When Two ‘Little Rascals’ Crossed the Color Line

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What It Means to Be American


When I was a kid, I used to watch episodes of The Little Rascals on TV in our living room in Los Angeles. My parents were Korean immigrants who had moved to the city in the 1970s, the first in a wave of Korean immigrants who would transform the city’s racial makeup. I had no idea the series had been filmed 50 years earlier, that most of the stars were dead, and that it was once unusual for black and white kids to play together. By watching The Little Rascals, I was introduced to a powerful fantasy of America as racial utopia: Here was a group of kids of vastly different backgrounds who somehow managed to get along.