Many children who grew up in the 1990s would often wake up on the weekend to watch Saturday morning cartoons, which are now commonly known as the golden age of animation. However, when watching those classic cartoons again as adults, we may notice certain trends that went unnoticed by us before. In particular, the subliminally racist way in which most black characters were depicted with the same box cut hairstyle.
It’s possible that during this time period, animators were projecting their stereotypical views of black men’s hairstyles as the default look. This box cut was one of the most popular haircuts during the era, but the fact that it was used as the “gold standard” for black characters in cartoons is quite strange, and could be interpreted as a form of racism. In comparison, their white cartoon counterparts were often presented with a variety of different hairstyles even if they were in line with the most popular trends at the time.
It’s easy to see that no matter what show you were watching a large majority of the time the black characters would have the same type of hairstyle. There were so many hairstyles 90s animators could have chosen from, heck they even could of made some of the characters bald, but somehow that specific box shaped afro hairstyle always found its way into the final design. Was that intentional, or unintentional?
The good thing is over the past 10 years things have gradually improved. There’s definitely still some subliminal issues, but overall cartoons are now more representative of real life in terms of how characters are depicted.