Rantz: UW Seattle professor declares Spongebob Squarepants ‘racist’ whitewashing
University of Washington professor Holly Barker is no fan of Spongebob Squarepants, a fictional, underwater animated creature she believes represents racism and violence. This is the latest effort of hypersensitive, unhinged partisans to censor pop culture and ruin pretty much everything.
When your kid watches Spongebob, they see a goofy character living life in an underwater pineapple. But to Barker, she sees something more insidious because she wants to pretend she’s offended.
“SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland,” Barker seriously argues in “The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs”.
SpongeBob lives in Bikini Bottom, on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. This place does not exist as it does in the cartoon, nor do the show’s signature characters or businesses (Krusty Krab is the premier restaurant, I’m told). But it’s apparently based around Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands where American military personnel displaced native inhabitants to conduct nuclear testing.
It’s that history that Barker uses to declare the cartoon “desensitizes viewers to the violence … and whitewashes US military rampages on the islands in the history and narrative of Bikini.” That SpongeBob lives in this area, shows him “not caring about the detonation of nuclear bombs.” She calls the colonization “racist” and “violent”.
Per a write-up by FOX News, Barker acknowledges that while the SpongeBob creators didn’t intend to create a show about colonization, “Bikini Bottom and Bikini Atoll were not (the writers’) for the taking” and, thus, they committed cultural appropriation.
In the article, Barker claims that because of these themes, children have “become acculturated to an ideology that includes the U.S. character SpongeBob residing on another people’s homeland.”
The article concludes with this: “We should be uncomfortable with a hamburger-loving American community’s occupation of Bikini’s lagoon and the ways that it erodes every aspect of sovereignty.”
Barker also slaps SpongeBob for having too many male characters because, if you’re already making a parody of your career as a professor, you might as well throw every social justice cause into the article.
This is a willfully unhinged view of a cartoon and it actually hurts her cause. She could very reasonably use the show as a jumping off point to learn more about the history of the region. “Love watching the city of Bikini Bottom on SpongeBob? Well, it’s actually a real place with a tragic history! Let me tell you!” That could have actually been interesting. In fact, she’s even done that before. But, perhaps, it didn’t inspire enough interest from the Social Justice Warrior crowd?
So, Barker seeks to explain how woke she is, twist the show into a hate crime, then imply you should feel ashamed for enjoying the show. It’s a message that will — and should — be swatted away as annoying virtual signaling for the sake of virtue signaling.
Holly Barker is a principal lecturer in the Department of Anthropology where she currently teaches Special Problems in Anthropology. If you have a kid taking any of her classes, you’re wasting tuition money. She cannot and should not be taken seriously.
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