As our culture changes, we often find ourselves looking back into history with a bit of embarrassment. There are beliefs and ideals in our past, both distant and not-so-distant, that don’t exactly comport with our modern view of the world.
Disney, as an enormous corporation whose business exists almost entirely within the realm of pop culture, has taken a fairly proactive stance in this regard, but some of the decisions being made are proving to be a bit controversial.
DISNEY+ has stripped its children’s movie selection of classic movies like Dumbo, The Aristocats, and Peter Pan because of their “racist” stereotypes.
Settings on the streaming site’s app will deter children from watching the once-loved, now controversial, titles.
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Disney explained their decisions on their website.
For Dumbo they explained that “the crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations.
“The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.”
And for Peter Pan they stated that “the film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions.
“It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as ‘redskins,’ an offensive term.
“Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes.”
Meanwhile, for the beloved Aristocats, they said: “The Siamese cat Shun Gon is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth.
The Disney decision comes as a national debate over individual responsibility continues to rage, with many Americans being of the belief that these stereotypes, while offensive in the modern era, provide important, teachable moments for parents hoping to educate their children on the history of such controversies.
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