Suggestions of Racism Depicted in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”

By Tony Knight

img_8321Like most people in America I’ve watched the Peanuts gang on TV and seen them at some point in the newspapers, but I never looked for much with respect to social injustice or racism.  It was just entertainment. Now there’s been a clamor in social media about the Peanuts franchise being racist against blacks, and a call to boycott it. Fair, or unfair? Let’s look at Peanuts as a whole and decide together.

Peanuts emerged in 1950, the brainchild of Charles Schulz, and it was both written and illustrated by him.  The strip centered around a group of kids who got along most times, sometimes not, and they seemed very relatable in that they were not without their trials.  They touched on themes such as anxiety, harsh realities of everyday life as a kid, and for this they developed a very successful brand. It might not enjoy the same successes it had decades ago, but it’s still an American icon.

It has recently been suggested that Charles Schulz was a racist because of a scene from img_8325“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” which originally aired in 1973.  In this scene the show’s only black character, Franklin, was portrayed sitting alone on one side of table where a feast was planned. He was also in a “rickety old lawn chair” while four characters sat opposite of him on the other side.  Franklin’s chair eventually breaks as well, more racist attacks on Franklin? I think it’s important to get a historical context on Franklin to explore this.

1968 was an extremely volatile time in American history specifically pertaining to race relations.   Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated earlier in the year, and the very unpopular Vietnam was raging on.  Franklin came to be because of a letter writing campaign from concerned black individuals who were hoping to stem the tide of division in the country by including a black character in the Peanuts comic strip.  Schulz obliged with the inclusion of Peanut’s first regular black character, Franklin (yes, there were black characters depicted prior to Franklin’s introduction). He didn’t have to have a regular black character in the strip, but after much dialogue and reflection Schultz saw the wisdom and necessity of the move.  Schulz was a brave pioneer in facing reprisal himself for breaking the Peanuts color barrier in a social-political climate that in large part was not ready for this move. Famously he once threatened to quit when he received some push-back from United Features President Larry Rutman to change a scene showing Franklin’s integration into school.  

You might say Franklin was a shallow character who was only periodically featured, maybe subtle racism to marginalize blacks?  I’d have to disagree. Of all the Peanuts characters Franklin was the most “normal.” I know people on the left hate that word, but it’s fitting for Franklin.  He was a good student, a concerned and thoughtful friend, athletic, and rose above the other misfits in Peanuts whenever things turned odd – which was invariably.  Good-looking, clean cut, from a military family, a 4H club member, and he played an instrument. Hardly seems like Schulz was attacking the only black character in Peanuts.  Was Franklin a dynamic and exciting character? Sadly, no…but at least he wasn’t Pig-Pen!

So to sum up let’s get back to the table scene in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”  I’ve gone over and over this scene in my head, watched it a few more times, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why Franklin was on a side of the table opposite of 4 other Peanut’s characters – including a dog!  I wish I had a good answer for you, and I wish Schulz had addressed it as well but he never did. Schulz died on February 13, 2000, 27 years after the famous Thanksgiving table scene. I might be mistaken, but this is the first time anyone has really voiced the accusation that Schulz was a racist in seating Franklin alone on one side of a table.  So why the outrage now? That’s easy. There seems to be a small, noisy group of professional agitators who like making crises out of nothing. If no racism, sexism, agism, misogyny, or phobia exists they will conjure some up for you. It takes a real talent to decide what we as Americans should be outraged about and a dedicated army of social justice warriors to carry the banner of outrage for those who previously weren’t outraged.  Was this scene depicted the way it was because Schulz was a racist and wanted to segregate and insult blacks? I’d say emphatically no, despite the bizarre seating arrangement in that scene. Schulz’s life and works do not suggest he was a bigot.

My advice whenever someone waves the banner of faux outrage?  Examine the questions carefully. Don’t let people draw conclusions for you.  We are at a wonderful time in history when almost the entire sum of human knowledge is at our fingertips.  And if someone tries to divide you, or tell you why YOU should be mad at something, make an informed decision on your own.  We are meant to be more than sheep. Or if you want to be a sheep, make sure you’re following a Shephard and not a sheep herder.

Tony can be followed on Facebook-

And on Twitter @BYUTonyK




The Big Announcement!

Dear Friends of LitTube


         In the next two weeks LitTube will be going through some changes to enhance the way we get content out. For starters we will be purchasing our own domain which will allow us to have a permanent home here on the internet. We will utilize the new site to post videos, merchandise, and more articles than ever before.

Speaking of articles, it has long since been a personal dream of mine and I’m sure I can speak for the LitTube family as a whole, to create a site where people of all walks of life, backgrounds and affiliations can come and get information and discuss said info. We have reached out, and have numerous writers of different political, occupational, educational, and athletic fields. In the next two weeks their articles will become a staple here on our new site.

We will also be posting our videos to the new site, and Youtube as well, with hopes that one day the site is the primary source of LitTube video content! Yes you also read that correctly that we are in the works of creating merchandise, and selling it straight from the site. This include an apparel line as well.

Within two weeks –– will be a fully operating website with new content coming out all week! We are so grateful for all your support over the last two years from both the day ones to the yesterdays. It’s what keeps us going! Look out for new content and updates in the next few days!

This is only the beginning!

Gerald Royster

CEO/Co-Founder of LitTube.

We Have Arrived

In the beginning it was Max Literature Group, or M.L.G….

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MLG was created by Gerald Royster and his now fiancé, Colleen, as a way to self publish, promote, and expose the world to Gerald’s ability as an independent writer. Gerald’s interest expanded to YouTube as a way to broaden his art in a different medium.

Gerald knew he wanted to expand to YouTube but hadn’t come up with any plans on how 2DA35D97-BD49-413E-8672-A7567954B81Cto begin. Until one night when he was having wings with his very close friends, Justin Holden and Alex Hull. ESPN was on the TV and it started a discussion between Gerald and Justin that doing a sports show would be cool; they could talk about the sports they wanted to talk about. Alex is a local Filmmaker with Maryland film company Chill Out Productions, and the three of them realized that this was a golden idea. The heart of Lit Sports Online was born!

CouchSide was created between Gerald and his best friend, Mario Meza. They were hanging out, sitting on the couch, talking about how horrible modern rap music has become. The 20+ minute discussion on the topic gave them the idea of doing something like that on camera. It was that moment where they came up with the show, CouchSide.

The idea for two completely different shows were created! Gerald, Mario, Alex, and Justin, all friends, decided to bring together their varying arts, knowledge, and ideas. LitTube was IMG_1025now officially created under the MLG organization. The first just the guysbroadcast for LitTube was in September of 2016. The broadcast was an episode of Lit Sports Online. It was an NFL Season Preview show starring Justin and Gerald. A week later, the first episode of CouchSide premiered featuring Mario and Gerald. All of LitTube is filmed and edited by Alex hull of Chill Out Productions.

One of the goals of LitTube is to break the barriers of editorial journalism. We created this blog/site to bring you stuff we may not be able to touch or film on our channel. It was created to bring you information in a timely and convenient way. Most people nowadays Reel Talk Logoget their information via the internet, and we want to help you get that information faster and from a reliable source. Ofchill out productions logo course this means, open invitation to criticize and comment. We’re not perfect and we have a lot of room for growth, and together with your help we can only get better! We understand the nature of our topics can bring on high emotions. Our goal is to always be mindful and respectful to our viewers and in return, we hope any criticism comes in a constructive and respectful manner as well.

At LitTube our motto is to be the “voice of the voiceless, and the “image of the invisible!”C311A06C-BAE1-4730-9A64-B241A0566FE0. We’re told everywhere what to think, how to think, and where to stand. Yes, we will have quite a few opinion pieces. But, we are not expecting you to follow us on every word, you have to make that decision on what to believe on your own.

To those of you new to LitTube, welcome! We hope you check back often, and don’t forget to subscribe to our actual YouTube channel up above. To those of you who have been around for the ride already, thank you for the continued support and love!

Stay Tuned.



Edited by- Colleen McGaunn