Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Boondocks

If I were teaching a course about race in America, I would be tempted to use the animated series The Boondocks as the primary text.

The Boondocks is the work of Aaron McGruder, who began drawing the strip for his college newspaper. The core of the show and its conscience is Huey Freeman, a radical black revolutionary trapped in the body of a ten year old. His hip-hop loving little brother Riley is often at odds with Huey. Both fight with their old-school grandfather Robert Jebediah Freeman, who moved the boys from Chicago to an unnamed white suburb ("the Boondocks") to raise them. I read somewhere that nearly every character is an archetype, which is very true. Supporting characters include Thomas Dubois (the black sell-out who has forgotten his roots and his masculinity), Thugnificent (the decadent rapper who thinks he is somehow carrying on the legacy of MLK), and most memorably, Uncle Ruckus, the colorful self-hating black man.

The writing is amazing, both very funny and politically-pointed. McGruder has two targets--the racism built into American society, and the problems in African-American society that hold back the community. The show is very controversial.

The best introduction is the first episode, below. Warning--the show makes free use of the N-word, and other offensive speech.

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