"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" — an entertainment staple for a bevy of households around the holidays — was accused of being racist by many viewers on social media Wednesday night.
During Wednesday night's airing of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," many young, tech-savvy people apparently watching the holiday classic for the very first time, said that it was racist because it's only black character, Franklin, had a whole side of the Thanksgiving table all to himself.
Franklin, who happily reclined in easily the most comfortable chair at the table, was seated on one side of the table, while his fellow characters — Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Sally, sat across from him. Linus sat at one head of the table, while Marcie sat at the opposite end.
During the gathering, Linus gives a history lesson and tells the story of the first Thanksgiving. In a heartwarming gesture, he also prays over the meal.
One social media user watched the special, and took to Twitter to air her grievances. The user, Cynthia Haynes, wrote, "How come Franklin, Charlie Brown's only black friend, sits alone on the other side of the table? And in a lawn chair."
Another user, whose handle is "Vic Damone Jr.," wrote, "Not watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving anymore until they sit some people on the same side of the table as Franklin."
Yessam, another user, wrote, "Am I woke now, why is Franklin in Charlie Brown Thanksgiving sitting all by himself at the table. Man. Things that I did not notice as a child."
— Cynthia Haynes (@ChefCynthiaC) November 22, 2018
Not watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving anymore, until they sit some people on the same side of the table as Franklin ✊🏾✊🏾
— Vic Damone Jr (@Asharp52) November 22, 2018
Am I woke now, why is Franklin in Charlie Brown Thanksgiving sitting all by himself at the table. Man. Things that I did not notice as a child.
— Yessam (@cmass4eva) November 22, 2018
Yes, especially since the characters' creator, Charles M. Schulz, intentionally added Franklin to the cast of characters in 1968 in an attempt to thumb his nose at racism, which was rampant during that time, the civil rights era.
The comic creator added Franklin to the "Peanuts" cast after a white teacher wrote Schulz in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, and asked him to include a black character among Charlie Brown and his friends.
The teacher, Harriet Glickman, said that Schulz could make a big impact writing a black child into the previously all-white cartoon.
Schulz's editor was reportedly against including Franklin in the cartoon for a variety of reasons.
Schulz reportedly told his editor, Larry, "Well ... let's put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How's that?"
Thus Franklin was "born."
Happy 50th Anniversary, Franklin! Franklin first appeared in Peanuts 50 years ago today in this strip originally published on July 31, 1968. pic.twitter.com/b1LlNsgoKZ
— SchulzMuseum (@SchulzMuseum) July 31, 2018
You can read Glickman's moving letter here.