Last week, a two-hour “Whiteness Forum” held by students at Cal State San Marcos added the children’s Christian program “Veggie Tales” to the list of forbidden “racist” media. I fondly recollect waltzing with potatoes up and down the produce aisle in my childhood years, and can report with certainty that evidence for this claim is just as hard to find as a Cebu.
According to The College Fix, a female student at the “Whiteness Forum” argued that “Veggie Tales” is racist because the villains are vegetables of color. “When kids see the good white character triumph over the bad person of color character they are taught that white is right and minorities are the source of evil,” the project stated.
As The College Fix’s Drew Van Voorhis explained, the female student argued that “the accents of the evil characters tend to sound ethnic, such as Latino, while the good characters sound white.”
For those unfamiliar with the children’s program, “Veggie Tales” is a kid’s cartoon show featuring vegetables and often portraying biblical allegories. The main characters are Bob the Tomato — certainly a “vegetable of color,” namely the color red — and Larry the Cucumber. Contrary to protestations of racism, the show even has a blatantly anti-racist song.
Eric Metaxas, a bestselling author and former “Veggie Tales” writer and narrator, offered a playful yet profound comment to PJ Media’s request for comment.
“All vegetables are part of one race, even though they are of many colors,” Metaxas said. “They are all descended from the same parents — the Adam and Eve of vegetables, who foolishly ate a forbidden fruit (irony?) and screwed everything up for all vegetables descended from them. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the story.”
Christianity teaches that all people — regardless of race — were created in God’s image, have sinned, and are in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. “Veggie Tales” has presented the same message, over and over again, and if there was a latent racist message, Metaxas would know about it.
The villains do often have silly accents, often for purposes of humor.
Perhaps the most memorable of these silly accents has nothing to do with race. In “Josh and the Big Wall,” the allegory about Joshua’s capture of the city of Jericho, the villains are a pair of particularly stuck-up peas … with French accents. Is this racist? Against white Europeans?
“Where’s God When I’m S-Scared?” contains a bit about Daniel in the lion’s den. The villains are a trio of asparagus with no accents and no discernible ethnicity.
“Rack, Shack, and Benny” tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Nebby K. Nezzer, the stand-in for King Nebuchadnezzar, is a zucchini with a deep voice and he has a slightly darker color than Larry the Cucumber, but this could be intended to make him look like chocolate — he leads the vegetables to worship a chocolate bunny. Nezzer does not stay a villain, and according to Fandom he is “mostly good.”
All this speculation about potential “vegetables of color” is entirely beside the point, however. The episode “Are You My Neighbor” carries the clearest kind of anti-racist message imaginable. “I Can Be Your Friend” tells kids, “God makes lots of people in all colors, shapes and sizes/ He loves them very much and what we need/ To realize is that calling people names/ Because they’re different is wrong.”
“Instead we need to look on them in love and sing this song: I can be your friend.”
The song is a bit cheesy, but it carries a very clear anti-bully, anti-racism message. “Yeah, we’re all pretty different, some are skinny, some are stout/ But the inside is the part that we’re supposed to care about. … So, instead of weirdo, I think friend’s a better name.”
Social Justice Warriors (SWJs) may think they’re achieving something with these ridiculous charges of racism, but to “Veggie Tales” fans, they sound a bit like this: “We are the SJWs who don’t like anything/ We just stay at home and whine a lot/ And if you ask us to like anything/ We’ll just tell you … that’s offensive!”
Once again, “Veggie Tales” is about teaching kids morals and Bible stories. College students have to really strain to see a racial message in “Veggie Tales.”
Then again, the “Whiteness Forum” included other ridiculous projects, including one blaming the NFL for “white supremacy” — since most football players are black while most coaches are white. A flier handed out with the “White Women’s Role in White Supremacy” project showed a picture of women supporting President Trump flanked by pictures of women in the Ku Klux Klan. Subtle.
Students at Cal State San Marcos may have been indoctrinated to see racism everywhere. The forum came from Professor Dreama Moon’s Communications 454 class entitled “The Communication of Whiteness.”
Given the constant refrain that everything in Western and American history is secretly sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and just plain bigoted, it should be no surprise that some students turn on an innocent TV program like “Veggie Tales,” despite its anti-racist message.
It makes a “Veggie Tales” fan want to sing, “Oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where… is your common sense?”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.