Old films now get warnings for racist content

from Matthias Brückle
On Disney +, viewers will see warnings in the future if the content is out of date. The main thing is not to have to censor or even remove such series and films because of racism and at the same time to make it clear that they do not represent modern values.

Founded in 1923, The Walt Disney Company is heading towards a nearly 100-year-old history – so it is hardly surprising that old cartoons do not always represent the values ​​that viewers would expect in 2020. Currently, especially in the USA, an intensified debate about racism on television is causing many changes – white voice actors for cartoon series are being replaced by black people, blackface moments in series are being removed from the program (for fear of a riot). At Disney, however, the goal is not self-censorship, but rather education: Controversial content from past decades is given a warning.

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Disney + warnings are intended to encourage dialogue about racism

The system, which has only been used in the USA so far, has already entered the second stage with these warnings. So far there was a simple comment that old content can also present outdated views. The new warnings are also intended to encourage dialogue, according to Disney. So if you look at an older Disney production, the following is emphasized before the film starts: "This program contains negative portrayals and / or the mistreatment of peoples or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are now wrong. Instead of removing this content, let us recognize its harmful effects, learn from it and encourage a convergence to unite together Creating the future. "

Which Disney films are racist?

Affected are films such as Dumbo (African Americans and the crows, which stand for them, are portrayed in a racist way), Peter Pan (the portrayal of the Native Americans is full of racist stereotypes), Aristocats (a cat is a very racist representation of East Asians) and even Aladdin (the representation of Arabs is racist). The warning also guides viewers if interested to a website with further explanations about the controversial content that makes it clear what scenes are racist.

Slender eyes, buck teeth, chopsticks: the representation of the cat from the Aristocats is a racist stereotype of the people of East Asia.

Slit eyes, buck teeth, chopsticks: the portrayal of the cat from the Aristocats is a racist stereotype of the people of East Asia.

Source: Disney / Buena Vista

It is still unclear at this point whether these warning notices from Disney + will also find their way to other countries (such as Germany).

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Censorship and warnings about racist content

In times of "Black Lives Matter" many companies see themselves under criticism for not doing enough against racism. As a preventive measure, some streaming services have therefore removed entire content – such as with HBO and the iconic "Gone with the Wind". However, after negative feedback on this decision, the film is available again. With a warning, of course.

Source: New York Times

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