Our grandparents and parents' cartoons were clearly offensive. The Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp? The whole "Indian" scene in Disney's Peter Pan? Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby for God's sake?
We'd like to think that the cartoons we watched in the 1980s and onward — even those in syndication from earlier decades — might have fared a little more fairly, what with the social justice movements of the 1960s and '70s and all. Not so!
While alternative cartoonists like R. Crumb and animators like Ralph Bakshi knew what was hidden beneath the surface and made it clear in their over-the-top depictions of racism, misogyny, and violence, the mainstream continued to employ cultural stereotypes as an easy way to tell children's stories.