The scene shows a black character sitting on one side of the table while five white characters sit on the other sides. Many viewers are now accusing 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' as racist.
'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' special has been airing on ABC since 1973. This year though, the 22-minute special faced heat from viewers who noticed the differential treatment of Franklin, or should we say racist?
The scene in question shows Charlie Brown and friends sitting around a Thanksgiving spread, prepared by Snoopy the dog and held in Charlie Brown's backyard. As Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown, Sally, and even Snoopy sat on one side of the table, we see Franklin sitting all by himself on the other side on a rickety lawn chair, that he even topples off of after it breaks earlier on in the scene.
This blatant segregation caused outrage among the viewers who expressed their disappointment on social media. Franklin is the lone black-character in the Peanuts universe who was introduced by the creator, Charles M. Schulz, during the height of the civil rights movement.
Charles M. Schulz Museum tweeted, "Shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Los Angeles teacher, Harriet Glickman, believed that Peanuts could help influence attitudes on race. Because of her correspondence with Charles Schulz, Franklin was introduced to the cartoon in the summer of 1968."
Charlie Brown gave Franklin a pound like he was down but then sat him in a lawn chair by himself. Gotta beware of those fronting progressives #ThanksgivingEve #thanksgiving #WednesdayWisdom pic.twitter.com/KR0ohFJNlH— 𝐄𝐱𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐩𝐞 (@exavierpope) 21 November 2018
Twitter users who seemed to notice this seating arrangement wondered why Franklin was made to sit all by himself. WOLF from ARTlanta (@TyreeSmithRSC) tweeted, "I’m still wondering why Charlie Brown and them made Franklin sit in a beach chair by himself on Thanksgiving." And tweeted a picture of the scene.
Another user, NESSE DEMPS (@indiesoulmag) tweeted saying, "There's More To Franklin Than Just Being The Black Kid In 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving."
Friendsgiving seems to be super trendy these days. I must point out that Charlie Brown hosted the very 1st Friendsgiving way back. millennials can thank Peppermint Patty for inviting herself, Marcie & Franklin over to Chucks house in 1973. #Friendsgiving #CharlieBrownThanksgiving pic.twitter.com/sL6zheFtEn— Lori Savino (@Lori_savino) 22 November 2019
While a few people refused to watch Charlie Brown anymore because of this racist undertone, others turned this discourse into a right vs left ideological face-off.
Charlie Brown is racist. Rudolph is racist & homophobic. What normal functioning adult thinks like this? I think we need to bring back insane asylums. This outrage & offended by everything culture needs to be squashed & quickly.— Mrs. Dirty Driver (@guntotinchick) November 29, 2018
Some people even questioned the intentions of Schulz, to which twitter user, Shawnasaurus Rex (@ShawnG927) retorted: Peanuts creator Charles Schultz would be 96 years old today! We can all celebrate his birthday by watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! Well..except for those on the Left who now call the show “Racist” because nobody is sitting right next to Franklin at Dinner! Good Grief!
Let’s talk about Franklin. Dude gets invited to Charlie Brown’s by Peppermint Patty. Then he finds out that it wasn’t a real invite, a dog is cooking the food and he’s gotta sit by himself at dinner. That’s Get Out. #CharlieBrownThanksgiving— Terry The Real TB Brown™️ (@TBrown_80) 22 November 2018
Writer and journalist Jeremy Helligar wrote about this controversy on Medium, stating that Franklin seated separately did not outrage him probably due to desensitization but said, "I’m enraged by real-life people in 2018 who would rather pretend that racism is a figment of the liberal imagination because feigning ignorance makes it easier for them to enjoy their turkey."
He encouraged people to continue watching the holiday special as a reminder of how much and how little America has changed since 1973.
Why the black boy sitting on one side by hisself? Charlie Brown racist pic.twitter.com/YnWhCDAPws— Joshua (@joshuaxduncan) November 29, 2013