Racistly Awesome

This one might get a little jumpy/scrambled. My mind is going faster than my fingers and I am not really sure what is going to come out.

Be brave. I know you can do get through the whole thing.

Good Luck. Hope you don’t need it.

I have been watching animated classic Disney films lately. Don’t ask me why because there is no real reason for this. Not that there is any shame for a 30-year-old man–and I use the term loosely–in watching these movies, but I have been watching a lot of them lately. For example, the day before yesterday I watched Pinocchio, and the day before that it was The Great Mouse Detective, and before that it was The Black Cauldron. Furthermore, about three weeks ago I watched the animated Disney version of Alice in Wonderland–I was getting ready to go and see Tim Burton’s version (read a review not written by me here) and I knew I wasn’t going to see this:

and since this is one of my favorite parts of Alice (I must admit I have not read the books and am only familiar with the original story because of the Jabberwoky and the Disney film) I wanted to see it, in full context and not just in a clip like I have given you five, is it?, consistent readers.

I digress.

The reason why I have been watching all these Disney films is unimportant, really. Does it really matter why I have been watching them? I don’t think so. What does matter is that I have been watching them, and that all of this so far is just one long nonsensical lead-in to what I really want to say. Simply, I watched Disney’s Peter Pan, and of course came across this:

Which is awesomely racist, especially when one considers that a lot of children have watched, and do watch, this movie and others like it, such as:

(there are other versions of this video on Youtube, obviously, but I chose this one because of the argument that the poster is making, not that his argument has anything to do with racism).

I do not feel bad about watching these movies now, or when I was a child. I recognize, now that I am an adult (again the term is used loosely), that they have definite racist undertones that oftentimes breach the barrier of good taste, but I am not going to apologize for liking them or for watching them. Maybe the issue for me is that while these should be considered racist cartoons (because they are at their core–it is a sad fact that they are simply a product of their times) that  some of us watched as children, that some of us still watch as adults, I think that what they depict now are more outdated stereotypes (which can definitely be considered racist–I’m treading on thin ice here that is for sure), rather than an explicit modern sense of racism.

Still, it is undeniable that the crows and the redskins were created as racist caricatures (otherwise known as stereotypes) of Native American tribes and Blacks. (Or is it simply African Americans when you are referring to black people who live in America but are originally from Africa? See, the whole thing is super super confusing because when I was in junior high African American was the politically correct term, but then at some point in high school Black was once again acceptable. I don’t know, but I think both are relatively acceptable.)

I think that it is equally undeniable, though, that we need to embrace this footage of old stereotypes. I do not mean embrace them as in use them and perpetuate them, but embrace them to learn from them. Show them to your children. Watch them with your kids. Watch them with a bottle of wine. Just watch them and see what they have to teach about what people in the animated family movie genre making business (I’m looking at you Disney animators–for shame!) and by the transitive property the public at large thought what acceptable to show to children. I know that I am advocating kind of the same thing, but not really.

Sure, I wrote that I thought you should show these cartoons, racist as they are, to your children, but with the intention of demonstrating the difference to them between fantasy (the cartoon/movie world) and reality (the place where racism truly matters and is not cool), and not with the intention of raising them to be racist pricks. I would never advocate something like that.

I might, however, push for something like this:

because it is awesomely not racist,even though it is about a racist. Oh and bubble gum pie, and “Get your hand off my tail you’ll make it dirty.”

I mean its not like I am advocating you show them this:

VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

On one hand I find this video quite offensive, and on the other I find it funny. Does that make me a racist? Maybe a little bit, but I am not so sure. Also, I wonder if the video is truly racist. I say this because the singer is a black American (will that work for the PC Police?) and he is stereotyping the stereotype, if that makes any sense at all. He is offering his own commentary on the black community (presumably one that he was close to or a part of, but then again it is quite possible that he wasn’t, and I am too lazy and apathetic really to just go to wiki and find out) and mocking the stereotypes. He does what any good satirist does and that is blur the line between the satire and the reality so that there is no clear distinction. Consideration must be used, as well as analytical and logical skills, to see past the surface and look deeper into the core of the matter.

But even if it is satire, it could easily be considered offensive, and that is the risk that satire runs–sometimes it goes too far and offends people. Another risk it runs, one more common I think than satire crossing the line, is a collective trait of humanity, something in our DNA, that is blind to satire. As a species we often times have trouble appreciating a good satire. And maybe that’s all “Read a Book” is.

Well, if you made it this far, thank you. I hope your mind isn’t melted and that your eyes aren’t bleeding And for your troubles I leave you with something light and funny and yet still tackles the issue of racism.

Peace and love and cheap wine.

UPDATE: That whole thing about happy thoughts AND pixie dust making you fly is bunk. It’s just the pixie dust. Otherwise, how could the ship fly at the end. Ships don’t have feelings!

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2 comments on “Racistly Awesome

  1. Pdub says:

    I don’t see how the read a book video is racist, personally. I think he is talking to the thug culture, and I think a lot of them could read a book and learn some self-responsibility. I don’t think that says anything at all about all black people.

    • agreed Pdub. And that was the point I was trying to make, granted I was not so successful because I was writing something with no immediate feedback so I had to try to be inclusive in my position. If that makes sense at all.

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