In a world where white people are continually talking about their "black friend" that we rarely ever see, one cartoon train is being called a racist for actually having one.
Thomas the Tank Engine is a cartoon show centered around a talking train, but the addition of a black female train has conservatives, particularly NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, up in arms. On Friday, Mattel Inc. announced that the new season of the Thomas and Friends television show would feature ethnically different trains from across the globe. The collaborative effort with the United Nations aims to bring gender equality and international characters to the show. The show features two new female trains: a white electric locomotive who goes by the name of Rebecca and then there's Nia, a Kenyan train.
Nia "is painted orange with yellow lining. She has yellow, green and red patterns painted along her tanks, dome and cylinders, and her footplate is painted red," Mattel said of Nia, an ode to her Kenyan heritage. "Her name and number are painted on the sides of her tanks and cab respectively in yellow."
“[Thomas'] new direction and the addition of new, more representative characters is really about learning about the world and bringing the world into the living room for [young viewers],” said Kate Schlomann, vice president of branding at Mattel. “Which we haven’t done before.”
While this should be neither a problem or a shock as both female and international characters have been featured on the show throughout the decades, conservatives see it as both.
In a bizarrely far-fetched and absurd attempt to make a point, Loesch reimagined Thomas and his friends in KKK hoods.
“One of those trains, Nia, will be from Kenya to add ethnic diversity to the show. And—which, that, by the way, that's where it gets really strange to me — because I’ve looked at Thomas and Friends, at their pictures, and I see gray and blue,” Loesch said. “Am I to understand this entire time that Thomas and his trains were white? Because they all have gray faces.”
“How do you bring ethnic diversity?" Loesch continued her rant. "I mean they had to paint, what I guess they thought was some sort of African pattern on the side of Nia’s engine? How do you bring ethnic diversity to a show that literally has no ethnicities because they're trains?"
She then showed a picture of trains wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods on burning tracks.
Racial diversity and inclusion is the exact opposite of what the KKK stands for, but if you insist. Imagine being mad at children getting exposed to the beautiful differences that this world has to offer. Perhaps if they had guns, Loesch wouldn't be so upset.
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