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Friday, August 17, 2012

More Disney Racism!

So I recently posted a song from the movie Dumbo that is, while clever, incredibly racist.

This got me thinking about the song 'Arabian Nights' from Aladdin.
I had seen it on TV a few years back and was a bit annoyed that they changed the opening lyrics.
Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face (old)
Where it's flat and immense, and the heat is intense (new)
It's barbaric, but hey, it's home
Not only are the new lyrics cut really poorly (this may actually be my biggest issue with the change...), but why bother trying to sweep this under the rug?

Listen and compare the two versions below:

New Song:


Old Song:



If they're going to try to hide a couple verses from a song, I can think of several scenes from other movies that are far worse.
(Continued after the break!)

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For example, the entire Siamese cat character from Aristocats.



Yes, Siamese. Everything he mentioned was Chinese.
I mean, as a Chinese-American, I obviously find this a little offensive, but I don't want them changing the entire movie. In fact, it's a nice reminder of where American society's views on ethnic sensitivity were and how far we've come.


Going back even further, and what may be the worst offender, is Song of the South.
This movie depicts African-Americans far worse than any animated cat and, in fact, Disney has stopped all sales of it. (But apparently it's free to view on YouTube in its entirety, see below)



Granted, this is an entire movie and actually makes more sense for Disney to bury and protect their image, but it's still a part of history and I don't think it should be covered up.

I mean, we all still watch and enjoy Breakfast at Tiffany's, right?
(Mickey Rooney as 'I.Y. Yunioshi')

What are your thoughts on "covering up" potentially offensive pieces of American art and history from eras past?
Should we be just as critical of them, or understand they are from a less sensitive and culturally aware point in time?

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