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VPAB07 Racism in Disney
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  • 1. Question
    What was/is your favourite Disney movie?
  • 2. Video on how “Family Guy” sees “the magical world of Disney”
  • 3. Agenda
    Jungle Book
    Song of the South
    Peter Pan
    Affects/ Conclusion
    Relating to the reading throughout
  • 4. “The Gospel According to Disney”Mark I. Pinsky
    “There is nothing innocent in what kids learn about race as portrayed in the ‘magical world’ of Disney…. The racism in these films is defined by the presence of racist representations and the absence of complex representations of African Americans and other people of colour.”
    (Henry A. Giroux in Mark Pinsky’s “The Gospel According to Disney, 2004: x)
  • 5. Dumbo1940
    “clear message of tolerance and acceptance for children… delivering children with equal respect to expectant parents of diverse nationalities, classes, and species”
    (Pinsky’s, 2004: 40)
  • 6. When examining this movie with a critical eye, this statement falls apart:
    Making fun of differences
    Featureless men of colour
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsMXRB23ArI 2:42
    "We work all day, We work all night, We never learned to read or write; We work all night, we work all day; And can't wait to spend our pay away."” (Dumbo, 1940)
    Jim Crow and the crows
    “When I see an elephant fly”… ‘brotha’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH4gumw8AsQ
    Sexist (heroes are male, victims are gossipy females)
    It is evident that this movie was made at a time when human rights and equity largely excluded people of colour. Much like is represented in Ames’ and Shelton’s essays, this movie represents the social values of the time period, and of the dominant class that consisted of mostly of whites.
  • 7. Jungle Book1953
    “racist notion that Europeans and North Americans had the obligation to colonize and ‘civilize’ darker people around the world” (Rudyard Kipling in Pinsky, 2004: 88)
    Rony: the feeling of ‘obligation’ to help to ‘redeem’ oneself- Colonial guilt
    Primitive, almost sad looking houses on the end of the jungle
    Mowgli: brown with slight Asian features
    Proper British Elephants vs. ‘Jive’ Bears & Monkeys
    Baloo: scat-singing bear shown in a primitive cultural
  • 8. The parading elephants = superior military power
    “stamp and crush through the underbrush” = West’s attempts to create cultural homogeneity during the age of colonialism.
    King Louie and the other monkeys have a language all their own….difficult to take seriously.
    King Louie and his cronies represent, as visible through their speech and movement, what must have been thought of as a stereotypical man of colour.
    There is no doubt that this movie fell victim to the cultural beliefs at the time, and the varying cultures involved are no doubt misrepresented.
    In essence, The Jungle Book is an excellent example of themes discussed by Ames, Shelton and Karp and Kratz, the use of art as a sort of cultural propaganda to display superiority and values of the dominating culture, in this case, America and Britain.
  • 9. Aladdin 1992
    Opening Song: “Arabian Nights”
    Oh I come from a land,
    from a faraway place
    Where the caravan camels roam
    Where they cut off your ear
    If they don’t like your face;
    its barbaric, but hey,
    it's home
  • 10. "In no way would we ever do something that would be insensitive to anyone"
    - Dick Cook,
    Vice President of Distribution for Disney
    at the time of Aladdin’s release
    (Cited in Pinksy; 2004, 149)
  • 11. Opening Song: “Arabian Nights”(revised for video and DVD)
    Oh I come from a land,
    from a faraway placeWhere the caravan camels roam
    It's flat and immense
    and the heat is intense;
    its barbaric, but hey,
    it's home
  • 12. Worker’s Song: “All Night”
    We work all day, we work all night
    We never learned to read or write...
    When other folks have gone to bed
    We slave until we’re almost dead
  • 13. Heroes vs. Villains
  • 14. Representation of the “other”
    Arab names are mispronounced
    "racial coding of the accents"
    scrawls instead of the Arabic language
    use of the Arabic word for God in exclamation
    interpretation of Islam's ShariaLaw
    (Pinksy, 150)
  • 15. Moral of the Story in Aladdin
    "I have to stop pretending I'm
    something I'm not.“
    - Aladdin
    “I’m not a prize to be won.”
    - Princess Jasmine
    (Cited in Pinksy, 150)
  • 16. Song of the South1946
    American Value System
    Who tells the story? Who’s views get represented? Idyllic master-slave relationship: southern blacks being happy under white domination. This is a form of colonial guilt as well as attempting to minimalize one of America’s most vicious and vulgar offences. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds1YF3x0oL4
    Even though people argue that the movie is not racist, it has still never released on video because of the racial controversy.
    Reinforcing images of Remus being Docile/ child-like... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVBjlFv8ooE
  • 17. Clothes?
  • 18. Stereotypes
    Exaggerated examples of what a poor black man (and the rest of the black cast) would have spoken like/ improper grammar: dialogue is full of “ain’tnevers,” “ain’tnobodys,” “you tells,” and “demdayses.”
    Uncle Remus was made to look darker then he is by;
    Using darker lighting in certain scenes
    Using shoe polish to darken his face. Although there is nothing wrong with being dark-skinned, this is a staple used in Minstrel shows.
  • 19. Environment then vs. Now
    40’s: Black cast members were not able to attend the Oscar Award Shows (even though James Baskett won an Oscar for his portrayal of Uncle Remus)
  • 20. Environment then vs. Now
    40’s: Slavery was done, but colonialisms effect was still present in society
    40’s: 1930’s Walt Disney attended Nazi Party of America meetings
    40’s: Even early in the film's production, there was concern that the material would encounter controversy. As the writing of the screenplay was getting under way, Disney publicist Vern Caldwell wrote to producer Perce Pearce that "The negro situation is a dangerous one. Between the negro haters and the negro lovers there are many chances to run afoul of situations that could run the gamut all the way from the nasty to the controversial”.
    40’s: When the film was first released, the NAACP acknowledged "the remarkable artistic merit" of the film, but decried the "impression it gives of an idyllic master-slave relationship.
    Present: The original audience has the opportunity to understand the stereotypes behind the work- the children now don’t.
    Present: Walt Disney or any representatives from Disney have never apologized for the blatant racism in this production. Even though they know its wrong-because they refuse to release it- they are not ready to admit this publically.
  • 21. The AristoCats1970
    Class distinction
    The values being taught to children
  • 22. Class Distinction
    Relates to Tony Bennet’s notion on museums.
    Museums are the road which will lead society to a higher state of existence (Bennet 17).
    Museums were used as instruments for cultural governance; being in the same space with the bourgeois society, the working class would be able to learn from them and become civil. (Bennet 24)
  • 23. “We were just practicing biting and clawing” says Berlioz.
    “Aristocats do not practice biting and clawing, thats just horrible!” replies Duchess.
    “But some day, we might meet a tough alley cat, AMRawrMRRmffff!” says Toulouse
    The Kittens proceed to paint and play music as a form of self improvement.
  • 24. The Bourgeois society, represented by the Duchess, is portrayed as civil and cultured.
    Alley cats portrayed as wild and unruly through Toulouse.
    This class distinction is shown throughout the film; the Ally Cats are very alien to the Duchess.
  • 25. Racism in the film
    Through short scenes, one can tell the race of each cat.
    Scat Cat and his band each portray a different race. Can you tell which they are portraying?
  • 26. Scat Cat – portraying black person
    Cat with purple glasses – English
    Cat with bandana and curved moustache – Spanish
    Big intimidating cat – Russian
    Siamese Cat – Chinese
  • 27. Siamese Cat – Chinese
    Racism shown more through the Siamese cat.
    Has slanted eyes, buck teeth, and uses the high top as what looks to be a traditional Chinese farming hat.
    Replaces his L’s with R’s
    Plays the piano using chopsticks and sings “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Fu Young, Fortune Cookie always wrong.”
  • 28. Effects on Children
    Children growing up with certain view points on the identity of different cultures.
    Simplified identities allow children to categorize each culture using certain features. Example. All Chinese people have buck teeth.
    Growing up, children accept this as the norm and the natural. Too young to question what they see.
  • 29. Peter Pan1953
    Throughout various movies there have been many scenes where Aboriginals/Native Americans are portrayed in such a manner where much of their culture and traditions are misunderstood in representation from the early 1950’s to more recent movies in Disney.
    What Makes the Red Man Red?
  • 30. Peter Pan: Why is the Red Man Red?
    Why does he ask you, "How?"
    Why does he ask you, "How?"
    Once the Injun didn't know
    All the things that he know now
    But the Injun, he sure learn a lot
    And it's all from asking, "How?"
    We translate for you
    Hana means what mana means
    And ganda means that too
    When did he first say, "Ugh!"
    When did he first say, "Ugh!"
    In the Injun book it say
    When the first brave married squaw
    He gave out with a big ugh
    When he saw his Mother-in-Law
    What made the red man red?
    What made the red man red?
    Let's go back a million years
    To the very first Injun prince
    He kissed a maid and start to blush
    And we've all been blushin' since
    You've got it from the headman
    The real true story of the red man
    No matter what's been written or said
    Now you know why the red man's red!
  • 31. Pocahontas1995
    “Disney had been riding a tidal wave of three immensely popular films. "The Little Mermaid" (1990), "Aladdin" (1992) and "The Lion King" (1994) grossed a combined $600-plus million at the box office” (Corbett)
    “The movie raked in more than $150 million” (Corbett)
  • 32. The Truth of Pocahontas Vs. Disney
    Pocahontas’s real name was Matoaka
    "Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child".
    First time the story of John Smith being saved by was told 17 years after it has happened
    The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in 1607 - she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time.
    The truth is that Smith's fellow colonists described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.
    Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan's people, he never mentioned such an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a friendly fashion as an honoured guest.
  • 33. Truth vs. Disney
  • 34. Small Encounter with a so-called Savage
    Savages Vs. Savages
    Time 6:30 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA6z5tZVMeM&feature=related
    Pocahontas: Savages
    What can you expectFrom filthy little heathens?Their whole disgusting race is like a curseTheir skin's a hellish redThey're only good when deadThey're vermin, as I said And worse.They're savages! Savages!Barely even human. Savages! Savages!Drive them from our shore!They're not like you and meWhich means they must be evil.We must sound the drums of war!
  • 35. The Affects
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CWMCt35oFY&feature=related 0:47 to 1:16
    Fantasy & the American Value System
    Each classic Disney film taught a main moral
    The overall message: with hard work and virtue, you can achieve your goals
    Magic as the deux ex machina
    (Pinksy, 2-6)
  • 36. "Disney has wrapped up and sold America what people wanted to hear, which was 'Give us the upside of religion, without the obligation of religion.’"
    - Phil Vischer,
    Co-founder of cartoon series Veggie Tales
    (Cited in Pinksy, 10)
  • 37. "It's a marvelous picture, but with all the good intentions, it's still a racist picture. I don't want my child to grow up with any self-hating sentiments."
    - Donald Bustany,
    President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee
    (Cited in Pinksy, 150)
  • 38. “There is no excuse for racism in any form because, even when slavery was legal, there were abolitionists, providing that compassion is crucial regardless of time and place. Just because propaganda was more common during certain periods in time, doesn’t make it any more justified.”
    Racism in Cartoons, Hidden by Censorship
    Page 3
  • 39. Disney’s New Movie Princess and The Frog
  • 40. With Disney's new movie, Princess and the Frog, do you think there will be any racial stereotypes?
    What kind of negative effects do you think the racial stereotypes in Disney’s movies could have on the children who watch them?
    Do you think its Disney’s job to regulate their movies?