Cartoon Network Issues Scathing Anti-Racism PSA: 'Was This Modified To Make White Readers Comfortable?'
Photo Credit: Cartoon Network
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Cartoon Network Issues Scathing Anti-Racism PSA: 'Was This Modified To Make White Readers Comfortable?'

Cartoon Network is asking the tough questions when it comes to the lack of African American history in American history books.

In the viral PSA released Dec. 3, Steven Universe character Pearl is taking folks to task for keeping African American and African diasporic accomplishments out of modern records. The clip features Pearl teaching a class of children that Lewis Latimer, not Thomas Edison, is the real inventor of the filament light bulb. But when she realizes there's more missing history in school books, she starts going in on America's racism.

"We're not going to mention why kids are apparently learning about Thomas Edison and not learning about Lewis Latimer?" Pearl says. "These textbooks are incomplete. There were Black Roman warriors, Black medieval knights, Black classical musicians, Black cowboys, Black fighter pilots--where are they?"

"You rely on these stories to learn about your own history. Thanks to systemic racism, most of your storytellers prioritize white accomplishments, which leaves you with an incomplete picture," the character continued. "Ask yourself as you're learning history who's telling the story? Was this modified to make white readers comfortable? Are major details being left out that would credit people of color and center their point of view?"

The PSA also had a link to crystalgemsspeakup.com, a website created by Cartoon Network with the Steven Universe characters, teaching children how to be anti-racist in everyday life.

As of Dec. 11, the video has been retweeted over 36,000 times and has received nearly 80,000 likes. Most commenters were pleasantly surprised with Cartoon Network's candor about how American historians often suppress achievements by Black people.

Of course, there were many white tears in the comments section as well. But, the fact that the PSA has led people online to start questioning what they've been taught, as well as feel seen and respected, proves the PSA is making an impact.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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