Watch Smarter

The Racist History of Cartoons

Many classics have disturbing roots.

Nostalgia and familiarity may have trained us not to notice, but many elements of the classic cartoons you love—down to the white-gloved hands—have a disturbing history. In this episode of Watch Smarter, Slate’s video series that looks inside tropes of pop culture, we examine how the cartoons we revered growing up were rooted in blackface minstrelsy.

Based on the research of Professor Nicholas Sammond at the University of Toronto.

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Shon Arieh-Lerer

Shon Arieh-Lerer is a writer, producer, and a member of the comedy group His Majesty, the Baby.

Scott McGhee

Scott McGhee is an editor and animator.