It seems cartoons have a lot more politically correct leeway when it comes to racism or using racial stereo types. Mainstay cartoon series such as The Simpson’s, South Park and American Dad seem to be able to get away with racist overtones and comedy that wouldn’t fly on a “human” show. On the extreme there are people who can even, somehow by some stretch of the imagination, find racism in cartoon’s like Arthur or Rugrats.
There are cartoons from several generations ago that had undertones of racism, where as today’s cartoons use racism or stereotypes overtly, in a comedic way, like the blunt in your face comedy of Don Rickles. And today’s cartoons get away with that humor as does Rickles.
A new cartoon series The Adventures of Wong Lo Fan is no exception, in this case more in the realm of reserve racism playing off the stereo types that Chinese have of Westerners. Wong is as common a Chinese last name as Smith, but “Lo Fan” is the derogatory slang term for white people. The character Wong Lo Fan himself, a nerdy blonde haired blue eyed teen, was “raised the child of a poor rice farmer in mainland China.”
DZToons, the creators of The Adventures of Wong Lo Fan, say “it’s all in good fun. Every group of people has stereotypical perceptions of other groups of people, whether it’s based on race, religion, country or other factors. If we get too politically correct, we become too easily offended, and we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves and others. Cartoons have the ability to allow us to still laugh at the politically incorrect.” They continue, “I think Mel Brooks would have a hard time making a movie like Blazing Saddles in this day and age, he would have offended just about everyone in the audience in the first 10 minutes, which is a shame, we should be able to laugh at ourselves and our differences without taking offense.”
DZToons hopes that audiences in both North America and Asia will find something to love and laugh at when the series airs. They’re betting that the support is there and we’ll see just how they fare with the IndieGoGo campaign to get the first season made.