Is Peanuts Racist? An Exclusive Interview With Franklin, Charlie Brown’s Black Friend

Illustration for article titled Is Peanuts Racist? An Exclusive Interview With Franklin, Charlie Brown’s Black Friend
Screenshot: ABC

Over the past few days, conservatives have begun to ring the “white people are under attack” alarm after they discovered tweets calling A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving racist because of the seeming segregation of Franklin.


It is difficult to tell if the initial tweets were jokes but Fox News, the National Review and literally hundreds of other outlets whose readers own more sunscreen than cocoa butter are reporting the story as an example of social justice warriors gone wild. So we decided to call up Franklin (yes, all black people know each other) to determine whether or not Charlie Brown is racist.

Michael Harriot: Hello, how are you doing sir? You look a lot older in person.

Franklin: Do you know how long ago we filmed Charlie Brown? It was back in the 70s. That was my first and only job on network TV. Sure, I had a few bit parts in other cartoons, but that Charlie Brown gig was nice! Those residual checks still pay the bills.

MH: I’m sure you’ve heard the controversy on Twitter about the show being ...

Franklin: Twitter? What’s that?

MH: It’s a social media network.

Franklin: Oh, I don’t mess around on the internet that much. I’m boycotting social media. They keep killing our people and no one says anything about it.


MH: Yes, police brutality is getting worse.

Franklin: No! I’m talking about cartoon trafficking. Do you know how many cartoon people have to die for them to make those Snapchat filters?


MH: Wait ... what? They make Snapchat filters out of cartoon people?

Franklin: You damn right. Where do you think they get those bunny ears from? (Makes sign of the cross.) Rest in Peace to my nigga Bugs.


Elmer Fudd was running a cartoon trafficking ring out of a Chuck E. Cheese. At least that’s what I heard. Some site called Infowars. Anyway, is that what you wanted to talk about?

MH: No! You know there are people who believe Charlie Brown was racist because he made you sit alone on one side of the table.


Franklin: Really? No, that wasn’t it at all! I chose to sit on that side of the table because that was my good side. They originally wanted me to sit beside Pig-Pen, but that boy be stank. First I thought it was because white people don’t use washcloths, but nah ... he just didn’t shower.

We almost got to fighting on the set that day because I asked him if he had some chitlins in his pocket ... Ole souse meat smelling motherfucker!


MH: Is that why you sat over there?

Franklin: Partly. My positioning also allowed me to slip some food to Snoopy. I couldn’t eat those white people’s food. The entire dinner tasted like whole wheat poultry and social studies textbooks. No seasoning at all!


Of course, they didn’t want me sitting next to Lucy, either. Back in those days, a black man couldn’t sit next to a white girl on national TV. And Lucy had a thing for me.

MH: Lucy? You dated Lucy?

Franklin: Of course not. Lucy was like ... 43 when she was on that show. She had a badonkadonk, too, but it was all fake. Must’ve taken 3 or 4 magic markers to make that booty and cover those wrinkles.


Me and Peppermint Patty were in a brief relationship in the early 80s but we broke it off because Lucy kept trying to holla. That was before she started dating Fat Albert.

MH: Lucy was dating Fat Albert?

Franklin: You didn’t know that? Ol’ Lucille Kardashian. She was always into dark meat. I never trusted her anyway.


MH: Why not?

Franklin: Because she lied to my homey Charlie B. all the time. Charlie suffered memory loss later in life and I honestly believed it had something to do with all those times he fell trying to kick that football. But that was before they could test for CTE.


Then I found out that she never had a degree in psychiatry. I’m suing her for all those nickels I spent on therapy.

MH: Wow! You’re revealing all of the secrets!

Franklin: Yeah. I’m writing a book chronicling my time with Charlie Brown. I am a forgotten trailblazer. Without me, there couldn’t have been a Proud Family. Dora could have never explored if I hadn’t broken down that barrier. But then again, she made most of her money in the dope game.


MH: Wait, Dora was a drug dealer?

Franklin: Why do you think Isadora Escobar traveled so much? She had some great weed, too. It was that fiyah.


I’m just sad that my boy Linus got hooked on her cocaine. That’s why he could never let that blanket go. He would sprinkle some nose candy on his “comfort blankie” before every shot. You’ll read about it in the book. And there’s a whole chapter on my marriage and divorce.

MH: You were married?

Franklin: Storm and I were married for six years before she joined the X-Men. We couldn’t keep up the long distance relationship. Then she left me for T’Challa. But we still keep in touch. We’re co-parenting.


MH: Wait—you have a child?

Franklin: Two: Huey and Riley Freeman. They mostly stay with my granddad because they couldn’t get citizenship in Wakanda.


MH: Wow, this is so enlightening. It’s just good to know that Charlie Brown wasn’t racist.

Franklin: I didn’t say that. I only said that I wasn’t sitting on that side of the table because of racism.


Charlie Brown was racist as fuck. He never liked me and I never liked him. He called me the n-word once, but I had to let it slide to keep my job.

MH: If he was so racist, then why did he have you over for Thanksgiving?

Franklin: Have you even seen the show? That dinner wasn’t at Charlie Brown’s house, it was at Peppermint Patty’s parents’ house. That was the first time we hooked up. Shroeder was playing the piano. I was gone off that Henny ... It just felt right.


Plus, haven’t you ever had a racist co-worker? That’s how it is, living in America. If you go to a party with white people, there’s gonna be a racist there.

MH: So what do you say to all the conservatives who want to protect the legacy of the show. And what do you say to all the people who will be sad that Charlie was racist?


Franklin: Look, bruh, white people shouldn’t get mad when black people call out racism, even when black people are wrong. How can they be mad because we don’t trust them when—every time we think we’re going to score—they snatch the ball away?

For black people, racism is like Pig-Pen’s odor—we can smell it. But everyone else is so used to it, they can’t even tell how much it stinks. If we boycotted all the racist things in society, we’d only be able to watch Black Panther and Madea movies. No one wants that.


Like most black people, I don’t pay much attention to those white people as long as they don’t stop me from eating. We just want an opportunity to sit at the table.

MH: That was profound. Anything else?

Franklin: Nah, I gotta go pick up something. I just got a text from Dora.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.



Charles Schultz didn’t have control over the animation but he made sure that Franklin was a part of the comic strip. Schultz was petty, everything folks didn’t want Franklin to do he did the opposite:

attend the same school - check

have a sleepover - check

play on the same sports team - check

I applaud Mr Schultz for being petty and letting Franklin be great in the comic strip.