Racial Issues in Disney's Dumbo

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Racial Issues of Walt Disney’s Dumbo: An Analysis of Music’s Influence on Racial Thinking in Disney Film The Classic Animated American Film, Dumbo, preceded Walt Disney’s first Animated Feature Length films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Pinocchio. Dumbo also arrived right before the American Animated classic Bambi. These films were undoubtedly made during a time of extreme racial oppression in the United States (the country where Walt Disney films were originally set to be consumed). It would come to no surprise that these films, though filmed primarily for children entertainment, would not only exhibit problematic racial stereotyping, but also would perpetuate systematic and institutional racism in the…show more content…
Since the leader of the flock is played by a white voice actor, the dialect of the crows would exactly mimic Minstrelsy. Without a doubt, these crows represent these characterizations among animal characters and in the Richard Crawford’s writing on minstrel shows of the American past he states, “… the mask enabled white stage minstrels to amuse audiences by imitating characteristic black ways of talking, moving, dancing, laughing, singing, and playing music instruments” (Crawford 198). This scene maintains Minstrelsy by using the crows as an animated-animalized blackface and further perpetuates the idea that the crows are, in fact, exhibiting minstrelsy. Since stereotypical black speech movement, dancing, laughing, singing, and musicianship all play a huge role in the making of this scene, then it would be right to say that minstrelsy was the goal of Walt Disney productions in the making of Dumbo in 1941. Overall, the purpose of this scene is to show that Dumbo has ended up in the black neighborhood and faces complete humiliation by a minority group. Much can be said about these racial issues, but most importantly, there is a question of how viewers of the film understand the relationship between Dumbo with his conscience-like character versus the stereotypical 1940s negro-like crow characters. My answer to this question would be found in a different view of
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