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In Global culture, rabbits represented fertility and abundance. The West Africans, Irish, Chinese and Pawnee tribe believed rabbits could communicate with the spirit world, while the Navajo tribe associated rabbits with rain and abundance. In Chinese culture, rabbits symbolized longevity, fertility, and good the Middle East, hares were considered auspicious animals, believed to protect women from demons during their time of the month. describes African trickster entities as beings with incredible transformative powers, bridging the sacred with the common. Tricksters employ their mischief skills to help others, foil someone’s plans, or achieve their own ends. Although the most famous African trickster is Anansi the Spider, originally from Ashanti folklore his equally intelligent but comically tragic soul brother the often insulting and mischievous antagonist of the foolish is Brother Rabbit.

Meanwhile, trickster lagomorphs appear in folklore from all over Africa. In Zambian legends, the antics of Kalulu the rabbit are annoying and helpful by turns. One story shows Lion, the reigning forest ruler, ordering that all old and sickly animals be put to death. While Lion intended to reserve food and space for younger and stronger beings, the elder rabbit Kalulu hid in a cave to avoid the slaughter. When Snake crawls into Lion’s throat and refuses to leave, Kalulu comes to the feline’s aid. With a contrived ritual and a freshly captured mouse, he lures Snake out. When Lion asks Kalulu how to reward him, the rabbit simply requests that elderly and infirm animals be spared execution.


Trickster rabbits also exist in American Indigenous cultures. Nanabozho is one example, originally from the tales of Anishinaabe civilizations such as the Algonquin, Cree, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe. Nanabozho is a life-giving person and force, with various stories crediting this entity with reshaping a post-diluvian world and crafting rainbows.

Like many tricksters, Nanabozho can shapeshift and change genders. Some sources, including the Canadian Encyclopedia, refer to this entity with both masculine and feminine pronouns. One of Nanabozho’s alternate forms is Mishaabooz, also referred to as Manabush the Great Rabbit. One Menominee story describes how day and night came to be. To determine whether day or night would prevail, Manabush repeatedly shouted “light, light” while Owl shouted, “night, night.” When Owl mistakenly shouted “light,” he lost the contest. Out of fairness to nocturnal creatures, Manabush decided to split the hours equally into day and night.


African trickster rabbit tales eventually came to the Americas in new forms. Elements of Brer Rabbit’s stories share similarities with Anansi’s fables, but the National Humanities Center explains that Brer Rabbit came to life within African American folklore in the Deep South. Since slaves were not permitted literacy, their oral traditions were key in transmitting these narratives. Brer Rabbit often bested his antagonists, reflecting how slaves endured oppression while fighting back in both subtle and overt ways. With the well-established history of folklore figures like Brer Rabbit and Kalulu, it’s not hard to see similarities in modern characters such as Bugs Bunny. One Redditor referred to him as a “Karmic Trickster,” who TV Tropes describes as “specializes in unstuffing stuffed shirts, deflating puffed-up egos, trivializing the self-important, and confusing know-it-alls.” The entry later states that Bugs was partially based on Brer Rabbit. That’s no surprise, given Bugs’ penchant for outsmarting everyone from Elmer Fudd to Daffy Duck.


Our ancestors studied the world around them, including animal behaviors, to learn important lessons. Like their real-life counterparts, trickster rabbits display cunning, wit, and swift speed. Such valuable qualities can outsmart enemies, achieve noble ends, and thwart oppression. Even in the 21st century, we can gain inspiration from these tales to cope with minor troubles, unexpected struggles, or even unjust conditions.

Watership Down has never been nationally banned in the United States. However, it has been banned by individual schools because of its violent content. Even though it is a novel about rabbits, it addresses dark topics like suicide, prejudice, and genocide and is very culturally similar in terms of social justice within common popular “Black” social commentary and consciousness. Watership Down symbolizes the struggle to build a just society in a world where leaders all too often value their own power and egos over the safety and happiness of their followers. Like Black history in America to put it simply, Watership Down is dark. And unlike a lot of media aimed at children, it does not shy away from dramatic or grim imagery in order to tell its story. The most common example is the violence; indeed, the film is very violent. Nature is violent, and death permeates every aspect of it.


In Watership Down the Black rabbit comes to guide fallen rabbits to the afterlife. This mythical creature appears in folklore, books, even movies around the world. In some countries the Black Rabbit is a sign of good luck, in others it a symbol of passing into the afterlife.

Brer Rabbit, trickster figure originating in African folklore and transmitted by African slaves to the New World, where it acquired attributes of similar native American tricksters (see trickster tale); Brer, or Brother, Rabbit was popularized in the United States in the stories of Joel Chandler Harris (1848–1908).Harris was hired in March 1862 at age sixteen as a printing compositor for Joseph Addison Turner, the owner of 1,000-acre Turnwold Plantation.

Harris also had full access to Turnwold’s slave quarters and to the kitchen, where he listened to African American animal stories told by Uncle George Terrell, Old Harbert, and Aunt Crissy. These enslaved people were the source for his stories and the characters of Uncle Remus, Aunt Tempy, and other figures in the African American animal tales that made him famous. Harris began writing a decade later. Harris’s fictionalized autobiography, On the Plantation (1892), chronicles the influence (and theft of African American stories) of the Turnwold years on his development.

Years later as a writer in Atlanta an article Harris read on African American folklore in Lippincott’s, which included a transcribed story of “Buh Rabbit and the Tar Baby,” reminded him of the Brer Rabbit trickster stories he had heard from the enslaved people at Turnwold Plantation. His fictionalized Uncle Remus character (a literary blackface) now began to tell old plantation folktales, back-home aphorisms, and African American folk songs, and newspapers around the country eagerly reprinted his rural legends and sayings.

Before long, Harris had composed enough material for a book. Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings—The Folklore of the Old Plantation was published by Appleton in November 1880. Within four months it had sold 10,000 copies and was quickly reprinted. He termed himself: a prolific, committed, and ambitious “re-creator” (restorer or reviver,restoration is the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. ) of folk stories. Harris eventually wrote 185 of the tales.

Critic German-American H.L. Mencken who held an extremely low assessment of whites in the South held a less than favorable view of Harris:

“Once upon a time a Georgian printed a couple of books that attracted notice, but immediately it turned out that he was little more than an amanuensis for the local blacks—that his works were really the products, not of white Georgia, but of black Georgia. Writing afterward as a white man, he swiftly subsided into the fifth rank.” H.L. Mencken

Beatrix Potter illustrated eight scenes from the Uncle Remus stories between 1893 and 1896, coinciding with her first drawings of Peter Rabbit. Her tales owe a debt to the Brer Rabbit stories told by enslaved Africans working on American plantations that needs to be fully acknowledged. Potter's family had favored the Uncle Remus stories during her youth, and she was particularly impressed by the way Harris turned "the ordinary into the extraordinary." Potter borrowed some of the language from the Uncle Remus stories, adopting the words: "cottontail", "puddle-duck", and "lippity-(c)lippity" into her own work.

Coonskin is a 1975 American live-action/animated satirical crime film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film references the Uncle Remus folk tales,and satirizes the blaxploitation film genre as well as Disney's racially controversial film Song of the South, also adapted from the Uncle Remus folk tales.The film's narrative concerns three anthropomorphic Uncle Remus characters, Br'er Rabbit (referred to as Brother Rabbit), Br'er Fox (referred to as Preacher Fox), and Br'er Bear (referred to as Brother Bear). They rise to the top of the organized crime racket in Harlem, encountering corrupt law enforcement, con artists, and the Mafia, in a satire of both racism within the Hollywood film system, and America itself. The film stars Philip Thomas, Charles Gordone, Barry White, and Scatman Crothers, all appear in both live-action and animated sequences.

The word 'bug' 40's slang meaning crazy actually is short for Bugbear. (Bugs as a nickname is sometimes found as Bugaboo an annoying person).Jigaboo was a derivative of Bugaboo and was an insulting name for a black person, circa 1909,), Bugaboo had been applied insultingly to persons (regardless of race) since late 1500s "something to frighten a child, fancied object of terror," 1843, earlier buggybow (1740), an aliteration of bugbear (also see bug (n.)), but connected by Chapman ["Dictionary of American Slang"] with Bugibu, demon in the Old French poem "Aliscans"(compare Cornish bucca-boo, from bucca "bogle, goblin").

In opposition to the Coonskin character Brother Rabbit (Brer Rabbit) in “Bugs” Bunny we find the etymology of the name Bugs is rooted in European Middle English word probably connected with Scottish bogill "goblin, bugbear," or obsolete Welsh bwg "ghost, goblin" (compare Welsh bwgwl "threat," earlier "fear," Middle Irish bocanách "supernatural being"). But it comes full circle again toward race and class as these words are from a root meaning "goat" (buck) The meaning Buck "a man" is from c. 1300 (Old Norse bokki also was used in this sense). Especially "fashionable man" (1725); also used of a male Native American (c. 1800) or Negro (1835).

This also is perhaps the sense in army slang buck private "private of the lowest class" (1870s). So Bugs represents the nonsensical lower class racially amorphous signifying “buck” Rabbit! Note: male rabbits are called Bucks and females Doe’s! Signifying as a personality trait in African American usage means one who exchanges boasts or insults as a game or ritual. Example of usage: "I wasn't signifying at her"

Bugs Bunny first appeared in the 1940 Tex Avery short, A Wild Hare, but his anthropomorphic rabbit character was developed in other shorts during the 1930s where he was used as a comic foil that propagated racial stereotypes as a central theme in the character's animated humor. From blackface to monkey faces,minstrel shows and Geisha jokes! The Looney tunes and Merrie Melodies utilized in these cartoons was mostly music from writers like Stephen Foster that evoked subconscious images of slavery, minstrelsy and the antebellum south. Musicologist Joanna Smolko in a report for University of Illinois press states “Stephen Foster’s Music … in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies is used as unsettling symbols to evoke race and place.”


Rabbit and Hare myths abound among Algonquin Indians in Eastern North America, particularly under the name Nanabozho. Notable members of the Algonquian cultural/linguistic group are Mississauga, Ojibwe, Cree, Abenaki, Micmac, Malecite, Montagnais, and the Blackfoot, among others. The Blackfoot tribe is a group of northern Great Plains Native Americans made up of three sub-tribes that spoke the Algonquian language. Rabbit characters are frequently found in Native History especially among those darker skinned native Americans who came in the first migrations of natives up from the south 50 to 30 thousand years ago before the mongoloid tribes crossed the Bering Strait down from the north approximately 16,500-12 thousand years ago. There was of course trade and mixing extensively across the America's before the arrival of the Europeans.


(Note: Black Indians are Native American people – defined as Native American due to being affiliated with Native American communities and being culturally and ofttimes genetically Native)

African American:(Br'er Rabbit, Brother Rabbit)

Atlantic Creole:(Rabbit character was known as Compair Lapin in Creole.)

Black Seminoles:(Most Black Seminoles came from Gullah and Creek the main character in the Gullah tales is Brer Rabbit!)

Louisiana Creole:(Lapin (“rabbit” in Louisiana French and Creole) is the most renowned of the animal tricksters in this repertoire and often plays tricks on Bouki, whose name is derived from the Wolof word for “hyena.” Such tales highlight strong West African and Caribbean influences)

Brass Ankles/Red Legs: The Brass Ankles of South Carolina, also referred to as Red Legs or Croatan, lived in the swamp areas of Goose Creek, South Carolina. The Brass Ankles of South Carolina are believed to come from intermarried runaway African slaves, white indentured servants and Native Americans called Melange or melungeons meaning mixed they have stories based in swamps with characters of the native names Pamunkey, Chicka- hominy! Many were were persecuted and murdered by the Scots Irish who wanted their land, so they had to head to the hills of Appalachia, where the Cherokee took them in they tell the story of Rabbit and the Possum Takes a Wife that coined the phrase playing possum!

Chestnut Ridge people. The Chestnut Ridge people are a mixed-race of black, native, and white community concentrated in an area northeast of Philippi, Barbour County in north-central West Virginia A lot of their legends are formed by association with Eastern Creek nations and African swamp culture as those of African descent were able to survive in the swamps without getting malaria. Perhaps the most important idea developed in this work is the existence of at least two distinct mythological and cosmological traditions among the Creeks, which can be thought of as an

“Eastern Creek Tradition” and a “Western Creek Tradition,” the latter consisting of the Muskogee, the Alabama, the trickster rabbit at a hand in the world's creation and the Koasati and the former of the Yuchi, the Hitchiti, and probably the Tuskegee. The trickster had different names dependent on tribe:Jistu, the Trickster Rabbit (Jisdu, Chisdu, Chufi, Cufe, Chokfi)

Indigenous Plains peoples of the Americas. Rabbit or Hare is the trickster figure in the Southeast, and Spider is in the northern plains. Meanwhile,rabbits are used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Rabbit Clans include the Hopi (whose Rabbit Clan is named Tapngyam or Taf-wungwa) and the Shawnee. The Kiowa tribe also had a Rabbit Society (called Kasowe) as one of their four ceremonial societies, whose members were all children and young teens. And the Rabbit Dance is one of the important social dances for the Native American tribes of the Northeast Woodlands and Northern Plains, which can be seen at some intertribal powwows today.

Miskito Sambu. The Miskito share folktales called kisi for entertainment. Kisi often include tales of a trickster rabbit named Tibang or Bangbang

In Celtic folklore the hare is linked to the mysterious Otherworld. The Mountain Hare is native to Scotland and the Irish Hare is native to Ireland, though brown hares were introduced by the Romans. Scientists date Irish Hare fossils in Ireland to 28,000 BC.

What the Black Rabbit represents in African spirituality. To society as a whole, fear is not an acceptable response when it comes to Black people. Black people fight because we’re “violent.” “Look at their history!” they will say. “Look at the crime in their communities,” They incorrectly use as an example. Black people don’t get scared—white supremacy teaches. “Black people are the aggressors,” their racism has allowed them to believe this. Because it’s easy to shoot or strangle a “violent” person to death when you pretend that their genuine fear doesn’t exist.

The Black Rabbit of African mythology is the symbolic point when given the choice of inevitable death you choose to fight regardless of the consequences to win even if it means your death to choose not to go into the veil alone but with your aggressor in tow.


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