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Cartoon Culture

Why is Foghorn Leghorn Racist?

How did we ever manage to answer these burning animation history questions before the existence of Yahoo! Answers?

Foghorn Leghorn

  • Why is Foghorn Leghorn Racist? Because his feathers are white, so clearly he must’ve been.

  • The Nightmare is Near

    Oh Foghorn, where art though? Yahoo Answers are really funny sometimes. Look up the question for “CN Real more like CN R___” the letters e, a, and l are replaced with a three letter word for monkey/gorilla in the blank.

  • Lurchy

    Any time I see silly questions and answers like this
    on Yahoo answers… I think of this clip:


  • Here’s the direct link – although there’s no much else there. That screencap is pretty much the whole story.

  • Keep dumbing it down America!

    I weep for the future.

  • Foghorn Leghorn doesn’t hold a candle to Daffy Duck. How about the one where he becomes Elmer Fudd’s slave? But yeah, this is typical of discourse today: no context, all assertion. It’s one step from “Tell us Senator, have you stopped beating your wife?”

    How about, you know, renting a few and learning for yourself, “kittykat?” You wouldn’t even have to watch a whole cartoon. The answer is in a disclaimer on every Looney Tunes DVD made for the past 10 years or so.

  • Dave

    It is extremely unsettling from today’s enlightened perspective to watch how the Warner Bros. cartoon studio so blatantly caricatured loud-mouth know-it-all white southerners in the character of Foghorn Leghorn.

    But we have to understand that those days were filled with tension, so the rascit undertones were everywhere. (you all know what the terms “Hubie” and “Bertie” stood for , right ? ’nuff said… ) It is comforting that we do not live in days filled with tension anymore and as a society have moved beyond such things.

  • s.w.a.c.

    Lord knows you need to have tension when you tie down a pumpkin.

    Although I did hear him make disparaging remarks about Rhode Island reds.

  • I’m just glad we’re no longer living in a time filled with tension.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    To answer THAT burning question you have to go back to the golden age of radio and Senator Claghorn, a Southern politician character on Fred Allen’s radio program. Foghorn Leghorn was an almost verbatim quote of Claghorn, right down to his catch phrases “Pay attention to me, son” and “That’s a joke, son.” The latter, according to radio legend, was originally a toss-off line the Senator used once when a joke fell flat with the studio audience.

    Interestingly enough, Kenny Delmar, who was Fred Allen’s announcer and the radio voice of Sen. Claghorn, dusted off his old shtick in the 1960s and was the voice of The Hunter on “King Leonardo.”

  • David Breneman

    Well, he sounds just like Senator Claghorn, the notorious Dixiecrat from Allen’s Alley.

    (That’s a joke, son.)

  • cnote

    I no he wus rascit

  • Brad Constantine

    Favorite Foghorn line “There’s somethin’, I say, there’s something kinda Ewwww about a boy that’s never played baseball”. Robert Mc Kimson was always playing second fiddle to Jones and Freling but those Leghorns are some of the funniest cartoons they ever made.
    But there’s also a lot of truth in there….I don’t remember any racial bits, just dog abuse.

  • Because Barack Obama hates white people?

  • Darn those animators and their tense ways.

  • I was also created during a time filled with tension.

  • robert pope

    Ah say, ah say, get some cash outta the ATM and buy a clue! That’s a joke son! Gag, that is!

  • heehee

  • Dogs are people too, you racists! Treat them with respect.

  • Rodrigo

    Is there really much tension when Foghorn lays it out so thick?

  • Because he’s a southerner who says “Boy…” a lot. Jeez, how obvious can you get?

    While I agree the question is basically idiotic, hopefully there were good intentions behind it. Case in point: I work in Virginia. A few years ago, I watched a young female co-worker, conversing with an African-American male co-worker, say to him (in jest), “Don’t give me any trouble, boy!” He immediately wheeled around, clearly upset, and said, “WHAT did you call me?” I had to explain to her that the term “boy” has a history as a racial slur, especially in the south. She had no idea.

  • Anthrocoon

    Ah say, ah say Kenny Delmar was indeed the voice of…the Hunter!…and from what I understand he was actually from Boston
    (as am I), not the South. Oh yes, he was Comm. McBragg, too. Quite.

  • Anthrocoon

    re: “Boy”–

    An episode of All in the Family showed conflicting reports about what happened when the fridge broke down. The repairman’s assistant was either an Uncle Tom or a black militant with a switchblade depending on whether you asked Archie or Mike (Edith says the knife is question was a “pen knife”) In Edith’s account, Archie calls the assistant “boy” and he turns around and tells him, “Hey I don’t like what you called me. I’m not a boy, I’m a man.” He was played by Ron Glass who would later play Det. Harris on Barney Miller.

  • I have it on a reliable source that Foghorn Leghorn belonged to country club that was restricted. FYI.

  • Jip

    Maybe the question was asked by a non American, like me…
    I still don’t understand what you guys are talking about:)
    Is this offensive to southerners or what?

  • all chickens are racist…. surely we all know that by now?!

  • bug

    i love yahoo answers so much

    so much

  • Tom Heres

    I long for the day when we can all vote for who gets an electric shock through their computer for asking such idiotic questions and providing such moronic responses. Until that day, we’ll ridicule them on the Brew.

  • top cat james

    It’ll be okay-Obama invited Foggy and Houn’ Dawg to the White House for a beer. Nothing like a good old-fashioned photo op to dissipate decades of barnyard rancor and dissension.

  • FP

    Maybe Foghorn should have a “chicken dinner summit” with the presidink.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Too bad I was created at a time filled with mellow vibes (1977). :-)

  • Andre

    Clearly, somebody at Yahoo Questions has waaaaaaay too much time on their hands!

  • vzk

    He’s not as suited as wise latino birds like Condorito.

  • Chris J.

    As ever, Cartoon Brew is the depot for Elite Cartoon Snobbery.

    I’m probably in the minority, here – but I find this question actually quite encouraging. This question is probably about Foghorn’s use of the word “boy,” and the person who asked it is likely some kid who has no idea that the term “boy” is an old southern standby used to put black people “in their place.”

    Its actually nice to know that some areas of the country have progressed far enough that they have no inkling that calling a black person “boy” is a big no-no here in the south (I’m in Virginia.)

    And look, obviously Foghorn never made any out-and-out racist comments in any of his cartoons, but I’ve met real-life Foghorn Leghorns. Old gentlemen of the “traditional south,” if you will. And believe me, in all-white company, they’ll drop the word “nigger” as casually as you or I would say “toothbrush.” And as little as twenty years ago they’d have said it in front of a black person without thinking twice.

    Foghorn is a parody of those men, and lets not kid ourselves that Foghorn’s use of the word “boy” wasn’t a parody of their racist lingo. It doesn’t make Foghorn racist – but it does make this person’s question legitimate – and worthy of a straight answer and not a bunch of snide comments from the very people who would be best able to legitimately answer it.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    “Foghorn is a parody of those men, and lets not kid ourselves that Foghorn’s use of the word “boy” wasn’t a parody of their racist lingo. It doesn’t make Foghorn racist – but it does make this person’s question legitimate – and worthy of a straight answer and not a bunch of snide comments from the very people who would be best able to legitimately answer it.”

    Ask a stupid question…

  • shouldbeworking

    …And why does Foghorn Leghorn beat his wife?

    There is not a racist or even racial hint in Foghorn cartoons.
    He is a chicken. Perhaps he believes in chickens’ superiority of hound dogs.
    To assume becasue he is a southern caricature that he is racist, well, that is prejudicial.

    The questioner has a great future as a tabloid journalist.

  • Artisticulated

    LOL Mike,
    I was going to respond to Chris’s comment with an inquiry as to his professorial credentials.

    I like what you said better.

  • Hey, Amid, if you thought that Yahoo Answers site was bad, you’ll cringe at this nonsensical run-on sentence that tries to prove that Daffy Duck is a negro stereotype:

  • Oh lord.

    Do people have to read ill intentions in everything?

    Foghorn calls Henry “boy” because he’s a kid.
    My neighbor used to do the same thing.

  • It’s interesting what people will label as “racist”. How many here have told a joke (or laughed at one) at some point in their life that was about someone who was polish, jewish, mexican, black, white, skinny, fat, dumb…whatever? Just because you poke fun at a minority does not mean you are racist or a hater. I spoke to some of the animation legends about this years ago and the answer was largely the same across the board, they were not racist, they were just going for a laugh. A cheap laugh maybe, but a laugh none the less. And of course as many have pointed out, making an off-color remark about a various race or person was commonplace and accepted, if not maybe even expected, during the times when these cartoons were made.

  • Surfer Joe

    I grew up in the Deep South with older people calling me “boy” all the type, exactly like FH, and I thought nothing of it. Heck, I thought I was one. I had no idea I was African American until I read Chris J.’s post above just now. When my grandfather said “Come here, boy!” I should have said “Up against the wall, whitey!”

  • Anna

    *facepalm* how did we ever live with learning to properly spell, thats what I wanna know

  • Steven Rowe

    The problem we have with the question, is that it’s one of those questions that “what the…” is the really only response. At least Chris sorta kinda tried to figure it out
    is it racist because he calls male children “boy”?
    is it racist because he represents white southerners, who by definition are racist?
    i know that the phrase “cotton picking hands” is now considered racist -apparently folks dont realize that cotton picking was one of the few thing integrated in the south in the 30s-50s. It’s classist, not racist.
    not sure if Foghorn Leghorn ever used that phrase or not.

  • Chris J.

    Yes, people in the south use the word “boy” when talking to, well, boys.

    They also used to use it when talking to full-grown black men.

    Foghorn, being a parody of old southern gentlemen, uses the word “boy” quite a bit. Does he use it in a racist way? No, he doesn’t. He uses it to address an actual boy.

    So perhaps I went to far in declaring that Foghorn’s use of the word “boy” was definitively a parody of racist talk. It can legitimately be looked on as a simple parody of Southern talk. Mea Culpa, I retract that statement, thanks for pointing it out.

    I never claimed Foghorn was racist, just that he is, in fact, a parody of old southern gentlemen, who were, by and large, racist. That connection exists whether we like it or not, and whether the creators of the Foghorn shorts intended it or not.

    And therefore, in my view, the person on was not simply a dunderhead for asking the question. Maybe, just maybe, they were really curious and wanted an answer. An answer someone from this forum would have been ideally suited to give.

    Unfortunately, this is, of course, Cartoon Brew. Where Mike Fontanelli rejoices in (cleverly) calling me stupid, and “Artisticulated” implies that I’m not even worthy to be a part of this discussion unless I’ve got professional credentials. And the posts following line up to join in the dismissive parade (Steven Rowe excluded). Good on ya, guys. Way to make sure that us unworthy pleebs know our place.

  • Looney Lover

    It’s not it is a caricature of a comedian’s comedy bit.

    Read this..

    Jerry posted it on brew long ago.

    What are you guys trying to do? Give WB and CN even more reasons to not show Looney Tunes on TV ever again.