Racism in Disney Movies Essay

5488 Words22 Pages
Anastasia Trus
WRTG 3020
Professor Pat Sullivan
30 March 2010 Racism in Disney During the last several decades, the media has become a strong agent in directing and controlling social beliefs and behaviors. Children, by nature, can be particularly susceptible to the influencing powers of the media, opening an avenue where media created especially for children can indoctrinate entire generations. Disney movies, like all other media “are powerful vehicles for certain notions about our culture,” such as racism. (Giroux 32). Racist scenes in Disney movies are often identified as simply being “symbols of the time” when the films were produced. Furthermore, Disney racism is often passed over as simple humor, or as a simple guide to
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Her troubling presence was simply cropped out of the movie even though you can still see the Aryans she used to pamper. Eliminating Sunflower from the movie may have been intended as harmless and as an attempt to be politically correct; however, it is cinematic decisions such as this that contributed to Disney’s reputation of being insensitive to issues of race. It was insulting enough for Disney to include the smiling servant stereotype to begin with, but to make matters worse, they started denying Sunflower's existence with the Fantasia re-release in 1960. How does that possibly make things better? A few angered African American communities said, "No, you misunderstand. In our perfect, Fantasia world, Africans aren't servants. They don't fucking exist” (Weinman 64). A contemporary film critic said, "What's fun though is that Disney says they never had such a character! We're all delusional” (Brunette 123). Maybe it was "acceptable" in the past to portray characters that had such blatant racist features; nevertheless, it is strange to deny its existence to audiences who had already seen the original version. This is how we deal with our ugly past: we deny it, trivialize it, gloss over it with pretty distractions and wishful thinking. Doing so, we deny ourselves a glimpse of the compelling reality of naked history. The well-meaning rush to unmake evil deeds by hiding them from the critical eye of modern sensibilities does nothing to honor the people
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