Movies like Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Jungle Book now warn of stereotypes when streaming on the Disney + streaming service. Disney updates warnings about racism content in classic films.
“This program involves negative imagery and / or harassment of people or culture,” the warning read.
“Stereotypes were wrong then and they are wrong now.”
The message added that instead of removing content, “we want to be aware of the harmful effects, learn from them, and provoke conversations to work together for a more inclusive future.”
Other films that carry warnings are The Aristocats, in which a cat with a “yellow face” plays the piano with a stick, and Peter Pan, where racist slander calls Indians “Redskins”.
Lady and the Tramp, which has had multiple incidents of racism and cultural stereotypes, also warned.
The company first added a racism warning last November, but it was much shorter.
The disclaimer then reads: “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural images.”
Some films, such as “Song of the South”, are simply not available for streaming Disney + due to racism.
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Racism and Stereotypes in Classic Disney Movies
- Lady and the Tramp (1955): Two Siamese cats, Si and Am, are depicted in anti-Asian stereotypes. There are also scenes of pound dogs where dogs with a pronounced accent depict stereotypes of the countries in which they breed – such as Pedro, the Mexican Chihuahua, and Boris Rusnak Borzoi.
- The Aristocats (1970): A Siamese cat named Shun Gon who is voiced by a white actor is described as a racist caricature of an Asian man. He plays the piano with a stick
- Dumbo (1941): A group of crows helps Dumbo learn to blow off exaggerated stereotypical black noises. The main crow was named Jim Crow – a reference to a number of racial segregation laws in the southern United States at the time – and he was voiced by white actor Cliff Edwards.
- Jungle Book (1968): The character of King Louis, a monkey with poor language skills, sings in the Dixieland jazz style and is described as lazy. The character has been criticized as a racist caricature by African-Americans
- Peter Pan (1953): The film refers to local people as “Redskins”, racist slander. Peter and the missing boys also dance in hats, which Disney says today is a “form of mockery and abuse of local culture and image”. A song called “What makes a red man red” was also described as racist – later it was renamed “What makes a brave man brave”.
- Song of the South (1946): One of Disney’s most controversial films yet to be released on video or DVD in the US. Her image of a plantation worker, Uncle Remus, perpetuates the ancient racist myth that slaves are happy in the cotton fields.
Similarly, Warner Bros. has long warned of “ethnic and racial prejudice” in some of his cartoons.
“Even though these cartoons do not represent today’s society, they are presented as they were originally created, or else it would be tantamount to claiming this prejudice never existed,” warns Warner Bros. Reuters