In an older post I did I got a little pissy about a segment of the movie Peter Pan. Peter Pan is one of my very favorite stories, but the movie, while one of my favorites as a child, has an overt and inexcusably racist scene that is horrifically hostile to Native American people and culture. I catch quite a bit of criticism for my reluctance to just openly allow my child to indulge in all things Disney w/o discussion. Everything from the shallowness and over exaggerated “feminine” qualities in the Princesses to the racism you will see in the video clip below the jump is in great need of discussion.
No, I don’t believe in sheltering our children from the evils and hostilities of shallow and small minded bigoted people. I do believe that a lot of the magic we see in Disney is worthy of our enjoyment, and there is a great wide and open world given to us by Disney that stimulates the imagination. But I also believe that a lot of what is tossed in front our children requires a lot of discussion. There are larger issues here that our children need to understand if they are going to grow up to be progressive and socially conscious. If they are going to learn to love and respect people who are different than they are then they are going to need our attention.
In this space I am hoping to take a look at the larger issues w/in the Disney world, and to expose some of the things that are being told to our children. Things that we should be weary of blindly allowing to them to take in. It is important for them to see some of the things that are out there, such as the horrible segment from Peter Pan so that they can understand how acceptable these things used to be, so that they can begin to understand how we as a society have evolved to learn the errors of accepting these things, and so that they can see what we need to not do in order to be better people all around. I firmly believe that it is important that we not edit these things or hide them, but rather use them as examples of what should not be done. Use them for models or change.
I am hoping to ask some other bloggers to contribute to this series. If you have an area of Disney that you would like to deconstruct, please email me your idea.