What we as adults tend to find offensive, kids barely even seem to notice. This is especially true for cartoons, movies, and comic books. It is only when we look back at some of the shows that we used to love to watch that we begin to notice things like stereotypes playing prominently throughout the stories.
Here are eight of the most offensive super hero cartoons to ever make it onto television.
1. Captain Planet
The basis for this show was great, saving our planet by being environmentally conscious, there were always teachable moments from every episode. The long and the short of it is, the five "Planeteers" would summon Captain Planet, using their special rings, to help them fight eco-villains. The problem was, each of the "Planeteers" was from a different region of the world, but each of them was a total stereotype of the region they called home, if for no other reason than the terrible, over-done accents to drive the point home.
2. The PowerPuff Girls
You might be asking yourself, "what could possibly be offensive about the PowerPuff Girls?" To be honest, you don't even notice it until you begin to look, and when that happens it hits you like a ton of bricks; the PowerPuff Girls and virtually every character in their universe is white. Go ahead, try and find a character of color.
3. G.I. Joe
I don't know a single man that I grew up with that didn't watch G.I. Joe. The team of special forces soldiers were great at kicking ass, and we all loved to watch them do it. It is the pinnacle of 80's cartoons. The language that was used to describe both Middle Eastern enemies and allies is so bad that I don't think I would be allowed to write it in this post, but at the time it was considered completely appropriate for children of all ages.
4. Jonny Quest
Jonny Quest was a brilliant kid who would travel the world solving mysteries and finding long lost treasures. Honestly, it was a lot of fun, but boy was it racist. Any character that wasn't white was either a villain or a full blown stereotype. Even the name of Jonny's best friend is used as a racial slur today. The show started its run in the 60s, making it easy to understand how something could be so blatant without anyone actually caring.
5. The Ambiguously Gay Duo
In 1996, The Dana Carvey Show premiered the animated sketch, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, starring the voice talents of Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell. The two crime fighters constantly had their sexuality questioned by everyone; common citizens, bad guys, cops, and everyone else they come into contact with. The show played off of every gay stereotype you can possibly imagine, even the car the two of them drove was shaped like a... well you get the drift.
6. Super Friends
Super Friends was the original cartoon series to showcase a group of super heroes working together. It was wildly cheesy, but for kids watching the show between 1973-1986, it was one of the highlights of their weekend mornings. The show did make a strong effort to include heroes from several other races, including; El Dorado, Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, and Samurai. The only problem was is, the characters were heavily stereotyped to whatever the public perception of their specific race was at the time.
7. X-Men Evolution
When the first round of X-Men movies started to hit the big screen, and were big hits, other people tried to jump on the bandwagon to make some serious cash. X-Men: Evolution attempted to introduce us to the teen versions of some of our favorite mutant heroes (and villains). No specific race or religion was heavily stereotyped, so much as teenagers in general were made to look like a bunch of idiots. In the big scheme of things it wasn't outrageous, but teens everywhere should stand and say "we don't talk like that."
8. American Dragon: Jake Long
This Disney Channel cartoon managed to offend multiple cultures at the same time. As a "normal" New York City kid, Jake discovers that he descends from a line of dragons, and the show was teeming to the brim with Asian stereotypes. Jake also seemed to speak in ridiculous street slang in an attempt to be cool with the black kids.
Should they have known better when they decided to write these cartoons?