Is Charlie Brown Racist?

Hello Everyone! @ferociousfem here & I hope you all enjoyed your holiday break and are settling into our normally scheduled mental breakdowns of finishing up the semester. I know that’s what I’m doing.  Anyway, let’s get down to business. 

If you don’t know, you soon will. Peanuts, originally a comic strip, written by Charles M. Schulz ,that soon had tv specials and movies based on it first started in the 1950s and continued running until 2000, the series centered around a group of young children and followed them on their daily childhood activities. ABC network, as usual, aired ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’, over the holiday break where some viewers on social media noticed an important detail that soon became a trending topic. 

One of the first tweets that ignited the flame to many more to soon come. Below is a tweet that a twitter user posted, insinuating the childhood special as racist for putting the only black character on the show in a chair by himself at the table. 

Tweets flowed in with the #CharlieBrownThanksgiving within each tweet, featured below are a few more tweets that stemmed from the show’s airing this year. 


If you’ve never seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, the clip below is of the scene, within the first six seconds you can see the setup of the chairs and it pans out briefly so that viewers can see the whole picture. 


Okay, yes this does look bad, very bad for Charlie Brown, however, despite the negative tweets, long-term fans of the show have produced other facts to be considered. Below is a tweet I found in response to the first tweet from above. 


Facts, after the assassination of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1968, a schoolteacher, Harriet Glickman, wrote to Schultz and asked that he would include a black character in the show to make an impact on the country in the troubling times. Pictured below is the actual letter that the museum released in their exhibit after celebrating 50 years since Franklin was introduced on the show. 

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What do you all think? Are the critics reaching for something to be upset about? Is Charlie Brown actually racist? Let’s also consider the time frame we’re looking at, for Franklin to have even been a part of this show is amazing by itself, but was it still just as bad for not treating him “equally” or despite the episode being about honoring him as everyone else looks at him in the comfiest chair at the table. 

In addition, I like to look into the other comments this stirred up, (featured below) some people have suggested that — “you people” always find ways to be offended — and suggesting the user should get over racism and that people are “too sensitive”. Why is it when racism is brought up non-people of color find ways to suggest racism does not exist, granted it might not be in America’s favorite childhood show, but it does exist and the narrative needs to be changed when it is brought up. 

Please, share your thoughts with me in the comments below, all comments are welcome! Let’s Discuss! 

6 thoughts on “Is Charlie Brown Racist?

  1. This is very interesting. I’m not sure how I think to be totally honest. I think it is important to acknowledge the dynamics between races in America. Acting like it isn’t real will not help anyone. We need to pay attention to this, discuss, and create change. However, to have this exposed to the audience of young children is kind of problematic.


  2. I have always been a huge Peanuts fan. In fact, it is tradition that every thanksgiving my family and I watch this exact episode of the Peanuts. I never considered this scene racist as I always understood that Franklin was the guest of honor. I was surprised that Franklin was added as a request from a fan. I was entirely unaware of the history regarding Franklin’s coming about. I understand being annoying at the accusations made, but for white people to brush over the existence of racism as a whole is ridiculous. I agree with defending Shulz, but for individuals of non color to ignore racism and fire back with comments such as “you people” is entirely proving the point of the accusation in the first place.


  3. My family loves Peanuts and my family and I have grown up watching the holiday episodes. I have never viewed the scene where Franklin is sitting on the other side of the table by himself. I just thought nothing of it and didn’t even realize other members of the group were sitting all together without him. I had no idea about the meaning behind Franklin’s character being created. If people feel like Peanuts is racist I don’t thinks its okay for white people to say someones feelings towards it are invalid. White people cannot say a situation is racist when they have never experienced racism themself.


  4. I personally love the Peanuts, and I do not think it is fare to say the whole show is racist for one scene in the show. It is kind of a bad look, but to say a show that has been on for sixty years and countless episodes is racist for that one scene is not exactly fair. One could argue the scene is, but not the whole show. I personally think that it was defiantly in bad taste to do that, but it also created over 40 years ago in a different time period for cultural sensitivity. I feel if the show was created today it would not have that scene like that though.


  5. I think that Charlie Brown Thanksgiving should be updated to have a snip bit of history so that people understand why the episode was made to be how it is. I personally have never watched any Peanuts film, but I realize that it’s a commonplace in many households. With that said, Peanuts should take it upon themselves to educate the masses now is seen as racist. I advocate for T.V. shows, including Peanuts, to take it upon themselves to use their platforms to educate the masses on the time period and how times have changed now. Thank you so much again for the article! Always enjoy reading your posts!


  6. Honestly I vaguely remember charlie brown thanksgiving but i haven’t really engaged with anything else thanksgiving since then because i’ve canceled thanksigiving. However, this is an interesting point. Racist? Not sure. Discriminatory? Yeah probably. It could be a cover up, talking about how it’s really a conversation about the racial divide. But the show was meant for kids and basically showed how seperating and isolating black and white folks are okay. The humiliation, smh.


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