Racism In Disney Films Essay

2373 words - 9 pages

What images come to mind as one reflects upon his or her childhood? Playgrounds, blackboards, and soccer balls may be among the fondest of memories. Yet, for many, mermaids swim their thoughts, princesses get swept off their feet, and lions roar to their royal place in the animal kingdom. Disney films have captivated the American culture for years and have become a pivotal part of popular culture as well as a form of education. However, these films have devoured the youth of America and, in the process; have perpetuated an institutionally racist society based on harsh stereotypes. Minorities are often underrepresented, and even completely left out, of many Disney films such as Dumbo (1941), The Lion King (1994), Aladdin (1992), and Pocahontas (1995). As students enter the doors of schools, they bring with them the notion that white characters and people are superior to blacks or other minorities because that is how they are depicted in Disney films. However, is the “magical world of Disney” a true depiction of the world? Or is it more of an extremely limited perception?
In a time ravaged by war and depression, the great Walt Disney created a fairy tale world in which Americans could escape the disheartening truth. What started out as a mouse frolicking across a screen, has become a corporate giant steamrolling across America, consuming children’s imaginations and belief systems along the way. In the movie Mickey Mouse Monopoly (2001), it is stated that Disney controls a majority of America’s media, and because of this, the public suffers because they are presented with an extremely limited worldview. On the surface, Disney appears to be a wonderful, innocent form of entertainment appropriate for the entire family. Disney’s simple mission statement is “To make people happy.” Maybe that should be altered so to read “To make white people happy and powerful” seeing that white characters are always the heroes and heroines that live happily ever after. According to Carl Hiaasen, “The secret weapon is trust. Disney is the most trusted brand name in the history of marketing. It hooks us when we’re little and never lets go; this unshakeable faith that Disney is the best at knowing what’s best.”(13) It is time that this myth be shattered.
As far back as 1946, racial stereotyping of African Americans has been evident in Disney films. For instance, in the American classic Dumbo, the crows depict the typical southern African American with a slow pattern of speech. In Jungle Book (1967) the monkeys with African American voices are jiving in a crazy manner because they will never be real men and will always be animals. One of the most tragic examples of this racism can be seen in the movie Tarzan. In the original making of the movie, the white man comes to the rescue and tames all of the animals and natives. However, in the new Disney version of Tarzan (1999), the blacks that obviously inhabit Africa were completely eliminated and replaced by gorillas with...

Find Another Essay On Racism in Disney Films

Disney's affect on our Children and Culture

1527 words - 6 pages , turbans, and heavy accents. We also see the hero Aladdin as not having any of those qualities. He is Americanized for the viewers and that's why he is supposed to be liked instantly.Another big issue in Disney films is the use of racially coded language. Other films also have the unconscious racism that that informs us that a character is good or bad. In the Lion King, we see that the good characters speak with a British or American tone, while

Walt Disney: American Dream Achiever Essay

953 words - 4 pages successful series of short films, Walt decided to make his first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(Miller). Walt and his crew spent four years to study live models and animals just for elaborating every single detail for this film(Disney). Hard work pays off; Snow White premiered on December 21, 1937, and produced an incredible $1.499 million despite the Depression(“Walt Elias Disney”). Not just in box office, Snow White also

WALT DISNEY

655 words - 3 pages WALT DISNEYWalt Disney was one of the famous motion-picture producers in history. He firstbecame known in the 1920's and 1930's for creating such cartoon film characters asMickey Mouse and Donald Duck. He later produced feature length cartoon films, moviesabout wild animals in their natural surroundings, and films starring human actors. Disneywon 32 Academy Awards for his movies and for scientific and technical contributions tofilmmaking. He

Walt Disney

868 words - 4 pages dollars in domestic sales alone (Walt’s World). In 1937, Disney produced one of its biggest films, which starred the first ever well-known Disney princess, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The popularity of this film brought in enough income “to build a state-of-the-art studio in Burbank, California, as he proceeded with the even more elaborate Pinocchio (1940); Fantasia (1940), which had the first stereophonic sound track; and Bambi (1942

Walter Elias Disney

1596 words - 6 pages Timeline).” “A year goes by when Walter Disney decides to rename his studio “Walt Disney Studio” (Walt Disney Timeline).” Walter Disney makes many movies and films mostly for children. “In 1928, Steamboat Willie comes out and is the first animated cartoon with sound (Walt Disney Timeline).” Within the next year, Mickey Mouse clubs are all over the world and into a worldwide craze. “In 1930, Walt Disney thought that the people he was signed

Racism, Sexism, and Stereotypes In Media

1328 words - 5 pages Press. BrokenXLoner (2012) Racism and Sexism in Disney – YouTube, retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sju3yvta9o8 Jonesyy217 (2011). Female Stereotypes In Disney Films – YouTube, retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-57zKcmrT6M Lac, T. (2013). EDUC2421: Literacy and Numeracy Birth – 4 Years: Week 12 Student Lecture Notes. Bedford Park: Flinders University. MacNaughton, G. & Williams, G. (2009). Techniques for

walt disney

1140 words - 5 pages Walt Disney is not only best known for his American Motion Picture and famous cartoon films, but also for his artwork he created. Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Hersoma, a section of Chicago, Illinois. Disney was born to his father Elias Disney, an Irish-Canadian, and his mother Flora Call Disney, a German-American. Walt Disney was one of five children, four boys and one girl. Walt Disney lived most of his life in

Disney's Core Strengths

1023 words - 4 pages is a leader in creating an atmosphere that is aesthetically attractive to all ages and all senses.#2 Financial StabilityWhen most companies evaluate their competition they look at many factors. In Disney's case, they look at different theme parks, animated films and cartoon merchandise. It is common knowledge that Disney keeps a close eye on their competitors and they even evaluate what they consider a future risk factor that would eventually

Pocahontas

838 words - 3 pages People today tend to scrutinize every aspect of anything that crosses the silver screen. The Disney company is always questioned on the reality of their films. Some see racism, bias, or ignorance toward history. Now for a cartoon that's supposed to entertain children, Disney does it the best. They do it so well that some argue that the people who criticize Disney are the one's who have the problem. But when Disney makes a film they have to keep

Disney Pixar

2621 words - 11 pages the more difficult it’s become. The relationship was started in 1978 as they were working together on the CAPS 2D production system. The alliance went quite well at first as itthey generated profits to both companies and they ended up signing an agreement to produced animation movies together. Pixar and Disney produced seven films over the course of their alliance that end in June after Pixar delivering “Cars”. The company CEO Steve jobs tried

The Walt Disney Company: The Art Of Brand Building Keeps Disney Center Stage

1690 words - 7 pages recognizes that not everything is a Disney cartoon. For example, when the company goes outside its tradition they produce their films under the Pixar or Buena Vista labels. Such movies are still family oriented in a broadly defined manner but are not the typical Disney film. In his letter to shareholders in Disney’s 2002 annual report, Michael Eisner wrote: “The past years have been disappointing in terms of earnings and stock price, but they

Similar Essays

Early Racism In Disney Movies. Essay

1071 words - 4 pages said." (Cite #4) this song is a song I sang as kid never knowing what I was singing, like it was so wrong for a culture to be different, is this what Disney is teaching our children? That anything that is different cannot be trusted or even given a chance.Disney movies have always had racism in their movies but the one movie that had the most obvious racism would have to be Disney's Song of the South.The Song of the South, one of Disney's most

Henry Giroux's Essay On Stereotyping In Disney Animated Films

1508 words - 7 pages , choice, and empowerment are closely linked to catching and loving handsome men”. (Giroux, 59) Giroux also speaks of racism in Disney films and how certain characters are seen to be African American or Latino is viewed negatively. “ In the Disney rendition of colonial history, Pocahontas is converted into a brown, Barbie like supermodel with an hourglass figure whose relationship with Aryan hunk John Smith transforms an historical act of

Insensitive Portrayal Of Society And Cultuer In Disney Films

1415 words - 6 pages , Disney emphasizes social vulnerability through the overwhelming male dominance displayed in their animated films. Faherty argues that even though there have been recent movies such as Mulan and Pocahontas, which portray strong female roles, “the quantitative disproportion of male characters in Disney animated films needs to be addressed if we expect children to be able to relate to appropriate role models” (19). Lack of females in Disney

How Do Gender Roles Get Portrayed In Disney Films?

889 words - 4 pages hopeless and males as strong and heroic in films. Male characters are seen to be more physical, functional, sexual, smart, and independent. Female characters are seen as dependent, weak, quiet, graceful, and innocent (Planned Parenthood). For example, in the movie Tangled (2009) Rapunzel is seen as a women trapped within her home where she paints, cleans, and reads; when her prince shows up she hits him with a frying pan. In the movie The Little