This cartoon is by me and Kevin Moore.
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Kevin’s comments on drawing this strip:
The thing I got into was thinking about how purple people would actually look. I thought it might be funny to make them really “normal” — or “normie”, very suburban and conventional in hairstyle and clothing. You’ll notice that their clothes are not also purple, but just ordinary clothes, albeit cheery and colorful. And they’re really upbeat in demeanor, enthusiastically making a new friend with their neighbor. I could see an introvert taking a small exception to them, but they’re friendly good-hearted people. This makes their neighbor’s discomfort with his bigotry funny. You should cringe, dude.
I also made sure that their skin tones differed, much like any other skin color phenotype. And I tried to give their faces ethnic characteristics, but nothing that would be too stereotypical or too indicative of a real ethnic group. I wanted to leave that open to interpretation.
The “I don’t care if someone’s Black, white, yellow or purple” cliché is something I’ve been hearing since at least the 1980s. And it’s almost always said as a lead-in to saying something awful.
I was reminded of the cliché back in July, when Michael Harriot tweeted about it.
“I don’t care if you’re black, white, green or purple…” – People who never say stupid shit about white, green or purple people.
That made me think about the kind of person who’d say this actually meeting purple people, and that led to this cartoon.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show the same scene: A suburban-looking back yard, surrounded by a chest-high wooden fence. On one side of the fence is a dad-looking white man, wearing a short-sleeved polo shirt (blue with yellow stripes) and brown shorts.
On the other side of the fence are a woman and a man, both of whom have vividly purple skin. His skin is somewhat lighter in color, and he’s completely bald (I joked to Kevin, when I saw his sketches, that Mr. Purple probably shaves his head so people won’t know he’s going gray). He’s wearing an orange t-shirt. Mrs Purple has neatly styled neck-length purple-black hair, and is wearing a reddish orange t-shirt with a squared-off collar. Throughout this cartoon, Mr. and Mrs. Purple have big, cheerful smiles.
Polo Shirt Guy is talking on his cell phone, looking quite cheerful, as he flips a burger on his barbeque. We can see some toys and a sandbox on the ground nearby. Behind him, Mr and Mrs Purple have walked up to the fence and are talking to him, but he doesn’t see them yet.
POLO SHIRT: It’s like I always say… I don’t care if someone’s Black, white or even purple. Doesn’t matter to me!
THE PURPLES (speaking in unison): We’re so glad to hear you say that.
Polo Shirt Guy has turned his head and seen the Purples, and he’s taken aback. Both Mr and Mrs Purple are waving their hands at Polo Shirt.
POLO SHIRT: What? Who? What? I mean… What?
MR PURPLE: We’re Sally and Drew Purple. We just moved in next door!
Polo Shirt Guy has turned to face the Purples; he’s sweating and looks utterly distresed, even though he’s trying to be polite. He waves back at them, not noticing that he’s dropped his cell phone. Behind him in the background, we can see a tree with a tire swing, and a pink tricycle.
We’re looking at the scene from behind Mr and Mrs Purple, and can’t see Mrs Purple’s expression. Mr Purple is still smiling big and seems completely unaware of Polo Shirt’s distress.
POLO SHIRT: Oh. I see. Uh… Welcome to the neighborhood.
MR PURPLE: Hey, I see you have kids! Us too – we should schedule a playdate!
Polo Shirt turns partly away from the Purples, his fists pressed against his chin and lower lip, his eyes huge, sweat flying. He looks even more distressed than in panel 3 as he babbles.
The Purples still give no sign of showing distress, although Mr Purple looks perhaps suspiciously amused. Mrs Purple grins as she talks.
POLO SHIRT: Oh! Uh, I don’t know… Scheduling and you know, um…
MRS PURPLE: Wouldn’t it be a hoot if our kids grew up and married each other?
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