Animated Token Television

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Abstract Summary

Representation of Black characters in animated television opens new possibilities for questioning tropes and stereotypes. This presentation analyses the way tokenism impacts the development of Black character portrayals across animated television shows whether the program aims at children or adults. By analyzing the Black characters in "Rugrats," "South Park," and the “The Proud Family," it becomes clear that animation allows for creative commentary on the media’s stereotypes of the Black community. This research enables connections to be drawn between how the depiction of Black identity has evolved through animation and how each show’s commentary on racial identity impacts the larger ways the Black community is portrayed in the media. The nature of animation gives the representation of Black people a "what-if" in a field that originally limited their portrayal by offering creative imaginary alternatives that both mimic and comment upon real life. 

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Oral (individual student)
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