(SLATE) — Is that cartoon cat racist? Amazon Prime and iTunes now feature a warning for Tom and Jerry cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s, which notes that they “may depict ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society.”
The warning, let’s call it the Disclaimer, continues, “Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”
Cue large amounts of Internet outrage from those decrying political correctness.
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In fact, the language appears adapted from an introduction to the 2005 DVD box of Tom and Jerry: The Spotlight Collection, Volume 2. In it, Whoopi Goldberg discusses the supporting character of Mammy Two-Shoes, a stereotypical black housemaid who never became more than an aproned, drawling, doddering fodder for cheap laughs.
It is unclear whether Amazon or iTunes made an editorial decision to flag these particular cartoons for their content, or simply auto-published the warning in the same way they might list a movie with its MPAA rating. But these days, it seems the first two things jettisoned in any conversation about race are history and proportionality.