Teenager expertly breaks down issues with racially segregating TV shows

28 June 2020, 15:30

By Seán Hickey

Thirteen year old Joss suggested to LBC that if cartoons only allowed characters to be played by their community, they'd turn into soap operas.

After the American cartoon series The Simpsons announced it would stop using white actors to voice non-white characters, Maajid argued that this could lead to actors being "cast" as a specific thing for their whole career, but in terms of the cartoon he was torn.

Joss is a thirteen year old and self proclaimed expert in the comedy show The Simpsons after admittedly phoning in to LBC three times, twice to speak about The Simpsons. "The Simpsons is a satire after all and satires are built on stereotypes" he told Maajid, adding to the mix in the debate that "Bart Simpson himself is voiced by a woman."

Maajid could understand the teen's initial argument and asked him "where does this stop before you end up with fully segregated casting?"

"If it were to end up like this with all the other characters then it would end up being almost real, it'd end up being a bit of a soap, there'd be no point in it being animated anymore" Joss suggested, appealing to listeners to understand that actors take up roles to identify with a character rather than to be racist or sexist.

The Simpsons had been criticised for using white people to voice minority characters
The Simpsons had been criticised for using white people to voice minority characters. Picture: PA

Maajid agreed, asking Joss again "what's wrong with casting actors in different roles."

Joss argued that if characters could now only be represented by the community they represent, some of the magic of television will be lost.

"If you're only allowed to play your type of character then that limits you, that limits the progression of the character and the relationship you have with the character" he said.

Joss did see both sides of the debate however, stating that "you could also evenly say that if a non-white were to play a white what would happen then?" suggesting that there would be similar calls for segregation if the shoe was on the other foot.