Thursday, July 14, 2011

We’ve come a long way … and we still have a long way to go

In 1968, United Artists pulled 11 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons from televised syndication, deeming their portrayal of African Americans too offensive for contemporary audiences. The following Bugs Bunny cartoon, All This and Rabbit Stew (1941), was one of those 11:

The following is an excerpt from an EEOC press release, circa June 2011, announcing the filing of a racial harassment case:

According to the EEOC’s complaint, from as early as May 2007 through at least June 2008, Contonius Gill, a truck driver, and other African-American employees were repeatedly subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial comments and slurs by employees and managers at A.C. Widenhouse, Inc. These comments and slurs included “n----r,” “monkey,” and “boy.” On one occasion Gill was approached by a co-worker with a noose and was told, “This is for you. Do you want to hang from the family tree?” The complaint alleges that on another occasion, the company’s general manager told Gill, “We are going coon hunting, are you going to be the coon?”

Need I say more?

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or