At first the article really upset me. The classics will always be close to my heart, they remind me of my childhood, and I refused to look at such movies in a negative light. It seemed that Christensen went into watching the films with a point to prove.
One of my all time favorite Disney movies actually is the newest one The Princess and The Frog. This film features a black women princess in New Orleans trying to open her own business. This film broke down serious stereotypes for the Disney cooperation. I am not one to look for flaws in a film, but try to just enjoy it. Yet after some research I’ve found some upsetting features in the other main characters. The Prince has all white features, despite the darker coloring, his features remain white. Also the firefly, Ray, is voiced as a stereotypical uneducated southern black male. Now I still feel that no one has gone out of their way to put such stereotypes in this film, in fact Disney hired many consultants for this film to try to break these barriers. This article goes on further to explain the problems in this movie. However, it is still one of my favorite Disney movies ever.
Some of the classics are more evidently sexist and racist. Films such as The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, and Peter Pan have much more blatant problems.
This website points out the nine most racist Disney characters. Now, it may have something to do with the target audience. White middle-class children were the ones most likely to pull at their parents sleeves asking for such movies. They teach the white children to be white, and see things from a white perspective. And in 1941 it was probably an assumption that most blacks didn’t own televisions. Although these stereotypes are horrifically obvious is it okay to not show our children these “classics”.
More current films such as The Princess and The Frog, or Mulan are Disney’s attempts at making things right. I feel that these movies are all just for entertainment purposes, and I know I watched all of the classics and turned out fine. This may also have to do with my parents raising me in such a way that I understood racism and sexism, and how it was wrong. These values were instilled in me at a very young age, so I pose we keep the classics, just with some disclaimers provided by parents. Or should we keep them at all?
Song of the moment: Dig A Litte Deeper