when the status quo frustrates.

The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters

Racist Disney
I really don’t remember this scene from Fantasia.

You may have already seen this, but if you haven’t, do take a moment and check out Cracked.com’s rundown of Disney’s most shameful moments. I mean, not that it’s surprising that a massive corporation run by a right-wing snitch has some skanky race issues, but wow.

Most parents show their kids these cartoons. Mine did, and no, I didn’t get the cultural and historical context that makes a character like Uncle Remus so very, very disturbing. This is the sort of thing that makes explaining systemic racism to white people so terribly frustrating. (On a related note, don’t read the comments unless you have a stronger stomach than I do.)

I’m surprised that this didn’t get a mention. Though I guess nameless slaves don’t really count as “characters.”

Third Reich to Fortune 500 is also funny/disturbing.

Hat tip: rantipole6

13 Responses to “The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters”

  1. Kyso Kisaen says:

    The reason you don’t remember that scene from Fantasia is that is was apparently removed for one of the re-releases. And rightfully so, because Oh. My. God. I think maybe I know that because of that article, actually.

    Disney also apparently had some crazy daddy issues stemming from childhood abuse and a sneaking suspicion that he was either illegitimate or adopted. One of Hoover’s promises to him was that if Disney became his lapdog, then the government would help him find the ‘truth’ about his past. Weird shit all around for Disney.

  2. Sabotabby says:

    Have you read How to Read Donald Duck? It’s quite fabulous.

  3. Kyso Kisaen says:

    You were really right about those comments, but I’m immune…I have a coworker who loves the “black people are racist, too, ya’know” defense and have spent enough time in the whitebread boondocks to have heard most of that shit outloud from people who assume I agree with them. Although the guy who claimed to have read every entry twice and couldn’t find a single example of gratuitous racism was kind of funny.

  4. Kyso Kisaen says:

    Oh, and I did read the whole book “IBM & the Holocaust” which is where the authors of that article got most of their info for the IBM entry in the 3rd Reich to Fortune 500 article – it was so long, and I couldn’t put it down. It was awful.

  5. Marnanel says:

    The part where they put IBM in the list of collaborators makes me puzzled for two reasons:

    1) IBM sold computing equipment to freakin’ everyone. Of course anyone wanting to run a concentration camp would want computing equipment. So they went to IBM. Now, let’s assume IBM were well aware of what their computers would be used for. In order for people to act all shocked about this revelation now, they have to believe that selling computing equipment (specifically, or possibly useful equipment generally) to a regime known for its human rights violations is necessarily unethical. There are dozens of such regimes here and now, not perhaps quite as flagrantly evil as Nazi Germany, but pretty damn evil, and thousands of US companies manufacture and sell to them, and I’m not seeing them up in any shitlist like this with everyone being all shocked.

    2) The whole “But IBM are all-American! Yes, but American companies took a morally ambivalent stance on the whole Hitler thing” part. Do people really think the US went into the war because they realised that “the whole Hitler thing” was an evil that needed eradicating from the world, rather than attempting to stay neutral and out of the way as long as possible (and still attempting to trade with both sides), and only finally getting involved when they themselves were personally attacked?

  6. Kyso Kisaen says:

    Now, let’s assume IBM were well aware of what their computers would be used for.

    You don’t have to assume. They did know. Computers back then had to be tailor-made for each application. And unlike other companies, who dealt with the Nazis until war was declared then stopped when the government told them to, IBM went to great, great, great lengths to keep ahold of their german subsidiaries during the war. The only reason they got away with is is because by the end of the war, we were just as dependent on them.

  7. schrödinger's cat says:

    The VW beetle – the way we learned it in school, it was part of Hitler’s plan to become popular. “EVERYBODY gets a CAR!! What a brave new world!!” Another such project was the “Volksempfänger”, an affordable radioset. The Nazis also built better roads and made sure everybody had work (=all the young men had to do a year of hard manual labour). The way they presented it, it was all done to make life better for the ordinary man.

    Now, what do you need in a war? Mobility, communication systems, good roads, men who are used to working hard and obeying orders…

  8. feminist gal says:

    it’s true. also, if you notice the “disney princesses” always leave out Pocahontas. They’re all “hot” white girls… well except the little mermaid… she’s well, a mermaid… still white though…

  9. Kyso Kisaen says:

    Mulan, too. Barbara Ehernrich has a post about the Disney Princess set that makes this observation, too. Of course, their non-white princesses are also the least princessy, and there’s clearly no room for a comparatively active, ass-kicking princess in Disney’s tulle and glitter marketing clusterfuck.

    The white princess fantasy is also being marketed towards adults – there’s no Mulan wedding dress.

    In conclusion, that whole princess thing is fucked up on many levels.

  10. Mnemosyne says:

    Mulan, too. Barbara Ehernrich has a post about the Disney Princess set that makes this observation, too.

    Nope, Mulan is an official Disney Princess — she’s even in the Disney on Ice show, though she does get shoved aside pretty often. Pocahontas is not. The next “princess” in the upcoming The Princess and the Frog has been deliberately created to be the first African-American princess and will be joining the whole pantheon, though I’m not quite sure that’s something to cheer about.

    I can’t decide if King Louie should strictly count as racist, since he’s performed by the white (though Italian) Louis Prima. And though the Jim Crows (har har) are stereotypes, it’s somewhat mitigating that they’re kind and helpful to Dumbo, who everyone else sees as a useless freak until the very end. I view them more like Rochester (from Jack Benny’s shows) than Stepin Fetchit — trying to do more within the stereotype.

    Peter Pan was my favorite movie as a kid, but sweet Jesus was I horrified when I saw it as an adult! I didn’t even remember half of the racist stuff — it flew right over my head.

    Last bit: I was lucky enough to see the late, great Chuck Jones speak a couple of times. One of the questions from the audience was how Jones felt about Disney censoring the racist stuff out of Fantasia, which the questioner seemed to think was an outrage.

    Jones said, “Well, I’ve never had to worry about being censored like that, because I never put stuff like that in my movies in the first place.”

    He got a big hand.

  11. Town Crier says:

    Regarding Mr. Jones’ quote – “Well, I’ve never had to worry about being censored like that, because I never put stuff like that in my movies in the first place.”

    He apparently forgot that he directed “Angel Puss”, another of the banned WB cartoons!


  12. Kai says:

    The little centaur’s name is Sunflower. Another black centuar (serving only Bacchus) was also removed. her name was Otika. They were removed from the 1940′s film in the late 1960′s theatricl rerelease. Denying the past is more insulting than showing it. That and the character is adorable.

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