|The Boondocks character|
Ruckus as he appears in the television series
|First appearance||"The Garden Party"|
|Portrayed by||Gary Anthony Williams|
|Occupation||Many jobs in each episode|
|Relatives||Mister Ruckus † (father)|
Bunny Ruckus (mother)
Darrel Ruckus (brother)
Darryl Ruckus (brother)
Nellie Ruckus (grandmother)
Uncle Ruckus (also known as Uncle Ruckus, no relation) is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the American animated sitcom The Boondocks. He is voiced by Gary Anthony Williams and first appeared on television in the show's pilot "The Garden Party" on November 6, 2005. Ruckus was created and designed by cartoonist Aaron McGruder, and enjoyed great success after appearing in the comic strip of the same name.
Ruckus had a turbulent childhood, raised under the abusive guise of Mister Ruckus. After being kicked out of home as a teenager, he traveled to Woodcrest, where he works several odd jobs. Ruckus embodies many old-American working class stereotypes: he is crude, hot-tempered, obese, rule-neglecting, clumsy, ignorant, and idiotic. He is also greatly internally racist, repeatedly proclaiming his love for the white race, and even identifies as Caucasian, saying he suffers from "re-vitligo".
Despite this, Ruckus maintains a close relationship with Robert Freeman, and yearns for social acceptance. Despite the blue-collar routine of his life, he has had a number of remarkable experiences, including acting as a recording artist.
Upon his debut, Ruckus is widely considered to be one of the show's best characters, with consistent praise directed towards his humor, wit, and ingenuity.
Ruckus is repellent in appearance, behavior and attitude. He has an intense hatred of anything pertaining to African Americans and goes out of his way to distance himself from blacks. Ruckus claims God says the path to forgiveness for being black is to rebuke your own race. He has a glass eye from the beatings he received by his father, though his eyes are portrayed as always having been mismatched.
In the decade of the 2000s, Ruckus champions the small traces of Irish ancestry he claims to have (though a first DNA test showed he was "102% African" with a 2% margin of error—later in that episode, due to BET's deliberate tampering with the results, it states that he is 50.07% white/Caucasian to cheer him up) and wishes that all black people were still enslaved or never existed at all.
He prattles white supremacist rhetoric and calls Michael Jackson (who suffered from the pigmentational skin changing disorder vitiligo) a "lucky bastard" as he no longer looks black. Ruckus claims that he himself has "re-vitiligo", to explain his own skin tone. According to a flashback scene, in his early 20s (20 years old in 1959) he protested against Martin Luther King Jr.'s marches during the civil rights movement and would occasionally throw bricks at King, but he usually missed.
Another flashback scene shows Ruckus serving on a jury in 1957 (making him a minimum of 70 circa 2009, although this flashback does not match with the show's continuity) in Tennessee that helped convict a blind black man of killing three white girls. In spite of being blind, the African American man supposedly shot the three with a Winchester rifle from about 50 yards away. Ruckus is the only black person on the otherwise all white jury, in what is a Jim Crow courtroom. During his first encounter with the Freeman family, Ruckus sings "Don't Trust Them New Niggas Over There" in the pilot episode, though he socializes freely with the Freemans thereafter. He is a member of the KKK or as Huey calls them "white assholes".
Although he had a terrible father, the main cause for his personality and view of the world is due to his mother's rather poor upbringing. Though his mother loved him most of all, she is an extremely deluded and damaged woman, who, despite a lifetime of abuse and poor decisions, is convinced that her whole life would have been better if she had just been born white.
- No I don't think we should use the word, and I'll tell ya why. Because niggas have gotten used to it, that's why. Hell, they like it now. It's like when you growin' crops and you strip the soil of its nutrients and goodness and then you can't grow nothin'. You gotta rotate your racist slurs. Now I know it's hard 'cause 'nigga' just rolls off the tongue the way sweat rolls off a nigga's forehead, but we can not let that be a crutch. Especially when there are so many fine substitutes: spade, porch monkey, jiggaboo. I say the next time you gonna call a darkie a nigga, you call that coon a jungle bunny instead.
Jobs and lifestyle
Ruckus worships white society and culture, the reason why he lives in Woodcrest. Ruckus claims to like the smell of white people, saying they smell like "lemon juice and Pledge furniture cleaner". Despite Woodcrest's newfound acceptance of different ethnicities, the neighborhood apparently has no quarrel with Uncle Ruckus' racist beliefs. Ruckus can be seen employed in a variety of places performing a number of blue-collar jobs.
At one point Ruckus joined the police force after turning down a 7-figure settlement after wrongfully being shot at 118 times, claiming that the officers "were simply doing their job." Even after he becomes an officer, they still beat him on the pretext that "He has a gun." As an officer, he promised to make every black man's life as miserable as he possibly could ("The Block is Hot"). Ruckus became an evangelist after dreaming of going to "White Heaven", preaching that black people must hate their blackness and love the white man to receive entrance into heaven ("The Passion of Reverend Ruckus").
The beginning of this episode is also one of the few moments throughout the series that Uncle Ruckus admits, or even suggests, that he is or might be black. The episodes starts with Ruckus knocking on Robert's front door with the news that he has been diagnosed with cancer. He proceeds to attempt to describe the specific type of cancer he has been diagnosed with in Latin, which is one made up for the show, but he fails to do so, stating: "[...] or some other big word my small negro brain and big lips can't pronounce." Although, he might have been using his "condition" to get some pity out of the Freeman family.
Ruckus has held a vast variety of jobs over the course of the series (car parking valet, police officer, maitre d', movie theater usher, exorcist and so on) and has appeared in many of its working establishments. In the banned episode "Uncle Ruckus' Reality Show", he claimed to work 32 jobs over the course of the week and wakes at 4:45 a.m every morning for work. It is also shortly after this hour that Ruckus applies a homemade topical ointment of "bleach and sulfur" in order to treat his self-diagnosed "re-vitiligo" as he "likes to think it works". He attributes this homemade ointment as preventing him from "getting any darker these past few years". Despite holding a self-proclaimed 32 jobs, Ruckus continues to live a less than modest life as shown by the dilapidated appearance of his home and truck.
Although nearly 70–80 years old and obese, Ruckus has been shown to be strong enough to pull a car door off its hinges with ease and is an advanced practitioner of martial arts and has shown himself to be Huey's equal on multiple occasions. His mastery with nunchaku surpasses even Huey's and he is capable of incredible acrobatics along with his martial skills. In the series' second season (first heard in "...Or Die Trying"), a sound-alike variation on the tuba piece "Jabba's Theme" (from Return of the Jedi) is used as a musical theme for Ruckus, drawing a parallel between the Star Wars character and the similarly repellent Ruckus.
In the episode "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", Ruckus records racist songs and sends them to his idol, Jimmy Rebel, a racist song writer who lives in Spokenhoke, Texax based on real singer/songwriter Johnny Rebel. Jimmy Rebel and R.R (Racist Records) loved the songs so much that Rebel headed on down to meet Ruckus. Discovering he is a black man, he puts that aside because he will spend the last two days with Toby (Ruckus' false identity he made up to talk with Rebel) and brings him to Spokenhoke to record songs with him.
So far, the only episode where Ruckus does not display any animosity toward blacks is in the episode "The Story of Gangstalicious Part 2".
In the episode "The Color Ruckus", it was revealed that Ruckus's mother told him he was adopted and had a white heritage. She explains to Ruckus this by inventing the disease re-vitiligo and telling him that it alone is the reason he is physically indistinguishable from a normal black person. In spite of this, his father harshly claims these explanations were lies meant to protect Ruckus' self-esteem, telling his son that he is "just another black nigga like the rest of us". Ruckus refuses to believe his father's words and his mother continues to lie about his heritage. Also in this episode, Ruckus reveals that he holds down 47 jobs at once.
- Robert Freeman
Robert Freeman is the closest thing to a friend that Uncle Ruckus has, though Robert rebukes Ruckus' racist notions. For example, a friendly match of checkers between them ended bitterly after Ruckus made supremacist remarks. Ruckus was supportive of Freeman during his training for a rematch with Col. Stinkmeaner and was the only one besides Riley who praised him when he won the fight (killing Stinkmeaner) in "Granddad's Fight".
Despite all this, Ruckus claims their friendship is a pretense ("The Trial of R. Kelly") and that he still sees him as a "nigga". In "The Real", Ruckus was also one of the "homeless people" that Robert was "housing", the other being Jazmine Dubois.
- Huey and Riley Freeman
Uncle Ruckus says in "...Or Die Trying" that he has despised Huey ever since the Freemans' arrival in Woodcrest. For Huey's part, he seems to ignore Uncle Ruckus' racist rantings, knowing that debating with the man will do little good. However, when Ruckus challenges him to a martial arts showdown (with the nunchaku he left in the theater bathroom), Huey fights him twice—first with a pushbroom handle as a staff, then later unarmed.
Neither fight is shown in its entirety. A battered Huey is seen sitting in the theater manager's office after the first one and the episode ends in a freeze-frame as the second one begins. Both fights appear to be references to Fist of the North Star. Ruckus often gets angry at Riley for being a hoodlum, which angers him and usually leads to a fight.
- Dubois family
Ruckus tolerates the Dubois, largely due to Sarah's presence (Sarah is white). He believes that Tom is lucky to have Sarah and that she is with him out of pity rather than love (even postulating at one point that she taught him how to read). He does not think much of Jazmine due to her half-black status, calling her a "mulatto" in a pejorative manner and a "little half and half". In a moment of relative kindness, he refers to her as a "nice little mixed-breed girl".
However, he does seem to hold her superior to a black child, stating once that she was supposed to be smarter than Riley. In a rare moment, he managed to single-handedly restore her faith in Christmas and in Santa Claus, effectively ending her crying and cheering her up ("A Huey Freeman Christmas").
McGruder has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of raising $200,000 in order to produce a film focusing on Ruckus. The funding period was January 30, 2013 till March 1, 2013 and obtained pledges of $129,963 dollars for a result of "Funding Unsuccessful". He stated that crowd-funding would be the sole source of funding for the film's budget. David Brothers of Comics Alliance expressed concern that a film about the character may not be effective as a racial comedy outside the context of The Boondocks.
- Cooper, Wilbert L. (February 25, 2013). "'The Boondocks' Creator Aaron McGruder Tells Us About 'The Uncle Ruckus Movie'". Vice.com. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
- McGruder, Aaron. "The Uncle Ruckus Movie". KickStarter. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- Obenson, Tambay A. (January 31, 2013). "Aaron McGruder Is Making A Live-Action Uncle Ruckus Movie. Launches Kickstarter Campaign". Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Brothers, David (February 1, 2013). "'The Boondocks' Creator Kickstarts Uncle Ruckus Film Based On TV's Funniest Racist". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.