How can Rastamouse be racist?

Feb 15 • Featured, Uncategorized • 936 Views • 19 Comments on How can Rastamouse be racist?

Honestly sometimes I despair, I really do. Apparently there have been over 100 complaints to the BBC recently. No, not about EastEnders, or Jonathan Ross, or any of the usual suspects.

This time, parents have been complaining to CBeebies. They are outraged because of the presence of a little singing mouse on their screens.

Namely Rastamouse. Apparently Rastamouse is ‘racist’ because he is a Rastafarian, who likes playing reggae. One commenter here, who surely needs a major reality check, says the CBeebies puppet looks like a ‘gangster’. Some critics are even claiming there’s a sinister subtext in the mice’s references to ‘cheese’ (*rolls eyes*).

Let’s um… chill out for a minute, shall we people? Because if you think about it, the idea that Rastamouse is racist is preposterous. He is clearly a puppet mouse, for a start. A PUPPET. Yes he is celebrating the Rastafarian culture. And yes he likes reggae. But he is not, in any way, negative.

The animation’s brilliant, the stories entertaining – one of his creators is actually a Rasta – and the music is fab. If Rastamouse and his friends bring a little bit of a different kind of culture into the lives of kids who wouldn’t normally have a clue what reggae, or Rastafarianism is, then so much the better, surely? And if you really think Rastamouse is racist, it might be time to challenge your own preconceptions.

My only complaint would be that it seems a little bizarre he is wearing a t-shirt and no pants, but then, he is a puppet. Irie, etc, etc.

*What do you think about Rastamouse? I’d love to know, share your thoughts below.

written by Liz Jarvis

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19 Responses to How can Rastamouse be racist?

  1. Sharon says:

    We have no problem with it other than "This is Rubbish!!" from the 4 year old and "DOOOORAAAA!" from the 1 year old. So like everyone else is capable of doing if they don’t like it – We utilise that little used gizmo called the OFF button!

  2. Crystal Jigsaw says:

    The world has gone completely insane. How can anyone say a puppet is racist? It is absolutely ridiculous and doesn’t help children learning about different cultures, music, and generally ways of life. Some people really need to get off their high horse and start living in the real world. The people obviously have nothing else to do but complain. They really need to get off their backsides and get a job. Another thing, there are too many do-gooders in this world today, trying to engage us all in The Big Society nonsense. This is so typical of people’s shallow attitudes and wanting to bring up the "perfect" child. CJ xx

  3. jay says:

    As my (white) husband said of my (Jamaican) self, our 2 (mixed-race) children and Rastamouse: "this programme is a part of my wife and children’s culture. I’m willing to embrace it, learn about it, and most importantly, enjoy it. What better way for kids to learn about different cultures?" My (Jamaican) mom said: So we can complain about Rastamouse but no one has anything to say about the black character with dreads on In The Night Garden? Is it because she has an English accent? My view on the Rastamouse feedback: Me nebba did ear such ras in allah me day. A wah rang wid de pipple dem? If dem wan come deal wit racism, dem shoulda come lib wid ME as me-a grow up eena me white-man community! IRIE MON. (I have never heard such rubbish in all my days. What is wrong with people? If they want to deal with racism, they should have lived with ME as I was growing up in a very white-dominant area. WORD.)

  4. CaroleHeidi says:

    It’s the total opposite of racist!! It’s teaching kids about a different culture and way of life through brilliant animation, cute characters and funky music. The ONLY racism comes from the people complaining who clearly have a problem with Rastafarian culture and influences and need to go away and get over themselves and their prejudices!!

  5. Anna says:

    My 5 month old loves Rastamouse as do I. The colours and music are lovely and bright and hold his interest to the point where he baby-talks to the TV and the storyline is simple enough to be understood by slightly older children regardless of whether they understand the language (to be honest everything is a funny noise to my baby at the moment including me). I’m not of Rastafarian heritage but I think this show is fab as it introduces another culture to our children. To the narrow-minded people who say Rastamouse is racist or are worried their kids are going to repeat some of the ‘lingo’ in the playground I say, take your twin-set from over your ears and go have a nice cup of Earl Grey to calm yourself down!!

  6. The Real Mamma Diaries says:

    Rastamouse is brilliant, fun and infotainment – it’s informative and entertaining! I’ve written lots of articles recently on how valuable kids TV programmes that take them outside of their own culture are – and this is a fantastic example. Watching this puppet will widen your child’s horizons and make them a more rounded person – so they’ll be LESS racist. My two-year-old daughter loves it – and I find myself sometimes tapping my foot in time to the music. Great show!

  7. Jennifer Howze says:

    It’s strange how people seem to be confusing children’s cartoon characters with real life. I guess the thinking goes that IF Rastamouse were a real person THEN he might actually be smoking ganga and since I don’t want my child doing that, then I don’t want them listening to a singing mouse. We also shouldn’t pretend that people don’t have different accents. Texas cowboys sound a certain way. Jamaican Rastas sound a certain way. French waiters speaking English zound a seartayne wahy. It’s not racist to notice and enjoy our differences.

  8. caroljs says:

    I went to the preview of Rastamouse and loved and so did BG. It went over really well and there were no complaints. The co-writers were there and we had a chance to meet them. One of them happens to be Rasta so how is Rastamouse racist?

  9. Nat says:

    He annoys me. But then most of children’s TV annoys me. My kids don’t watch much TV I generally monitor their viewing by only letting them watch a movie. But they love this show and so far haven’t tried to attack anyone nor ask for "cheese"

  10. janice says:

    The only racist people is the parents that think its racist, scared that their precious kids heads are going to be corrupted by a puppet mouse. My daughter loves rasta mouse and theres nothing wrong with learning about different cultures. There are other programmes on cbeebies such as "big city park" and to be honest i cant understand a word them puppets say, but i dont hear anyone complaining about that.

  11. Sam Pilcher says:

    the only disagreement i have with this show, is the fact that in rasta culture, the rodent is seen as a dirty creature. they would not portray themselves as being a rodent of any kind so it may be offensive to that specific culture (inadvertantly or not) but in no way is it racist.

  12. Lols says:

    After attending (way too many!) equality & diversity courses over my working life, the one thing I’ve learnt is that we should never assume anything about what any group or individual may or may not find offensive. It seems to be a case of common sense and general good manners 🙂

  13. Natalie says:

    To be honest, I don’t think that the purpose of Rastamouse is to educate children on being a rastafarian. Yes it has different accents and lilts, Caribbean culture etc, but in essence it’s a kids programme. I think it’s great as does my 3 year old and as a Jamaican, other than thinking that the lilt is a little slow (I guess that’s also for the kids), it’s thoroughly enjoyable. What *is* alarming is the casual attitude of some towards bandying the word ‘racist’ around and coming out with foolishness about their kids being picked on if their child repeats anything out of it. Beyond ignorant. There are plenty of children’s programmes that have used nonsensical languages – Teletubbies and Waybuloo but to name a few. Why is it such an issue now that there is distinct colour/Carribean culture references? I think these people losing their minds over Rastamouse need to Get A Life. Fast. For the rest of us, everyting irie man.

  14. sharon says:

    Great show, don’t have a problem with it and neither do my dual-heritage kids. Come, on people why does everything have to turn into an argument?

  15. Roy says:

    The only issue I have with this program is that is I struggle to understand what anyone its saying. I dont think this program is going to do a whole lot to improve grammar. Its great to be exposed to and celebrate different culture though.

  16. Disree Anderson says:

    I love this program the concept of a crime fighting do gooder of a Rastafarianouse is fantastic. I’m a drama practitioner in prary schools I use music from different cultures and era’s within my teaching methods. This works as a medium for children to understand and learn about different cultures. Rasta Mouse is another avenue which opens the minds of our children in s positive light. I’m from a carribbean background and I find the dialect in this program to be authentic and audible. Well do Rasta Mouse creators and BBC has impressed me with this choice. I hope we see more of a cultural mix. How about a Muslim superhero cat.

  17. bree says:

    I think its great there nothing racist about it at all!!!!!

  18. Erica says:

    A racist is defined as " a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others" I don’t recall any episode in Rastamouse portraying this. People like to interpret things to support their own beliefs.

  19. Jade says:

    Hi Liz Just caught sight of your blog. I think you are so right. People really need to chill out and stop taking it so seriously. I think its quite a funny programme. How on earth can they say he looks like a gangster, clearly they don’t understand the term gangster. Irie man. lol

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