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Pet Sins October 2000

Street Sharks

Street Sharks is a cartoon series about 4 European American brothers who get transformed into sharks by evil scientist Dr Paranoid. The father of the brothers is a colleague of Dr Paranoid at the university. Dr Paranoid offs the father and then ensnares the white boys for his gene-slamming experiment.

Dr Paranoid's research student, Lina, is one of those rare black women in American animation. Lina is not party to the evil activities of her thesis adviser, and assists the shark brothers.

Street Sharks also briefly featured another black character, a friend of the brothers, who gets transformed into a killer whale. Black characters, male or female, are all too few in American cartoons, and even if they are present, they are reduced to tokens. Fortunately Street Shark's black characters do have some personality.

Black children have too often been excluded from Saturday morning cartoons. Children tend to identify with cartoon characters which look most like them, and that has been something black children have had little opportunity to do.