Daffy: (adj) silly, weak-minded, crazy
There were four or five years in my life when I lived for them.
As I look back now, I realize how intricately these cartoons were constructed—how much money was put into the music—and also how cruel they truly were.
Very recently, I’ve noticed that there was some hidden racism in the relationship between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
Daffy, black, was always trying to keep up with Bugs Bunny, though the rabbit seemed to have a charmed life and Daffy appeared to be born under the sign, “Please hit me.”
It made Daffy very angry.
So enraged was he that he plotted against Bugs—and the notorious bunny innocently looked on, as if he had no idea whatsoever why Daffy was so perturbed.
As a kid, I found myself rooting for the calm, easy-going “what’s up doc?”
On the other hand, I found the black duck to be inept, clumsy, arrogant and mean.
I’m sure that was not the goal of the cartoon makers.
But in an era when racism was rampant—not that different from today—the color distinction between the light gray and white Bugs and the black, almost Southern-talking Daffy, was pronounced, and dare I say, obvious.
On top of that, when you’re given a name like “Daffy,” it’s hard to overcome the profile in a five-and-a-half-minute cartoon.
So, oppressed by color, by the fact he was a duck, and that favoritism seemed to be given to the ever-extolled rabbit, Daffy found himself spending all his time frustrated, unable to get a life and be productive.
I’m always bewildered when someone is angry when another race complains about their status. They say:
“This is America, the land of opportunity–just go out and make a world for yourself.”
But as Daffy will tell you, sometimes that is difficult to do—when the Bunny is unmercifully “Bugs”-ing you.