Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Charlie Brown Lies

 image In Canada thanksgiving is in October, and so our thoughts have already turned to Christmas.   Tonight as I was flipping through the channels, I noticed that Charlie Brown had a Thanksgiving special, and so I decided to let Destruction my 7 year old stay up and watch it.  This would turn out to be a terrible decision.

Instead of the usual holiday cartoon where Peppermint Patty invites herselfimage over for dinner, we were treated to their rendition of the pilgrims and their wonderful relationship with the Indigenous community. As the cartoon progressed I realized that as soon as it was over, I would have to inform Destruction about the truth.

Seeing this in cartoon form enraged me.  No wonder so many are still unaware of the truth when we have children's cartoon indoctrinating the young with lies.  I could not help but wonder how many parents let their kids watch this travesty without comment. 

As soon as the cartoon was over I spent 30 minutes with Destruction informing him why thanksgiving is not a happy holiday for many Indigenous peoples.  When I asked him if he had any questions he looked at me and said, "Mommy why would Charlie Brown lie like that?"

Charlie Brown lied because we know that what was done to Native Americans in the name of conquest was wrong.  The degree of disparity that they continue to live with is wrong.  There is no justification for this, and rather than admit the crimes against humanity that were committed, we have decided to perpetuate the national myth of a friendly meeting of the minds. 

Children deserve to be told the truth.  It is today's youth that are going to have live with the consequences of the decisions that we make today, and we should have the decency to own the ways in which we have perverted history to maintain our racialized and hierarchal society.

Though he is only a little boy, it was quite obvious to Destruction after our discussion that what occurred was wrong.  Not only was he indignant to learn that such terrible crimes were committed for us to be able to live in our homes, he was angered that he was lied to.  It is one thing to know that a carton is not real, but quite another entirely to discover that it went from imagination to plain falsehoods.  We owe our children more than this, we owe them the truth in all of its ugliness.  If a seven year old boy can stare into the face of history and see  injustice, than we all can.

Shame on FOX for presenting this cartoon.  Though this network has made it clear that racial sensitivity is something it refuses to consider, targeting children in this manner is an all time low.


Jadelyn said...

Ugh. I have no patience for most state-sponsored "holidays" anymore, not since I grew up and learned the true stories behind so many of our national "pride" legends. This year, anyone who wishes me "Happy Thanksgiving" is going to get "Happy Rape and Pillage of Indigenous Cultures Day" in response.

I'm sorry you had to have this talk with the kid unexpectedly - and at the hands of Charlie Brown, no less! But I am glad you did. I wish more parents took responsibility for exposing the nationalist American-supremacy lies media and schools teach their children.

T. R Xands said...

I agree that children deserve to be told the truth upfront. When I was in second grade (I think) we watched this cartoon on the first Thanksgiving and I remember thinking, "But it didn't happen that way..." because thanks to the History channel I knew at least some of the truth (yay history channel). Same thing with the truth behind Columbus day & even Christmas (I never fail to tell people about Christmas & Easter being stolen pagan holidays, I just think everyone should know).

Earlier this evening I sent a text to a few friends wishing them a "happy thanksgiving AKA celebration of another cultural tragedy". I wonder how many of them understood what I was getting at...

naturallycurvy said...

I just wrote a post about Thanksgiving and the origins behind it. It seems that the Pilgrims and Native Americans weren't the first people to have a Thanksgiving, and it isn't really even about them. Thanksgiving tradition, on a national level, was about the celebration of our victories in war. Which didn't win it any points in my book. When I tried to open this topic up for discussion, most people were flippant (Most people don't see it as a religious holiday. The origins don't matter as much as the current tradition of celebration does, etc.). I was boggled no one gave any thought to it. It also riles me up to know it's a law here in the US that one has to celebrate Thanksgiving, I mean seriously? Who the fuck do they think they are.

Wordsmith said...

You might keep in mind that 'Charlie Brown' is also a little boy and is only fed what adults deem necessary.

Anonymous said...

I love Charlie Brown; have a collection of old comics (I still think his classic Xmas special - even if religious - is still good: about peace and goodwill and NOT presents. This my "Sunday Shame", submitted a bit early).

But I am glad you found this a good teachable moment for Destruction, about really happened, as it does not get taught at school and certainly not in most homes. You would have made a great teacher, Renee. It is easier to assuage our collective consciousnesses by focusing on Holocaust education, genocide in Darfur and Tibet, oppression in Burma, etc. (not that all those things shouldn't be taught in school; they absolutely should be, and often are not), rather than own up to our own genocidal crimes and their aftermath right here at home.

As an educator, I think we need to teach our own history first, then integrate it with what goes on in the rest of the world. Learning about genocide in Sudan or the Holocaust without any truthful background about our own shameful history only produces more self-righteous ("See - look at what THOSE people do to those OTHER people, unlike VIRTUOUS US."), ignorant and arrogant Americans who grow up justifying oppressive, militaristic and inequitable foreign and domestic policies. Just like we are now.

jgoreham said...

@Wordsmith: You might keep in mind that "Charlie Brown" is a fictional character realized by adults who should know better.