I had quite a lively and fun discussion with new friend Tabitha last night about the overt or non overt racism in Disney cartoons. Since both she and I like to debate and play devils advocate – it was heated, but no one got really mad. It was a fun thing to do over a nice bottle of white – I mean caucasian – wine. Tabitha has lived and worked in Boston for the past ten tears as a teacher. She teaches kids from poor communities and most of them are black. So, she has a much different world view than I do. And that is good for the purpose of debate.
Me? I grew up fairly normal watching a lot of television and movies, saw the birth of Mtv and survived the exploitation of my gender in Motley Crue and Sir Mix A Lot videos. I saw white women in films being murdered, being moms, being teachers, being whores and not until very recently being heroes. None of this bothered me – not ever. Why? because white women ARE murdered, moms, teachers, whores and heroes. Am I offended at the show The Hills? You bet. But not because they are portraying white girls as stupid, rich socialites. I am offended that someone thought it was watchable and that America bought it. But that is beside the point. The point is, I watched more TV and cartoons coming up and NEVER once found them to be racist. Probably because I was a little kid and no one thought to pollute my little mind with grown up thoughts. I just thought it was funny.
Disney has gone under the hammer many times for its cartoons. i can see where some of the critisisim comes from, but honestly I find it to be a stretch. Sure the old cartoons had racial stereotypes. And maybe some new ones do as well. But should we really be looking at the fact that the evil lion in The Lion King is a shade darker than Simba? Is that racist? No. It’s not. It is good and evil. The good guy wears white. The bad guy rides into town wearing a black hat. Always has. Not because black PEOPLE are evil, but in literature and myth it has always been that way. If you want to spend your time fighting an age old literary device…knock yourself out.
It has gotten way out of hand. You cannot say “Merry Christmas” in an office any more because it is “offensive’ to those who don’t celebrate Christmas. Stupid. Teachers are teaching young students to say Happy Holidays because many teachers now believe that it is politically incorrect to bring religion into school and that it is okay to deny God but it is not okay to irritate atheists. If I were Jewish I would want to say Happy Hanukkah, not Happy Holidays. If I celebrated Kwanzaa I would want to say Happy Kwanzaa not Happy Holidays. Stupid.
And it doesn’t stop there. I was a secretary. Not any more, now I am a Administrative Assistant. The Janitor at your office is now a custodial engineer even though he does not hold and engineering degree. Oh, and if you are black…now you are African American. No matter what. I was walking through one of the lectures back in Prague at the TEFL school, and the instructor was telling a story that included a black man. One of the little twenty-something know it all girls raises her hand and said, “Excuse me, but it is offensive to say black. You should say African American”. A white girl by the way. The instructor replies, “I see. Offensive to who?”
“Well, to the African American.”
“The man in question was not African American.”
“But you just said they were black.”
“I see. So every black person in the world is American? The man I was speaking of is neither African or American. He was born in the UK. You might want to widen your politically correct vision.” and he continued the story.
The point I am getting at here kids is that it is time to stop being so sensitive about the stupid shit. Disney is being as responsible as they can when making cartoons designed to make little people laugh. They were trying to appease an angry black community who had complained that there was no black Princess in their repertoire. You know what happened? First…she was overly ethnic and a chamber maid. (You think all black women are maids!?) So, they made her a princess, changed her name and now…now people say that she is too white. Whatever. Cinderella was a white maid and you don’t see people getting pissed about that.
So Fuck it.
I want to go back to a simpler time. A time when people of all races, religions, creeds and backgrounds had a fucking sense of humor about the world. I want to go back to a time where we learned about each other by making fun of ourselves. I want to go back to a time where I could go see Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor goofing around and having fun and EVERYONE thought it was funny. I want to see a resurgence of films like “Blazing Saddles” and “The Jerk”. I want America to drop trou and fart in the face of political correctness once and for all.
So…I give you these cinematic gems. And the next time you feel the urge to think, “Golly that’s just not right. That might offend someone.” Hit yourself in the face. Its films like this that show us how stupid racism really is.