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Disney prefers some older films, warning against racist stereotypes

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These are classic animated films like Dumbo (1941) and Peter Pan (1953), but on the Disneys streaming service, they’ll now get a bit of help to stand the test of time.

Before viewers watch some of those movies which have entertained generations of children, they will be warned about scenes that include negative portrayals and abuse of people or cultures.

The 12-second disclaimer, which cannot be ignored, tells viewers, in part: These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than removing this content, we want to recognize its damaging impact, learn from it, and spark conversation to together create a more inclusive future.

Besides Peter Pan and Dumbo, the warning plays on films such as The Aristocats (1970) and Aladdin (1992), and directs viewers to a website this explains some of the problematic scenes.

In The Aristocats, a cat with slanted eyes and male teeth is a racist caricature of East Asian people with exaggerated stereotypical features, the website says. The cats song about foo young eggs and fortune cookies Westernized foods make fun of Chinese language and culture, he says.

Dumbo includes a group of crows who pay homage to racist minstrel shows, the site says. The leader of the group of birds is called Jim Crow, a reference to the laws that imposed racial segregation in the United States. Peter Pan portrays indigenous peoples in a stereotypical manner and repeatedly refers to them with insult, he says.

Disney has been advised by organizations such as the African American Film Critics Association and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, according to the site, which says a third-party advisory board provides Disney with ongoing advice and thought leadership. on critical issues and changes. perceptions.

The disclaimer follows a similar, but less comprehensive, warning from Disney in 2019 that told viewers: This program is being touted as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural representations.

Hemant Shah, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies portrayals of race and ethnicity in movies and media, said that while white children consumed content with racist portrayals that were not controlled, it could normalize the stereotype for them and make it normal so as not to denounce the stereotypes or racist behavior that they see in their life.

For children of color, this could lead to self-esteem issues, Dr Shah said. They can get a feel for, is this how I am? he said.

Although he is skeptical that the warning would have a big impact on children, Dr Shah said the racist scenes provided learning opportunities when children watched them with their parents at home or in the classroom. in the context of media education. Disney should also have some sort of stereotyping education program in conjunction with the warning, he said.

The revised language was installed over the past week, a Disney spokesperson said in an email on Sunday, noting that the original notice had surfaced since Disney + launched in November of last year.

Disney announced in June that it is redoing its walk through Splash Mountain Theme Park, which features characters and songs from the 1946 musical Song of the South. Disney hasn’t made the musical available for over three decades due to the racist imagery it contains.

The updated warning comes as other companies have counted with racist or insensitive parts of their brands or products.

Quaker Oats said in June it would change the name and packaging of its Aunt Jemima brand, based on racist images. A formerly enslaved person was hired to portray the character in the late 1800s, and in the 1930s a white actress who had performed in blackface played Aunt Jemima in a radio series.

Last month, the company that produces the Cream of Wheat hot cereal brand said it would stop using a black chef as the face of the brand to make sure it wasn’t inadvertently contributing to systemic racism. While the branding may be based on a real Chicago chef, the company said, the images remind some consumers of past portrayals they find offensive.

Popular YouTube personality Jenna Mourey, better known as Jenna Marbles, said in June that she would shut down her channel after being criticized for videos she made in blackface as well as others who mock Asians.

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