American cartoonist Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants children's novel series, decided to withdraw a 2010 spin-off titled The Adventures of Ook and Gluk that he said perpetuates passive racism, the Guardian reported on Monday. Scholastic publishing reported it would take The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future off the shelves in a move fully backed by Pilkey himself. In the book, two cavemen, one black and the other white, master Kung-Fu from a Chinese master of the martial art.The publishing house expressed regret over this “serious mistake." The Ook and Gluk book was a best-seller when it was first released. In it, Ook marries the daughter of Kung Fu Master Wong. Yet Billy Jim, a Korean-American father of two, complained about the book and how Wong is painted and depicted in it. In an online petition he claimed his children, Ages 5 and 7, love the works by Pilkey and expressed his dismay over Wong being rescued by his own students who use Kung-Fu skills he himself taught them. Pilkey apologized in person to Mr. Jim and said he would donate the profits from the book to various groups meant to advance Asian-Americans and diversity in publishing.
Pilkey said he had “intended to showcase diversity, equality and nonviolent conflict resolution...But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people.”The report follows the decision by the estate of Dr. Seuss to pull off the shelves six books by the author for allegedly containing racist imagery and a growing critical stand now being taken towards popular culture produced decades earlier. The creators of the Simpsons announced they will no longer ask voice actor Hank Azaria to “speak” as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon following complaints the much-liked character is offensive to Indian-Americans due to his pronounced accent. The character is usually depicted in a positive light, yet some Indian and Pakistani-Americans reported they found the cartoon offensive.