It’s what we’re pointing out, starting with my question about “whiteface”. Because Rizak pointed out the joke in Ocean’s 11, the follow-through is the PBS show American Masters can’t show the episode any more called “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me”

It’s a great episode about how becoming an entertainer was a better solution than fighting back against the racism and prejudice he experienced during his life. In the Army, he was beat up, his nose broken about three times, offered a beer with urine in it, and more. As he said, he was in a fight about every second day. At one point, he fought back and beat up the other guy. That guy said, “Yeah, you beat me, but you’ll always be a n*****.” The word is uncensored in the episode and it’s said by several different people as they quote what other people said. Even though Sammy Davis, Jr. realized, “I have to do something different”, started doing impressions of actors to amuse the other soldiers, and that led him to doing impressions in night clubs of famous white actors at a time when no black person was doing that, and that helped him get to be a very successful entertainer, the episode’s gotta go.

The sort of joke in Ocean’s 11 was also a part of the nightclub performances that the Rat Pack played in. There’s also the audio of President Richard Nixon talking by phone about Sammy being the first black person to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom. You can hear Nixon start to say “ni” and he catches himself, providing a different description of Sammy’s race. It happened so quick and he recovered immediately that if you didn’t catch that Nixon stopped himself from saying the N word, you wouldn’t think twice about what he said. But we can’t have any of that still being publicly viewable, so PBS, you have to bury this episode.

Let’s go for three more.

In the same episode, Billy Crystal recounted about how it was a “different time” back in the 60s. That made me remember the interview with Henry Winkler as the first guest on the new Inside the Actors Studio, where hosting duties are handled by other actors. They showed an episode of Happy Days where the Fonz snapped his fingers and the woman that was nearby immediately walked over to him and stood beside him. I think put his arm around her to show she was his, at least for the moment.

Winkler said (possibly paraphrased as I’m going by memory), “First, never snap your fingers at a woman”, and then he stated it was a “different time, different time”. If you look at Happy Days now in the social climate we have today, would you see a message that if you’re popular and cool enough, you can get any woman just by snapping your fingers? Is there another message that women should be subservient to men and come to them the instant they are called, similar to how you might call a dog? Do women only have value and worth because of who they are associated with?

Winkler has learned that in the 35 years since the show ended, what was acceptable then isn’t acceptable now. It was a role he was playing that may not be an indicator of anything he personally believed in or how he behaved. But because of how many times the Fonz did that in the show, that’s too big a chunk to edit out. We just better get rid of all eleven seasons, the two animated series, and all of the spin-offs: Laverne & Shirley, Blansky’s Beauties, Mork & Mindy, Out of the Blue and Joanie Loves Chachi, plus all books, comic books, the musical of Happy Days and all other merchandise.

WKRP in Cincinnati already has been heavily edited due to licensing issues with the music featured in each episode. On the DVDs, Loni Anderson, Frank Bonner and series creator Hugh Wilson did commentary on some episodes, including one right after Venus Flytrap joined the station. Venus walks in, bewildered as to why Arthur Carlson keeps offering him watermelon. Not upset. Not angry. Just confused as to why a white station manager is making the offer to a black employee. At that point in the commentary, Hugh Wilson says, “Oh, did we really do that?”

So, even though he demonstrated that he, too, recognized that what was funny then isn’t appropriate now, at the very least, that scene has to be edited from the show. Who knows how much more like that is in there? Buh-bye, WKRP and the spin-off/sequel. You better go, too. Better safe than socially and/or racially insensitive.

Remember Welcome Back, Kotter? You probably remember John Travolta was on the show. Do you remember Debralee Scott? How about when one of the Sweathogs would mention Rosalie Totsie and everyone else would immediately respond, “You mean, ‘Hotsie Totsie’?” Because of how they exaggerated her reputation in a sexual manner, shouldn’t we get rid of this TV series as being degrading towards her? Even though she finally called them out on their behavior and she earned some respect from them, that’s not enough to offset that it was in the show, is it? Isn’t it just easier to toss it in the trash so we don’t have to think about it? So we don’t have it to learn anything from it about how we should and should not treat other people?

That’s the obvious answer. Get rid of all these things so we can forget they existed and we won’t have them to help us learn about the past to avoid repeating it in the future.

Why not, we’re already in the middle of whitewashing every mascot and spokesperson out there.

I’ve put a couple of my Facebook friends on mute lately. I can’t afford to be drawn into multi hour conversations about race where I have to edit and re-edit every word I use to make sure it can’t be used against me or my wife later. Hell, I just went back on this post and removed a couple sentences.

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We have to make an edit to The Shawshank Redemption. When Andy is assigned to the prison library, he asks Brooks what he does. The answer isn’t much, but Brooks ends it by saying “Easy peasy, Japanesy.”. That part of the movie takes place just four years after World War II and it was very common to make fun of the nations that were defeated in the war. But it’s clearly a derogatory term now and it has to go.

“When you go looking for things to be offended by, you will always find them.” For a NSFW, no holds-barred take on “sensitivity readers”, I’ll point you to Larry Correia’s blog on them.

To: All the folks looking for something to get offended by and want to redact all the things…

“Lighten up, Francis.”

Found something else we have to get rid of: The hypocrite song.

You don’t know what that is? Yes, you do. You heard the song all over the radio in the 1980s. The J. Giles Band inflicted it on us under the name “Centerfold”.

It’s a song about a man seeing pictures of his high school crush in an adult magazine. He’s so devastated by his memories being sold that his blood runs cold. Of course, what’s conveniently left out is the double standard that it’s okay for him to look at the magazine but not her to be photographed for it. And no discussion of the circumstances that might have led to those pictures being taken. Nope, it’s all about him feeling betrayed.

Oh, don’t get me started on this song…

Yeah, I never really liked that song. Partly because of the hypocrisy, partly because it’s a crap song anyway

I also didn’t understand it because I would have been thrilled to see some of my classmates as a centrefold :laughing:

This is the most racist thing I think I’ve ever seen taken seriously. The Smithsonian put this out. The article is bad enougj, but the infographic is horrible.


It reads like the Babylon Bee if they were horrifically racist. As if only white people value hard work, or punctuality, or family. If this was true I would never hire anyone but a white person for a job. White people only like bland food?

Just now seeing it, and it looks like they edited it, or at least removed a graphic. I couldn’t finish; too stupid and horribly inaccurate. They act like racists are exclusively white, which could not be more untrue.

I’ve met racists of many races. White, Black, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, etc.