Dumbo, That Took Flight in Syracuse, Among Disney Films Flagged For Racism
Dumbo, the loveable elephant that took flight in Syracuse, New York over 80 years ago, is among the films Disney+ has flagged for racism.
The Aristocats, Peter Pan and Swiss Family Robinson join Dumbo in the films Disney+ had previously placed content warnings on for 'negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people and cultures.'
"These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together."
The movies will now no longer be available to children under the age of 7. The New York Post says adults can still access the films though, if they want their children to watch.
Dumbo Takes Flight in Syracuse
Dumbo originally took flight in Syracuse. The story of the loveable elephant was written by Helen Aberson, who was born in Syracuse in 1907. She sold her story of the flying elephant to Disney Productions in 1939 and even went to Hollywood to consult on the film that was released in 1941, according to the Smithsonian.
The story was published by Little Golden Books and Aberson was credited as the author until 1968, when the original copyright expired.
So what's the problem with the flying elephant? It's not Dumbo. Disney+ says it's Jim Crow and his friends. "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 issue with Aristocats, released in 1970, is the Asian cat that features slanted eyes and buck teeth, who sings in poorly accented English and plays the piano with chopsticks. "This portrayal reinforces the 'perpetual foreigner' stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture," said Disney+.
The Native people in Peter Pan won't fly for Disney. "It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as 'redskins.'"
Peter Pan, first released in 1953, shows Pan and the Lost Boys dancing and wearing headdresses, "a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples' culture and imagery."
Swiss Family Robinson
The problem with Swiss Family Robinson, released in 1960, is the pirates. "Many are costumed in an exaggerated and inaccurate manner with top knot hairstyles, queues, robes and overdone facial make-up and jewelry, reinforcing their barbarism.