Speedy Gonzales is a Warner Bros. cartoon that first aired in 1953. It features a Mexican mouse as the title character that has unbelievable running speed. He is known as the fastest mouse in all Mexico. As the cartoon was first produced during the 1950’s, many of the themes in film and radio of that period exhibited racial in-sensitivities. Although the creators of such entertainment had little to no malice intended in their work, it was considered normal for the time, and no one questioned it. But today things are very different.
When Cartoon Network acquired exclusive rights to broadcast Warner Bros. films in 1999 they chose not to show Speedy Gonzales cartoons. The reasoning for the ban on Speedy Gonzales by Cartoon Network was due to the racially offensive stereotypes the cartoon exhibited. But hang on just one minute. Why are they still available today?
We know why Speedy Gonzales was banned, so how did he get back on air?
Although Speedy Gonzales was banned by Cartoon Network for being ethnically offensive, he remained an extremely popular character, especially in Latin America where he was considered a cultural icon. The League of United Latin American Citizens, an Hispanic-American rights organization campaigned for his return to television screens. Thousands of Hispanic users registered their support on hispaniconline.com message boards. Due to the wave of support from Latin Americans Speedy was finally returned to television screens in 2002.
The peculiarity of the entire affair can still be witnessed today on DVD’s. The cartoons are prefaced with a disclaimer warning that the cartoons depict ethnic and racial prejudices, and that to alter them would be the same as saying that the prejudices never existed. My question of Cartoon Network is, if altering the cartoons is the same as saying that the prejudices never existed, wouldn’t banning Speedy Gonzales be considered the same?