Discriminatory Segregationism in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving


We are thankful here at J. Cart. Overanal.: thankful that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Take, exempli gratia, this still from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973 C.E.):

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Two immediate items of note:

  1. Linus Van Pelt, acting in his customary role as spiritual leader, is sitting at the head of the table.
  2. Franklin, the sole African-American member of the Peanuts ensemble, is sitting all by himself on one side of the table.

Here is a passable video of the sequence, including a nightmarish Guaraldi-seasoned tête-à-tête between Snoopy and a beach chair:

The scene in question is, in fact, somewhat questionable itself: the numbers of chairs and servings fluctuate throughout, giving the meal a disorientating Kubrickian quality. This produces in the scene a sense of unease and tension which reflects the viewers’ discomfort at the casual racism on display. Indeed, Franklin is seated in the malicious beach chair, which humiliatingly places him at an eye level below that of the others.

Though this segregation is not limited to racial issues only: Marcie, though eccentric and possessing of an ambiguous sexuality, is caucasian enough to be allowed to remain close to the rest, but is still seated at the end towards the left side of the table. Linus chooses to seat Marcie as far away from himself as possible, separated from the larger group by the dog. Indeed, the beagle is deemed a more fit companion than any heterodox humans. (Though, perhaps Snoopy is allowed to sit with the elite in due respect for his cooking prowess. It is also noted that Snoopy, in an act of defiant compassion, serves Marcie and Franklin first.) Furthermore, to extrapolate, the only characters exempted which could reasonably join the table next are the obsessive-compulsive Schroeder, the filthy Pig Pen, or the unloved and sadistic Lucy, who, if arriving late, would be forced to sit in one of the chairs next to Franklin and Marcie. Thus, the entire left side of the table would be relegated to odd, unhygienic misfits and belligerent, racial outcasts.

The characters are not evil: Peppermint Patty shows genuine remorse for embarrassing and bullying Charlie Brown, and Linus is often a beacon of compassion and temperance. But the point is made: the virus of casual discrimination is insidious and unaware, and can manifest itself at an early age.

Nota bene: this troubling issue uncovered via Super Punch >Catena Ex Situ

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78 Responses to Discriminatory Segregationism in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

  1. […] Marcy, and Token Minority invite themselves over for […]

  2. AuburnGuru says:

    I find it more disturbing to watch the end when Woodstock is enjoying his (her?) turkey dinner, then breaks the wishbone with Snoopy.

  3. The Editor says:

    Woodstock could be a carrion-eating species.

    e.g. Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus).

  4. Rob Northrup says:

    How is Schroeder obsessive-compulsive? He’s a little protective of his toy piano, but he doesn’t treat it like a *security blanket*. Linus is the one who has an anxiety attack every time his mom washes the blanket. (They might not have dealt with it in the animated shows, but that joke was beaten to death in the comic strips.)

    Is their some reason these kids aren’t having Thanksgiving dinner with their extended families, or at least with their parents? Other than Schulz wanting a world where adults never intrude except for their muffled trumpeting.

    Re: disorienting Kubrickian quality. More like the nightmarish geometry of Lovecraft.

  5. greghousesgf says:

    I always thought Marcie was Asian.

  6. Erica says:

    not just that he is sitting at a side, but the largest side, if he was at an end where one one person can sit I would understand, but since he is on the LARGEST side of the table, alone, is more messed up than pig pen, this being said, I noticed this a VERY long time ago, and very glad to see that other have seen it too!

  7. Mags says:

    I noticed this last year, and just googled Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Racism I’m glad someone else noticed that poor Franklin was all by himself at the table :)

  8. Classified infoRMation says:

    it was a little hard for me to understand, not knowing any characters names, but of course its raciest i watched this thing on youtube last year where it showed all of the black kids fails in a 10 minuet clipshow

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  10. kingfrak says:

    They need to burn all copies of this series before it can do more damage to the fragile children of color.

    • Iman Azol says:

      Yes, those poor widdle fragile children “of color,” who are too weak and helpless to stand up for themselves.

      Racist fucker.

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  12. Iman Azol says:

    I find it more telling that you zoom in on color. That, and there’s no Asians or Hispanics at all.

    But I guess you racist fuckers didn’t notice that.

  13. plow says:

    We’re all racist fuckers one and all….Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. Roger says:

    Lol,, what is wrong with this country, this is the most lame reach for something that is not their i have ever read,

  15. Trevor Bagwell says:

    White power

  16. Trevor Bagwell says:

    I love racism in America

  17. Trevor Bagwell says:

    Charlie Brown is a great man, Franklin sucks

  18. Blake Walker says:

    Racist cartoons are funny

  19. Blake Walker says:

    This cartoon was funny because the black kid got the bad chair

  20. Brent Delong says:

    A lot of this was intentional. The creator of Peanuts was very strongly opposed to racism. In fact, he was constantly being critisized for even having Franklin in the comics and on the show. He even threatened to quit doing C.B. if he was not permitted to include Franklin at the table and going to school with the other kids. People actually had a problem with these cartoons bc of the children interacting. We have made considerable progress since then but thing are far from perfect.

  21. Sherry Howell says:

    Whoever wrote this is indeed looking for things to complain about and feel victimed by, Seriously get over it, its peanuts! A cartoon idiot, all cartoons make fun of things, thats what makes them cartoons….large noses, log arms, fat heads, know it alls and yes gay and black people at times, whatever…your stupid which is the biggest problem we real live Americans face, stupidity!! Who was the stupid character on Charlie Brown? Maybe you will qualify and we can see a character of you sitting at a totally separate table or eating from snoopies bowl under the table or better yet table scraps after the meal is over.

  22. Leslie says:

    People have wayyyyyy to much time on their hands. Wow! Absurd!!!

    • Renee says:

      I so agree!! I am a 43 year old born and raised black woman who grew up with Charlie Brown. The thought about it being a racist cartoon, never entered my mind. Trust me I would know racism.

    • Renee says:

      I left out born and raised Mississippi black woman

  23. Lazeruz says:

    The reason there’s nobody next to him is because the angle that the table is at would put the back of heads in the scene. You wouldn’t be able to see their faces. If he was closer to Linus it would look awkward and the evenness of the picture would be off. I’m an artist. I know these things. You just hate white people. End of story.

  24. Jeff says:

    Franklin was first African American character in major strip. He was thoughtful, father in zvietnam, quoted Old Testament, integrated into class room and played center field on baseball team. He was never treated as second class. Thanksgiving is a day to give ignorance and race baiting a rest.

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  26. Ken says:

    I agree, way too much time on your hands. Get over it and get over yourself. Next thing you know idiots will be marching in Washington to have Peanuts removed from the newspaper. What is this world coming to? Fuck you and your nigger college fund, black tv stations, Treyboon marches and most of all fuck Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I can be racist if I want! It’s my right!

    • Candice says:

      You must have issues with insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. I have never seen a poster/post so ignorant. Perhaps you need to leave your hillbilly nation, get an education and surround your self with some culture. I feel sorry for you. :( these comments were about the peanuts cartoon and possible over analyzations but there is always some ignorant ass that takes it to a new LOW level.

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  28. This is a big reach… It would seem more credible if there were more examples and a more detailed explaination.

  29. Cranky Historian says:

    Additionally, Franklin sits in the beach chair, which collapses and ensnares him without warning, reminiscent of the slave coffle that traders used to march their human captives to a lifetime of misery and servitude.

    Do your homework, pikers.

  30. You should be ashamed of yourselves for this analysis. The shot in question appears for fewer than three seconds. And this was 1973. Segregation had not been an issue for years. Franklin, although a supporting role, not a principal in the series, was always portrayed as an equal in the Peanuts TV specials.

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  34. James says:

    Anyone who doesn’t see how crazy that scene looks is obvious an idiot or just in denial. LOL @ people making excuses for this, this was obviously done intentional. Just because this special was made in the 70s doesn’t mean racism didn’t exist back then nor does it mean segregation was still practice. There were places in the South even in the 70s where segregation still existed even when it was illegal.

  35. Freddy Kasenda says:

    thanks for this info, i’m doing a research on subtle racism in American media for my university degree. the more i look the more i find.

  36. Oswald says:

    They should have made Lucy eat under the table like the dog she is! She is the definition of anti-feminist! The little whore!

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