The youngsters’s cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants has been accused of normalising the “violent” and “racist” colonisation of indigenous lands.
The well-liked present, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this yr, has been criticised in a report by Professor Holly M Barker from the University of Washington.
She wrote: “SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends play a role in normalising the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland.”
The well-liked Nickelodeon present follows the affable sea sponge, who lives in a pineapple beneath the ocean, as he goes about his life in Bikini Bottom.
Professor Barker believes the underwater metropolis is a reference to the real-life Bikini Atoll within the Marshall Islands within the Pacific Ocean.
Natives have been relocated from the atoll so the US army might use the world for nuclear testing in the course of the Cold War.
This has given rise to fan theories that the cartoon inhabitants of Bikini Bottom owe their mutation to the testing.
Professor Barker says in her report, known as Unsettling SpongeBob And The Legacies Of Violence On Bikini Bottom, that the cartoon is responsible of the “whitewashing of violent American military activities”.
In the article, seen in full by Fox News, the professor continues: “SpongeBob’s presence on Bikini Bottom continues the violent and racist expulsion of indigenous peoples from their lands (and in this case their cosmos) that enables US hegemonic powers to extend their military and colonial interests in the postwar era.”
Professor Barker additionally accuses the present of the cultural appropriation of indigenous Pacific folks, with some characters sporting Hawaiian shirts, whereas others stay in houses within the form of pineapples and Easter Island heads.
The academic acknowledges that the writers possible did not have colonisation in thoughts when creating the collection, however added she was upset by the dearth of acknowledgement that “Bikini Bottom and Bikini Atoll were not [the writers’] for the taking”.
Professor Barker provides that SpongeBob SquarePants might trigger youngsters to “become culturally acculturated to an ideology that includes the US character SpongeBob residing on another people’s homeland”.
The article ends with: “We should be uncomfortable with a hamburger-loving American community’s occupation of Bikini’s lagoon and the ways that it erodes every aspect of sovereignty.”
The report was revealed in a journal known as The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal Of Island Affairs, and is designed to publish items on “social, economic, political, ecological and cultural topics”.