“The Boondocks” Comic Strip Promotes “One Drop” Myth

A new comic strip called “The Boondocks” is promoting the “one drop” myth and ridiculing “interracial” marriage and ancestry in the comics pages of daily newspapers throughout the country. Its creator, “black” cartoonist Aaron McGruder, has made no secret of his contempt for free choice in “racial” identification.

Most of “The Boondocks” seems devoted to the bullying of a multiracial girl, “Jazmine DuBois,” by the pint-sized black militant protagonist, “Huey.” The “Huey” character is, according to “The Boondocks” web site (http://www.boondocks.net/huey.html), the spokesman for the cartoonist. It is “Huey’s” mission to force “Jazmine” to renounce her European-American ancestry and “white” mother in favor of an allegiance to his Afro-centric, white-hating, black-militant ideology. He insists that the numerous ethnicities in her ancestry equal nothing but “black.”

“Jazmine’s” parents are ridiculed to show McGruder’s opposition to official “interracial” marriages. Her “white” mother is presented as a frivolous liberal who doesn’t realize that she can never understand any “black thing,” and her father, Tom (no accidental use of that name), is presented as inferior to the black-militant child, “Huey,” in understanding the “racial” realities of the world. Not surprisingly, McGruder opposes official “interracial” marriages while making “Jazmine” into a sex symbol for young “black” males like “Huey.” His web page describes “Jazmine” as a “confused cutie-pie” (http://www.boondocks.net/characters.html). We’ve heard THAT song before!

“Huey” insists that “Jazmine’s” frizzy hair gives her no choice but to be “black” (despite her fair skin, green eyes and light-brown hair (http://www.boondocks.net/jazmine.html). You can bet the rent that no one in “The Boondocks” will defend Jazmine by pointing out that plenty of “white” people have “frizzy” hair or that Latinos and North Africans with far more “black” ancestry than Jazmine do not call themselves “black” and do not fear that anyone can force them to do so. No one will point out that “Jazmine” has the legal right to reject a forced “black” identity.

The game is given to “Huey’s” black militancy because the author makes sure that he never encounters a truly logical or sharp response to his bullying.

The “Jazmine” character’s rejection of forced, mutually exclusive racial categories is described as “utopian” and “confused” on “The Boondocks” web page. It may come as news to McGruder that many people in this country agree with “Jazmine.” Not only has the Multiracial Movement forced an increased awareness and use of mixed-race terminologies, but the Libertarian Party has advocated the total abolition of legal “racial” categories. You will never hear about that in “The Boondocks.”

Aaron McGruder’s comic strip presents a 1960s “Black Panther” view of the world. It’s time he grew up and accepted the fact that the world cannot be neatly divided into “black” and “white.”

I urge your readers to e-mail local newspapers in which “The Boondocks” appears and protest McGruder’s “one drop” racism.

A.D. Powell


  1. Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 11:42:06 -0800 (PST)
    From: Albert Seg
    Subject: Letter to the Editor

    The opening posting in this discussion makes a crucial error from the get-go:

    “The “Huey” character is, according to “The Boondocks”; web site (http://www.boondocks.net/huey.html), the spokesman for the cartoonist.”

    I followed up the link and (a) don’t see anything about Huey being McGruder’s “Spokesman” and (it just says “main character”) — and I don’t know how much McGruder had top do with the characterizations on thos pages anyway.

    Anyone who takes Huey’s precocious zealousness as McGruder’s “take” on race issues is missing the dominant tone of humor in the Boondocks altogether. Yes, Huey expresses lots of valid, ploitically acute ideas — but McGruder is also using the character to poke fun at activists who become so invested in abstract political thought that they lose touch with real human interactions — the kid is too aloof to enjoy *sledding*!

    McGruder lampoons Huey’s brand of posturing as often as he uses Huey to criticize racist American culture. Huey is speaking duirectly for McGruder when he has Huey attack the last Star Wars movie (Huey’s and McGruder’s view of Jar-Jar Binks would be equivalent) — but MCGruder wants us to laugh at Huey’s humorless intensity about Kwanzaa.

    There are plenty of other examples of places where we’re menat to laugh at Huey — and his needling of Jazmine is one of them.

    — and Jazmine isn’t presented as rejecting any sort of ethnic identity — she’s depicted as being in denial about the whole issue. There’s a big difference.



  2. If you understand biology,and who all scientist have begrudgingly acknowledged the first people were,then you can except what we all are.If you are of a darker skin and have tightly curled hair but your great grandparent was of Native American ancestry can you then go to a reservation and say you now would like to open a casino?Every AFRO american has ancestors that are not identified as black, does that mean you are not black?African women were pregnant with the slave runners babies as they came off the slave ship.Tell me did that give them exemption from slavery.What amazes me is that you seem to be upset with the messenger.It’s amazing to me that you don’t understand what or why the powers that be want ” color blind organizations”.There is power in numbers,black people are the most excepting people in the world of every culture there is.Black people have absorbed latin,european,asians,and everything in between in the so called black community.I also know that we have not been or will not be absorbed,permitted or allowed to have the same freedoms in their communities.But when black people say what everyone else knows then the messenger is attacked for telling the truth.It also seems strange that the views of the boondocks are called militant.Also if one understood that the”Black Panthers” were not anti white but pro people,at the start of a panther speach their creedo was spoken,Power to Black PEOPLE,Power to BROWN People,Power to Red People,Power to White People, POWER TO THE PEOPLE.When you understand the power structure and understand why you feel it’s necessary to except ancestry that’s usually not apparent too anyone but themselves you cheat yourself and others who know what the real agenda of the day is.

    2/21/2004 3:22:19 PM

  3. Mcgruder is in no way making fun of mixed relations neither is as you said, “Huey’s” mission to force “Jazmine” to renounce her European-American ancestry and “white” mother in favor of an allegiance to his Afro-centric, white-hating, black-militant ideology.” If you looked closely at the comic strip, Mcgruder’s Huey character is trying to tell Jasmine’s character to be proud of her ancestry. She get’s disgusted when her hair frizzes up and is not straight or European. Mcgruder’s message is mixed people should be proud of their black ancestry. Many African Americans feel that if you are mixed with black then your race is black because that is how the world was not too long ago. If you had a drop of black you were treated like a black and forced to obey Jim Crow Laws. You said that, “Jazmine” has the legal right to reject a forced “black” identity. As a teenager who is mixed (African American and Caucasion) I feel that nobody should reject any identity given to them at birth. Your identity isn’t forced, it’s a gift, therefore you should be proud of the skin you’re in and your heritage. Also the Boondocks character, “Huey”, does not promote a “white-hating, black-militant ideology.” It sounds to me that you have read only a few Boondocks episodes and jumped to a conclusion. As an avid reader and owner of the Boondocks book, I can say that Boondocks doens’t just make fun of whites. It also makes fun of BET and rap music with negative messages. Boondocks is a political satirical comic. It makes fun of things that the author considers wrong with society. My advice to you is that you don’t take everything you read literally. Think about it before you get mad.

  4. I’ve always liked the Boondocks comic strip until today when I read all the ones that had Huey making fun of Jazmine’s heritage situation. As a product of a b&w interracial marriage, I can see both sides of this pretty clearly. I can understand Jazmine’s confusion and can also understand Huey’s frustration and insistence on trying to get Jazmine to “claim” her black “self”. I’m disappointed at the way McGruder makes Jazmine so clueless about her heritage, as if she thinks it’s a horrible, horrible, thing to be black and have an afro. He re-enforces the stereotype that black people have of biracial folks; that we’re always in denial and want to claim everything else under the sun except black. That we’re stuck up and would prefer to have white friends instead of black ones. I don’t know how many times a black person has pre-judged me as being “one of those” mixed chicks that only date white guys. (go figure!) It’s like when they see you and you’ve got lighter skin than they do, they automatically run the “what you mixed with?” and “is she down with us?” test. It shouldn’t be a “crime” to say that you’re biracial or multi-racial. It is simply what you are! My mom is white and my dad is black. Sure according to the Jim Crow “one drop” rules that would classify me as “black” or “mulatto” back in the 60’s, and when I look in the mirror I see a light skinned black women and I realize that people know I’m not white… so why can’t I tell the truth? I’m biracial. A black woman who just happens to have a white parent. End of story. Hello! America is not just strictly BLACK and WHITE and thats all!!! Huey, being as socially conscious as he is, should recognize this. Why did McGruder decide to play on this from such a one-sided viewpoint? Jazmine just wants to be herself, why does Huey keep insisting on pigen-holeing her? Well, because he’s never walked a mile in her shoes. In our own African-American community, no one wants to talk about the nasty problem of colorism that goes both ways. A biracial person should never have to feel like they got to smile at every black person on the street in order for them to be recognized as “down in the black community”. A black person should not just assume someone is denying their black heritage if they see a biracial person with someone white. A biracial person shouldn’t assume they’re better than a darker skinned individual. I won’t go as far as to say that Huey is militant or racist against Jazmine, but I will say that he’s fallen victim of the colorism trap…just as we all have in some ways. I don’t think that all color coding categories should be done away with, I just think they should be modified so you can choose exactly what you are. White people can always check “white”. Black people can always check “black”; its easy and they don’t even think about it. But when it comes to mixed people why is it such a big deal to want a box that says “biracial”- that’s all we want! We want something simple too! We’d like not to have to break it all down and think about “Well, if I check black, then where does my white parent fit into the picture, will they be offended? “If I check white, then where does that leave my black parent? Everybody knows I’m not white.” It’s all so silly. Has anybody ever listened to a song by the artist “Tricky”? He sings “German-Jamaicans’ with twisted faces….tell me what the race is.” What box is there for an individual who’s a product of this marriage? What about Black & Korean mixed people? Do they ignore the Korean side of them in order to be accepted by the African American community? What about someone who is Mexican and Black? Why does the black community feel an undying need to make them choose between the two? Let them check “biracial” then move on to get to know WHO they really are, not just WHAT they are.

  5. To clarify this discussion, Jazmine doesn’t understand she is part African-American despite her father’s ethnicity because her family embraces her multicultural heritage but doesn’t mention African-American as one of her ancestry (if I remember correctly from the book). Huey, in his characteristically aggressive way, points out all the physiological ways she’s African-American but she denies this for some reason. The owner of this website should be asking when Jazmine will accept her heritage, if you had read the comic correctly.

  6. Learn to read, please. “Jazmine” knows that she is PART black (as opposed to “black”). Also, she does not have any African features. That is your “one drop” fantasy. “Huey” represents the bullying inferiority complex that makes the “soul patrol” desperate to claim the offspring of the “white race” they both hate and adore. “Huey” is sick, not “Jazmine.”

    7/2/2004 3:12:55 PM

  7. mr. powell, you are sadly mistaken about the boondocks… huey is not hateful or stereotyped, but tired of a stereotyped white community and tired of seeing the entire black race stereotype as gun toting “gangstas” …. huey may see the world in a slightly black panther type manner.. but is he is fully. however huey is fully in the present, and understands the current times with amazing depth… Mr. Mcgruders feature is a refreshing look at the idiocy and hipocrasy of one George Bush, and a new look at life from an “afro centric” point of view. despite the alleged mocking of interracial marriage, you shoudl make sure to notice that the white woman and back man have a strong relationship and a good marriage.. also, as huey is a strong supporter of black issues, he is only miffed that Jazmine denies her black ancestry rather than accept it for what it truly is….. despite this the boondocks is a great good comic stripand should in no context be censored….i mean… did anyone really like flaggie and ribbon… for more than a week?

  8. “Jazmine” knows that she is PART black (as opposed to “black”). Also, she does not have any African features. That is your “one drop” fantasy. “Huey” represents the bullying inferiority complex that makes the “soul patrol” desperate to claim the offspring of the “white race” they both hate and adore.
    If the idea of denying black ancestry offends you so much, when are you going to post that message to Latino and Arab web sites? American blacks seem to respect THEIR “denial” of African ancestry.

    7/7/2004 6:01:52 PM

  9. First of all, I’d like to say that this is a wonderful comic strip, to make us think this deeply of perspectives and stereotypes, interracial identities, ideals, and how we see reality and the people around us. All the responses have been wonderful and very informative.
    For my two cents, I would like to point out that McGruder means for no one in the strip to be perfect, least of all Huey. They are all satires, at one level or another, and everything they say and do are there to make us think. They are not there to be taken literally. In fact, certain incidents are written exactly to highlight their failings. Huey’s and Jasmine’s failings, and perhaps their strengths, seem to be the emphasis in this series of comics.

  10. I have the rare misfortune to read this asinine comic strip every once in a while, and am always disgusted. McGruder’s comic is not funny and presents no “insight” or “new opinion” besides the typical leftist nutjob Moore-ish point of view. The comic is hypocritical and mostly pointless and is simply a tool for the author to spout his idiocy on a grand scale.

  11. Boondocks should be called “Coondocks” because all Aaron ever does in his strip is cooning. His characters spout out all the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton/Louis Farakhan garbage about race, race relationships reperations etc.At the San Diego Comic convention this summer Aaron admitted to a room full of 300 people that he is a rascist, and he blames “whitey” for everything bad in the black community.

  12. First of all, I think the Boondocks overall is a good comic strip. I began reading it when it first appeared in the Washington post. Aaron’s views are his views, no one can change that. Why would you anyways?. Being a cartoonist myself, I learned a long time ago that everybody will not like your work and that’s cool. Different strokes for different folks. Your favorite movie may be the same movie I hate but that doesen’t make it a bad or good film. The same goes for Aaron’s Boondocks. I think Aaron is doing an excellent job overall. I say overall because some of his topics I feel he rides to long but I have know right to bash him for that. While others I can sit back and say “I’ll give you props on this one”. From one cartoonist to another, keep doing your thang. To those who have nothing better to do but bash remember this “Every thing you love or like, someone else dislikes”. Get over it.

    8/16/2004 7:38:23 PM

  13. To be honest I like the Boondocks comic strip. I myself happen to be Black and White and I do notice the pressure to choose “sides”. Rather than simplify things the idea of racial division only complicates a situation further. I am proud of all my heitage if for no other reason than to say that I respect myself and cannot find a way to exist hating parts of my genetic makeup. A man divided against himself and his blood can be no good to himself or his respective races. Futhermore, I prefer to focus anger on things that are results of my or someone else’s actions.What good is it to hate what you cannot affect?

  14. I think your comic is good over all but i think you are wrong when it comes to black and white marrige my self i am for it I am black and my girl friend is white

  15. I think Boondocks is an awesome intelligently thought out strip. It is designed to hit “raw nerves” in the black and white communities. McGruder doesn’t use kid gloves with any of them including with the biracial experience. In his strip all these communities are depicted as victims and also purveyors of stereotypes which hurts and angers some reader to see. Even though I am black and have actually suffered from white racism I don’t hate all white people, and I have white good friends but I do realize the overwhelmingly racist mold was died and cast with the one time normal acceptance of slavery in our American society.White people have the upper hand and have manipulated the lives of the African diaspora ever since outright slavery ended. Why do I say this-who has the most national wealth on average to make sure their children make it in to the best schools and neighborhoods or in to the best jobs and can still keep us out! That ignorant George Bush is a prime example-No way could he get in to Yale without his Daddy pulling strings for him. His presidency is the same story as well. Another way of keeping people of color out was through color of skin and the “one drop” rules. These practices have detoured wealth and status away from American blacks for generations! History is full of examples that this was done purely on purpose! Over time damage was done to black communities psychosocially and economically. So in McGruder’s strip Huey represents this knowledge and the conspiracy theory-militant anger originating from it(exaggeratedly), Riley shows up the character flaws in black folks as a society, revealing the apathy, ignorance and immediate self-gratification that we should be overcoming and Jazmine represents all the confusion left in our ranks from the “white is right” post-slavery days when skin color determined if you led a better life or a crappier one and is still true today in a lot of cases. McGruder bravely portrays these issues in his strip and I commend him for it. Because when you say this stuff you could back it up with a million “Rodney King-like” video tapes or history books and still some one will jump up and say the strip is spreading hateful racist opinions and it’s one sided! If you don’t believe these issues exist you’re just likely not black or educated in American or black history or you’re ignorant, defensive and your head is in the sand!!! Thank God for the Aaron McGruders, Michael Moores and Gary Trudeaus because they make us face hard topics and THINK! and they save us from total brainwashing by the evil right-wing spin doctors!

  16. Y’all interracials, multiracials, anti racials need to get a life. Hatin on Boondocks ain’t gonna further yo causz. Lighten up (he he I made a funny) be cool and say mixed.

    1/2/2005 1:22:28 AM

  17. All I know is that White people are braiding their hair, dancing like Turbo and Ozone from Breakin’, and trying to sound like Luther Vandross/Patti LaBelle, while Black people are reading Wall Street Journal, catering Thanksgiving, and going to “spas”. Black and Whites are not only becoming biracial, we are LIVING biracial. So a little pride in one’s race shouldn’t hurt. One starts denouncing a part of oneself, one is lost. (I have to admit that when Huey called Jazmine “Mariah” I couldn’t stop laughing)

    2/9/2005 12:31:51 PM

  18. Yowsa! Boy, the Democrats got their butts kicked AGAIN by Republicans! We liberals are nothing but a bunch of whiners. The Dems have no direction, stand for nothing. The party has moved too far to the left and wacko extremists like Michael Moore and Aaron McGruder are now the face of the party. What a disgrace! The Boondocks is completely out of touch with mainstream America. I’ve stopped reading it. I’m glad that old site http://www.boondocks.net was shut down. The Republicans used to kick my butt ove there all the time!

  19. I have heard alot of people stressed out over the way Jazmine is portrayed in the Boondocks strip but I don’t think that its Aaron’s responsibility to make every character a complete representative for thier ‘category’. I think that the relationship between Jazmine’s parents is also interesting and avoids some of the more obvious stereotypes of an interracial relationship. But more than representatives for thier ‘category’ these characters are just that: characters. Jazmine is clueless about her heritage because she’s clueless about alot of things. Huey teases her about that not only because he insults everyone with a different point of view than his, but because he has a crush on her.

    There was one strip a while ago that featured Huey and Jazmine sitting on a hill watching the clouds go by. As usual, Jazmine begins to complain about her hair. She says she hates it because its too big and puffy and she can’t do anything with it. Then Huey says ‘Jazmine look at the clouds, you like them don’t you?’ She says ‘Yeah, of course!’ So he asks her why she likes them. Then she gushes ‘Oh wow I dunno, they’re just so big and poofy and soft, they’re just beautiful!-wait a minute! Huey why are you asking me about clouds? Weren’t we talking about my hair? I don’t understand!’ To which he defeatedly replies ‘No, you don’t.’

    Aaron mcGruder might be crazy but his strip deserves more credit than to just call it blatantly racist, or multiracist.

    Comment by sharna — 11/14/2005 @ 12:47 pm

  20. I think that Huey is going to be Jazmine’s boyfriend later on in the show.

    Comment by Kagome — 3/6/2006 @ 5:50 am

  21. I’m just glad there’s no giraffes in it. Now THAT’d be something to worry about.

    People worry too much about gay crap. Me? I’m afraid of bears. Bears are killing MACHINES.

    Comment by h00rj — 4/17/2006 @ 10:06 am

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