The streaming service Disney +, launched the day before in the USA and Canada, began to warn about “outdated cultural images” in old animated films. The management of the platform added a warning to some animated films, which a number of foreign publications drew attention to.
In fact, the rather vague wording “outdated cultural images” means, first of all, the presence in cartoons of elements with a racist connotation. These are mainly paintings that were released in the middle of the 20th century. In particular, the “Dambo” (1941 release), “Peter Pan” (1952), “Lady and the Bump” (1955), “The Jungle Book” (1967) and “Aristocratic Cats” (1970) provided the disclaimer.
The creators also warn of "obsolete" elements in short films about Mickey Mouse, which were released in the 1920-1940s, the musical animation "Fantasy" (1940), and the feature films "The Sign of Zorro" (1958) and "The Swiss Family of Robinsons" ( 1960).
Political correctness in cartoons
So, in the animated film "Lady and the Tramp", Siamese cats are the antagonists. Their belonging to Asian culture is emphasized by an “accent” and musical accompaniment, while creating a vivid repulsive image. In the USA, this delicate moment is explained by post-war moods. It was previously reported that in the remake of the film, the song should be rethought.
The Siamese cat from the cartoon “Aristocratic Cats” also fell into the ranks of “problematic” characters: a Chinese accent, appearance and attributes of oriental culture - chopsticks and fortune cookie mentioned in the song.
In the Peter Pan cartoon, the scene with the Native Americans turned out to be controversial. The lost boys wanted to know why the Indians were red-skinned - what they got the answer to, supposedly their prince was embarrassed by kissing the girl, and since then the whole nation has been red from embarrassment. And the question, and even more so the "legend", was criticized.
The racist overtones were also found in the Jungle Book: Monkey King Louis claims to want to be like Mowgli. Although the action takes place in India, Louis is believed to represent African Americans as he speaks with accent and performs racially labeled jazz. In the image of Mowgli, the American audience saw a hint of a civilized white-skinned American, whom the "native of Africa" wants to be like.
Cultural heritage and audience sympathy
Many netizens supported this solution of the streaming service, noting that this is the lesser evil. Thanks to this warning, it will be possible to avoid clipping from films of some scenes, viewers are sure.
"I like it. Perhaps this is the best way to preserve classic pieces, ”one user wrote on Twitter.
Other commentators shared his opinion, some of whom are convinced that placing a disclaimer for cartoons was the right decision, given that before that, for example, they wanted to cut an entire episode from a streaming version of the animated film “Dumbo”.
- © Frame from the cartoon "Dumbo" (1941)
It was a scene with a crow named Jim Crow. The name Crowe became a household name and was used to designate an illiterate black population (even before the adoption of laws on racial segregation). Later, the management of the streaming service abandoned the venture and left a fragment in the cartoon.
“This, of course, is a rather elegant way of not saying“ we portrayed minorities using racist stereotypes, ”commented another Disney + user on the social network.
Some note that classic Disney cartoons can hardly offend anyone in principle, although there are still controversial elements in the paintings.
“Personally, I am not offended by such classic love stories as“ Lady and the Tramp, ”but it’s good that such a warning accompanies other cartoons that contain truly offensive cultural elements,” another user of social networks expressed his opinion.
Some Twitter users believe that such measures by the leadership of the online platform are unnecessary. In the years the cartoons appeared on the screen, very few people were confused by the very “cultural images” referred to in the disclaimers.
“I am overweight, but I don’t care if they call me fat. I have 100% Italian roots, but it won't be the same to me if they call me “pasta”. These are nothing more than words - they only hurt those who want to be hurt by them. I’m terribly getting on my nerves when people are offended by something, ”said one of the network users.
However, not only Disney + labeled content with a warning about outdated cultural images. The Warner Brothers studio added a similar marking to their paintings, noting that cartoons can broadcast ethnic and racial prejudices. The studio decided to leave the animated films in the form in which they were created - otherwise, this would be equal to the assertion that such prejudices in society never existed.