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The New Mccarthyism: Radical African-American Cartoonist Aaron Mcgruder's Boondocks Comicstrip Is Pulled From Newspapers Across the Country

January 09, 2002


Masuda Sultan

Afghan-American woman who has returned to her birthplace in Kandahar.

Tami Alpert

part of the film crew that went with Masuda to document her journey.

I’m looking at a cartoon. It shows a young African-American named Huey calling the FBI’s anonymous terrorism tipline. He says,

"I’m very serious. I know of several Americans who have helped train and finance Osama bin Laden."

The voice on the other end says, "And how did you come by this information?"

"A little investigating. It wasn’t that hard, actually."

"Okay, give me some names."

"All right. Let’s see... the first one is REAGAN. That’s R-E-A-G... Hello? Hello?"

In the next day’s strip, Huey says into the telephone, "Why do you keep hanging up on me? I’m telling the truth! TheCIA trained Osama bin Laden in using terrorism against the Soviets during the Reagan-Bush administration. They gavethe Afghanistan rebels countless amounts of covert funding!"

The voice on the phone replies, "Don’t you have better things to be doing?"

"Better than fighting terrorism? Heck no! We’re at war!"

This is just a sample of the work well-known radical cartoonist Aaron McGruder has been putting out since September11 in his strip, 'The Boondocks.'

'The Boondocks' runs in some 250 publications across the country. But in the new climate of intolerance for dissentor even debate, many newspapers have dropped the strip. The New York Daily News dropped it for about a monthand a half. Right now, the editor makes day-to-day decisions on whether to run the strip, depending on its content.Newsday in Long Island chose not to run the Sept. 11-inspired strips the first week they appeared. The_Dallas Morning News_ has moved 'The Boondocks' to a separate section altogether from other comics.

McGruder responded to the censorship on October 17, when he ran a strip that began with an official looking ’Editor’sNote.’ It reads: "Due to the inappropriate political content of this feature in recent weeks, it is being replaced by 'The Adventures of Flagee and Ribbon'," which we hope will help children understand the complexities of currentevents. United We Stand." For the next few days, the patriotic characters explained that terrorism is caused bypeople who hate our freedom of speech. They railed against radical-hippie-communists who dare to raise the issue ofcivilian casualties in Afghanistan. And they urged people to fight terrorism by spending money.

For the next two segments we’re going to talk to a number of people who have experienced "The New McCarthyism," butright now we’re joined by Aaron McGruder.


  • Aaron Mcgruder, syndicated cartoonist of 'The Boondocks'.

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