A letter from 1943 about hypersensitive black people:
We feel you may be inviting trouble if you use colored characters in the comic at this time. Experience has shown us that we have to be awfully careful about any comics in which Negroes appear. The Association for the Advancement of Colored People protests every time they see anything which they consider ridicules the Negro no matter how faintly. For example, [George] Swanson did a little drawing showing a Negro baseball team breaking up to chase a chicken across the diamond. As a result, papers in cities like Pittsburgh and Chicago were threatened with a boycott by local Negro organizations. Of course, they are hypersensitive, but the sensitivity has, as you know, become more acute than ever with race troubles growing out of the war. The two Negroes you drew are no more caricatured than some of the whites in your comic, but they are caricatured just enough to give some colored brother the chance to accuse Roy Crane of lampooning his race. I know you don’t want that. Please don’t think we are being censorious, Roy. I am simply giving you the picture as we know it to be.
Note how the arguments that try to minimize racism have stayed basically the same? This comment, with a few adjustments, wouldn’t be out of place if it was written about any of the current frontiers in social activism.
No, I’m not particularly offended by the word “idiot” or even the word “crazy.” But maybe disability activists have a better idea about
what’s offensive to people with disabilities than I do how the disability movement should address ableism than I do.* After all, they spend way more time talking and thinking about it than I do. They’ve spent more time with the research. They’ve spent more time considering the realities.
Certainly, the black people who protested had a much better idea about what was racist than the dude who wrote that letter.
(I may post more about this later.)
*Changed to make my intended meaning more clear.