9 Most Racist Disney Characters

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I’m not sure how long this has been posted, but I just found out that Cracked Magazine.com has listed what they believe are the 9 most racist Disney characters of all time. It’s quite a list.


  • http://www.tjrmusic.com TJR

    I am surprised that the Big Bad Wolf dressed as a Jew (from 3 little pigs) didn’t make it onto this list.

  • http://classiccartoons.blogspot.com/ Duck Dodgers

    Thursday appeared in a series of Mickey Mouse daily strips in 1939.

  • charlie j

    whoever wrote that is a moron. That stuff’s just ethnic characature! What’s wrong with jive talking crows! None of that stuff is any worse than anything about white people on chapelle’s show, which is also ethnic characature.

    http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/search?q=political+correctness

  • http://www.electricminstrel.com Brett McCoy

    Some of the other lists on that page are pretty good, like the one about comic books that shouldn’t be made into movies, including clips of some truly awful animated shows from the 60s and 70s.

  • Josh

    Man, How far the never mighty Cracked has fallen!
    I didn’t think it was possible but this makes me miss Sylvester P. Smythe.
    Oh wait,I get it now…Disney is a racist! ha ha! Wee!

  • Alex

    I am overcome with giggles.
    Yeahh… Disney found stereotypes funny. Oh well. They forgot to include the Jewish brush salesman from the three little pigs, although the ones they did include were pretty bad. I didn’t even know the black centaur existed. Ha!

    Ahhh… the crow’s name is Jim… that’s horrible…heee…

  • Tim

    Wow, get a load of the comments on that Cracked article!

  • Tristan

    Isn’t it idiotic to point those out and say that they’re rascist?
    I mean, Disney has some of the most generic and stereotypical white men and women in their films, why don’t they count?

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Who’s gonna disappoint them by telling them that Louis Prima was Italian, not black?

  • http://www.sadiethepilot.com/ Kellie Strøm

    What, nothing from Lady and the Tramp? Maybe gags about Italians, English, Irish, Scots, Mexicans and Russians don’t count as much, but there’s always the Siamese Cat Song to be getting along with.

  • Chuck R.

    If there is any hope at all in getting “Song of the South” released on DVD, postings like this don’t help the effort. The Cracked website could have mentioned that James Baskett (Uncle Remus) was the first actor Disney hired for a feature-length film. But I guess positive comments about the mouse house don’t translate to readable satire.

    I do agree with the criticism about the Indians in Peter Pan though. The strange policy of releasing some films with questionable content and withholding others sheds some light on which minorities Disney regards as offendable and which are worthy of sensitivity.

  • http://www.fpsmagazine.com Tamu

    I liked the article, but the racist comments at the end of it remind me why I cringe that many of these representations and others in the media float around without much enlightening discussion.

    People need to continue pointing out the stereotypes so people think about them, because they continue to have an effect. Even if they are in some well-loved films, people shouldn’t get defensive when there is a flaw and play it down.

    Fantasia and Dumbo are two favourites of mine, but there is no way I am going to rationalize the scenes that are problematic. I will not do myself a disservice to preserve its reputation.

  • http://www.animationfestival.ca J. Zaroski

    What’s really unfortunate is that the comments posted to that story at CrackedMagazine.com seem much worse than the Disney racism that the article identifies. Don’t you just love the internet?

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    Someone has wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much #*($@^%@ing free time on their hands!

    How silly!

  • Andrew

    The pair from the Chip N’ Dale show really threw me off. I would think that show doesn’t come close in notability to any of the other films and cartoons he included. I assume that this is someone who has not watched Disney when he was younger- I would never have considered Sebastian, the Merchant, or the Indian Chief as being racist at the age I first saw each of these films.

  • hellmik

    One of the dumbest, most contrived lists ever. People wake up and stop channeling every human activity into world politics, try and lighten up for a change.

  • Bugsmer

    Number one was pretty funny. I’ve never read that story, but it looks like one to check out in the future. I’d read about that line in Aladdin, but I haven’t heard it till now. If these are the most “racist” characters Disney has to offer, the author should have no objections to the televising of “Figaro and Cleo” and “Mickey’s Mellerdrammer”.

  • HULK

    Even as a “joke” this annoys me. It’s more PC censorship bullshit. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t see the movies. Whining pussies. FYI They left a major one out, The big bad wolf in “the 3 little pigs” dressed as a very stereotypical Jewish peddler in one scene to try to get in to the pig’s house. ALSO King Louis wasn’t supposed to be “black”. He was voiced by Louis Prima an Italian-American from New Orleans. How racist of them to assume.

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    Kind of a funny read, but what’s worse is the comments people left for that article…

  • Kyle Maloney

    arrgg, these so called offensive characters are nothing more than stereotypes. people are way too sensitive about these things. no one’s saying that these characters are meant to portray an entire races. and there’s no denying that there’s at least a few people in the world that are like these characters.

    stereotypes are useful to to get the point across in the shortest time period. if they weren’t a stereotype, they would have to spend time developing each character. time they cant spend time worrying too much about. stereotypes are fun. get over it people.

    come back to me when they start drawing a bunch of squinty eyed Chinese people crashing their cars.

  • http://thad-k.blogspot.com Thad Komorowski

    Hilariously awesome list. Poor Floyd Gottfredson, though.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robert

    Don’t think of these cartoons as racist. Think of them as additional opportunities for Leonard Maltin to pop up on a DVD release!

    Yes, these are uncomfortable, but I think Chuck Jones’ “Angel Puss” (a black boy tries to drown a cat) should win the Oscar for Racial Insensitivity by a Major Animation Studio.

    For an extensive collection of awkward moments check out:

    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/cartoons/homepage.htm

    to Chuck R.: Robert Benchley will be disappointed you forgot about his work in Reluctant Dragon.

  • http://www.threeprong.net :: smo ::

    “Who’s gonna disappoint them by telling them that Louis Prima was Italian, not black?”

    +1

    i just left them a comment about it…talk about racially insensitive…mama mía!

  • Lalala

    Wow… I’d almost forotten about Thursday. There’s a copy of that book at my parent’s house that my mom has had since she as a little kid. She keeps it around to show how evil Disney is or something. It always mortified my sister and me.

  • Dustin

    I think there’s a HUGE double standard when it comes to classifying something racist.

    You can depict a character such as a poor incestuous uneducated white male and it’s perfectly fine in cinema and cartoons. However, if the character is the same, but race is different it’s completely unacceptable and considered racist.

    Will there be a point in time in our society where satire is forbidden and we can no longer laugh at ourselves?

  • http://cristinacreativeshop.blogspot.com Cristina Irizarry Santiago

    I think these people are looking way too much into these cartoons. Walt just wanted to show the streotypes. There are SOME people that are like this in the world. It`s true. If we`re going to get offended because of every little thing, then we’ll spend our whole lives whining.

  • stavner

    You know, these stereotypes still hurt peoples’ feelings. Do you animators out there want to create a cartoon that is just out-and-out racist?

    I also noticed that Cracked.com didn’t call for these to be censored, they were just pointing this out. I agree with Tamu.

  • purin

    Oh, they could have done a better list than that! I’m sure you could find some real good Sunflower-level racism if you searched better instead of going right to “the crab sings about not working.” The singing blackfish is questionable, but her appearance is so brief you don’t think about it too much. There’s a whole formula of the nature of caricature, role in the story, depiction, and more that adds up to make the most purely racist and offensive characters.

    (Someone stating something is racist is not always the same as political correctness. The response is almost always ranting about political correctness and not discussing the how and why and possibly refuting the statement, which bugs me)

  • Graham

    What? Only nine? Come on! What’s wrong with a well-rounded number?

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    I agree with Kelly… what about all the stereotypes in Lady & the Tramp. You could make a whole new list with the characters from that film.

    These characters are only a product of their time. We can’t escape or hide these things, they’re part of our history.

    & with Song of the South, they should just slap Leonard Maltin with a disclaimer on it & put it out already. If they can do that with Popeye & Sesame Street, why not SotS?

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C. Edwards

    You have to take a lot of that out of context to make it “racist”. What I find really funny is when white people point out the double standards of racism.

    The article makes some very interesting points that I think are overlooked, like the crows were depicted a couple years after congress voted down a bill against lynching or that the actor playing Uncle Remus wasn’t even allowed to attend the premiere of the movie. Questionable or not, those characters were steps in the right direction.

  • KatNS

    Does anyone remember a scene from Lady and the Tramp when the Chihuahua says leeringly and in an exaggerated accent that Tramp should meet his “seeestah?” It clearly was presented like he was a pimp. To make it even worse, the dog had flies around him and he kept scratching himself.

    Unless I was hallucinating, the scene was early versions but was excised in later ones. I was only a teenager at the time, but even then I was shocked by this.

    Does anyone else remember this?

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    pointless

    Wasn’t ‘cracked’ a magazine that was a bag of arse?

  • Floyd Norman

    Though far from perfect, the Disney studio was one of the least racist places I ever encountered in the fifties. Probably because artists and musicians have always been more open and tolerant than their non-creative counterparts.

    However, the Disney studio still had a lot to learn, as did most of America — and learn they did. This nation went through some troubled times to get where we are today.

    Having said that, it’s about damn time the Disney studio releases “Song of the South.” Grow up, already!

  • Bugsmer

    I just discovered that the Mickey and Thursday story has been posted online. http://sickopath.com/mmbtp1.html It’s pretty funny.

  • HULK

    KatNS: If I rememeber right, the Chihuahua said that the Tramp was already dating his ‘seester’: “Maria Conchita Consuela Jospehina…” a whole bunch of names. The character had droopy eyes and “mexican” features…the same way speedy gonzalez did but I don’t remember there being flies around him. Also I think in that scene the ethnic joke was that Latina women have lots of names…which is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things… not that they’re all whores being pimped out by their own brothers.

    BUT I could be wrong. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it too.

  • Norty

    James Baskett may not have been allowed to attend the Academy Awards, but Walt Disney himself spearheaded a successful effort to get him an Oscar. Baskett did, in Disney’s opinion, the best job of believable acting while working against nothing (the animated characters were added much later) up to that time. His eye contact with moving characters in SotS is flawless. Not even Bob Hoskins could pull it off at Baskett’s level in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, forty years later, working with every tech advancement in the book.

  • RODAN

    Good one Steven!
    That was the first thing I thought when I saw King Louis in the article. Louis Prima was actually Sicilian but same thing sort of.

    Someone please call me a racist if they think because I loved every one of the character portrails on the list.

    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS A TOTAL DESEASE. As an artist, it’s so natural to make observations of various people. Not always because you characterize them for thier appearance are you doing so because of the race of said character. But because of the extreme difference in the appearance and manors from a vast majority of other people that they might be surrounded with at any given time. Why is it always called racist? In order to capture or portray the character an artist or an actor must make some effort to make his appearance recognizable by an audience. If we see someone walking down the street or at a social event it’s natural to notice differences extreme or otherwise. If you see someone dressed in minks or ermine (not socially acceptable nowadays) You notice it. Is that racist? No. If you happen to notice a smelly vagrant (they exist, go to any metropolitan city if you happen into a certain part of town you’ll know what I mean.) If you hear someone who talks loudly, you notice them. If they have a particular accent, you notice that. It’s humanity in all it’s various spectacular differences. Is it racist to create characters in films who have some, or various concoctions of these attributes? I don’t see it as such. It’s just a recognizable characteristic of the many people we see during our lives. How else are you going to have an audience connect with the characters in your film.

    I’ve said to much but I think I made my point. I wonder who agrees with me? I’m not looking for a alliance. Just wanted to have my say.

    I think the article and the list is merely for publicity. Playing to peoples base feelings. Fanning the flames. The article is more racist than the films they were framing.

    RODAN

  • RODAN

    Good one Steven!
    That was the first thing I thought when I saw King Louis in the article. Louis Prima was actually Sicilian but same thing sort of.

    Someone please call me a racist if they think because I loved every one of the character portrails on the list.

    I think the article and the list is merely for publicity. Playing to peoples base feelings. Fanning the flames. The article is more racist than the films they were framing.

    RODAN

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robert

    On the Refrederator blog last year Emru Townsend was the guest blogger for “Black Comedy Week” and made some cogent comments on why these depictions are demeaning and go beyond fun satire.

    http://frederatorblogs.com/refrederator/5

    But the crows in Dumbo really don’t deserve being on a “worst” list. If the list maker had done his research he could have found better candidates than that in the very early Disney shorts. “Cannibal Capers” and “Mickeys Man Friday”come to mind.

  • http://cinemahustle.blogspot.com alexander

    Disney has some of the most generic and stereotypical white men and women in their films

    Yeah, but the stereotype there is just a cliche of an image of The Central Character as white people see it. Of The Hero and The Heroine in the context of a predominantly white world and it’s values. A little bit different than the characters whose identity is defined by their difference from that center, just like the villian and the hapless sidekick.

    And I wouldn’t say Dave Chappelle isn’t racist just because he’s black and some random Indian guy who commented on John K’s blog is not necessarily the man with the answer to all our race relation problems.

    That said, I do think there should be a point where there is an open season on charicature, that everyone gets the same treatment, but it is dangerous ground. There’s a point where I can laugh about you making fun of how stupid and backwards America is but when that idea turns into something more serious you get my back up, even though you’re still telling jokes. Comedy is dangerous business, I hate South Park mostly for how much people bring up it’s brainless arguments in conversation, arguments that were just a struggle to get a laugh.

    That said, I was not really interested in the article. You shouldn’t show kids too many Disney movies anyway, all of the characters foster unrealistic expectations of how people are and should act.

    Do like my Mom did and show them Thin Man movies or something. Show them Miyazaki movies, even.

  • Chris L

    There’s a difference between caricature and racism. Sometimes the line can be a very thin one, but it’s there. Disney’s work is a product of its time – steps in the right direction or not, aspects of it were racist then and still are, and they shouldn’t be ignored because they may have had good intentions. I, too, agree with what Tamu said.

    To add to what’s already been said about the stereotypes of white characters, the key point here is that – by and large – white people have not been oppressed as a group based on the colour of their skin. Yes, there was (and still is) lots of racism against plenty of white European immigrants – but they were never institutionally enslaved, and cops don’t profile Italians or Russians (etc.) when they’re looking for people to pull over. It’s a lot easier to take a joke when not a visible minority.

    I don’t understand all the screeching about “political correctness.” At its roots, PC is not about stopping caricature or commentary – it’s about making people aware of any number of issues faced by minorities. It can at times be overbearing, but shouting someone down because they’re “PC” almost seems like you’re wishing for the good old days when unveiled racism was acceptable.

  • http://www.goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    the controversy of “Song of the South” is really overblown. If the people at Disney who made that film at the time were truly racist, I doubt the film would’ve been made at all. I think the point is that great moral tales exist in all cultures, whether it’s Uncle Remus or Aesop or Grimm or Mother Goose or the Native Americans. Besides, animation and cartooning in general are based on caricature and exaggeration. Every culture imagineable has been made fun of in animation, and sometimes it hurts feelings. That doesn’t make animation by Disney or anyone else evil. To make a cartoon that offends nobody at all, they’d have to make it entirely with stick figures devoid of unique characteristics. How much fun would THAT be?

  • Alex

    All of you animation fans are complaining about the racist imagery, but I’d guess if you were those minorities, you wouldn’t be as eager to defend them.

    The stereotypes represent the silliness of the past but they’re not great. They’re interesting, but even back then they were embarassing.

  • Alex

    To an abov commenter, Baskett has not been allowed to come to the PREMIERE. Organized by Disney, not the Academy Awards.

  • Robert Reynolds

    If I recall correctly, Cracked Magazine was the (very) poor kid’s idiot half-brother “rival” to Mad Magazine. The principal problem I have with that list is that it wasn’t nearly as funny as it was probably intended to be when they wrote the damn thing! YAWN!

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    Some of the characters on the list are more offensive than others, but I also think you need to look at these things in context. What were the stereotypes like in other media at the same time as these films were released? I always thought the “Song of the South” argument was the weakest. Uncle Remus is pretty much the only competent and caring adult in that whole film. You really can’t win in this PC era. Someone will always be offended by something. Where is the outrage by the speech impaired hunting community over Elmer Fudd?

  • Jim Engel

    I agree with Charlie J. above. It’s ethnic caricature, and ethnic caricature does not equal racism. Nor neccessarily do stereotypes, for that matter (and where do those COME FROM in the first place? Are all stereotypes fully created from whole cloth with no basis in reality?).

    What next? Is all CARICATURE going be labeled as HATE? Did Disney hate mice, ducks, cats and dogs? Look at how he STEREOTYPED them in his films! What’s with Tom always chasing Jerry & trying to eat him? And Jerry–always after cheese!

    Hanna and Barbera were SPECISTS!

  • http://www.christianziebarth.com Christian

    “His eye contact with moving characters in SotS is flawless.”

    Yes, the part where him and Brer Frog light their pipes is excellent.

    “aspects of it were racist then and still are”

    Uh, they aren’t racist just because you say they are. And harping about it forever isn’t going to do any good.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robert

    Jim Engle said:(and where do those COME FROM in the first place? Are all stereotypes fully created from whole cloth with no basis in reality?).

    I think there’s a lot less basis than we imagine. What do most of us really know about black people in the 1930′s that isn’t originated from white media?

    If you take a look at the genuinely black-written, black-produced, black-directed and black-acted cinema of the 1930′s and 40′s (there was such a thing) you won’t see much like the hollywood film stereotypes. They appear as regular human beings, who neither slur their speech nor shuffle their walk. They don’t bulge their eyes out and say things like “Feet don’t fail me now!”. Neither do they braid their hair into spikes that stick straight out of their head. It’s a world completely unlike what Hollywood would show you.

    And yet the Hollywood version won, positioning itself as a caricature of reality when it’s really just lame, recycled gags from 100 year old minstrel shows.

  • http://thad-k.blogspot.com Thad Komorowski

    Guys, I love this idea we live in a totally color-blind world and that you’d screen these films in their full glory to modern day viewers telling the audience “Those crows and Indians aren’t racist! They’re celebrating our differences!” I’d also recommend screening one of these cartoons.

    Ya sillies.

  • purin

    It’s obvious this magazine was not actually calling people to arms, so it’s inappropriate in this case to bemoan political correctness and call them the PC police. Besides, Political Correctness is not something made up by a league of soccer moms who go around saying “you can’t do that,” nor is it listening to EVERY person who takes issue with something in your film. It’s like restraining yourself from cussing. Sometimes you gotta say a foul word, but most of the time you should try to come up with more creative and intelligent ways to get your point across.

    The thing about a lot of caricatures that makes them racist is that often a caricature is the same as every other caricature. All of them are the same character. Is it really a caricature or is it just a character pulled from the big book of stereotypes? Consider how some black cartoon characters actually have some variety and thought in their design while most are just the same red rubber tire lipped big eyed character we’ve seen everywhere else. Consider how the old Asian caricature is often the same slant-eyed buck-toothed glasses wearing face wherever you go. It’s a very shallow caricature, really. There’s so much that could go into them (including things to make fun of) that doesn’t because nobody bothers to really look at the people they’re making that caricature of but rather some idea made and perpetuated by people who don’t really know them at all.

  • Joseph

    Really, how can any of you say these aren’t racist? I remember reading that John K post a while ago, and his opinion just baffles me. He seems to automatically put “racist” with “offensive” like they’re inseperable, and used his indian friend to defend his claim.

    Yeah, it might not be offensive (to you or someone else), but clearly, it’s offensive to someone. And even if it’s not offensive, that doesn’t make it less racist. You can call it a caricature all you like, but ethnic stereotypes are, by definition, racist.

    I don’t believe the guys at Disney meant for them to be malicious attacks on those races, though. They were just naive.

  • OM

    …Actually, there’s a segment from the old Mickey Mouse Club that should have made the list. Jimmy Dodd tells a parable about how people are judged by the company they keep. The parable involves, IIRC, a white lamb who gets ostracized by hanging around a bunch of do-no-good black crows.

  • OM

    “If I recall correctly, Cracked Magazine was the (very) poor kid’s idiot half-brother “rivalâ€? to Mad Magazine.”

    …Actually, the better analogy is to compare Cracked to Mad as Fridays to SNL just before the departure of the original cast. At times, Cracked was actually funnier than Mad, but the latter had all the star artists and writers, which allowed it to chug along on sheer inertia. When you compared a riff on a movie or TV show by both mags, what you find is that if Mad did it first, the Cracked version was funnier because they had the chance to see just what didn’t work for the Mad version. The only problem there was that Mad got your money first, and Cracked got the leftovers.

  • Chuck R.

    Each of Cracked’s examples needs to be treated and debated as individual cases. Cracked is not serious journalism, but I think racism is a serious charge no matter where you find it.

    Some of these (Peter Pan Indians) are probably harmful to certain groups and not particularly brilliant examples of filmmaking. Ethnic caricature can certainly become racist if it’s malicious or harmful.

    With others (Uncle Remus) you have to consider the merits of the source material and the difficulty of making a family-friendly film that does justice to those original stories. Is there any doubt that Disney did the best they could to honor Joel C Harris’ stories and put blacks in a favorable light, while still making a film most Americans (of all ethnicities) would want to see?
    Then there’s caricature: Sebastian could be modelled after any number of Reggae/Calypso performers just as Cab Calloway and Satchmo were caricatured in early films. The criticism boils down to: if minorities propagate the stereotype it’s permissable, but if whites do it, it’s hurtful. This type of thinking (as well as the n-word) has to be scrapped. What’s the difference between big lips on Sebastian and big lips on Fat Albert? (A: Bill Cosby at the helm.)

    BTW, I stand by James Baskett’s distinction as Disney’s first actor in a feature. I’ll leave it to legalists to fight over whether it was Robert Benchley or Deems Taylor.

  • Floyd Norman

    If I remember correctly, the only African-Americans working on Disney’s “The Jungle Book” were voice actor, Scatman Crothers and myself.

    We could not have imagined people having this discussion today over what we considered to be simply another funny animated cartoon.

  • Alex

    Cats, mice and dogs can’t speak or react. It sounds like you’re identifying other minorities with animals though, and from there I can see why it would bother you that someone would dare take offense with this. Is it in an African American’s inherent nature to act like Uncle Remus much like Jerry’s inherent nature to eat cheese? Your idea that stereotypes are based on truth is not completely true, stereotypes are based on the majorities view of truth in order to keep minorities down. Indians did not become red by blushing, African Americans in horrible positions in life were portrayed as smiling in order to keep white people from being outraged and do something about it, and to underplay what was going on, and the Chinese stereotype is based on a white person saying ‘Huh. People who act diffirent then us correct people are funny!’ I don’t think that stereotypes in movies that are anywhere from 15 to 60 years old are going to destroy society, but they’re not great either. And racial caricature is still racist.

  • Alex

    Besides, most of these are just trying to goad a reaction from the public. The Jungle Book one is an example. But si, most of the caricatures aren’t in the best of taste.

  • John A

    What an a**hat–I noticed he intentionally “whitened up” the the flesh tones on the picture of Aladdin in order to make his stupid point. (gee the hero is handsome and the villian is ugly–we’ve never seen that before) As for the Indians in Peter Pan- They are not meant to be REAL american natives any more than the pirates were meant to be an accurate portrayal of real pirates. They are presented as childrens fantasy versions of these people, the movie is a dream, don’t you fucking get that? People today are way too literal minded, and way too easily offended.

  • Mike

    aweosme! When is the 9 most racist Bakshi list coming?

  • Scott

    As an Asian-American, I wouldn’t exactly describe my reaction to the Siamese Cats from Chip and Dale (or the Siamese Cat from The Aristocats for that matter) as “offended”. I think I’m more surprised that these bucktoothed, sneaky, Engrish speaking caricatures were created in Civil Rights era. Hard to write off as “charming” like some people might with lawn jockeys.

    But to address this as someone who has experienced real racism, I think these caricatures are more the result of ignorance (willful or not) than actual racism. But I won’t go as far as to say no one should be held accountable. In the end who knows if the cumulative effect of these stereotypes actually increases racism on our society?

  • Smee

    John A,

    As a Pirate-Neverlandian, I’m actually quite offended at Disney’s ethnic stereotypes within Peter Pan. They made us out to be blithering idiots, and some designer found it funny to give me mutton chops when, in fact, I sport a handlebar mustache.

  • Joe

    >>I think these caricatures are more the result of ignorance (willful or not) than actual racism. But I won’t go as far as to say no one should be held accountable. In the end who knows if the cumulative effect of these stereotypes actually increases racism on our society?

    I sort of agree with this in that most of those listed have more simplistic characatures than anything truely racist (Like the Japanese in Commando Duck). A lot of them are dated and as a result, sort of resonate an uneasy stigma.

  • Mr. Semaj

    This is stupid.

    The fact that they keep bringing this up, and going after relatively harmless stereotypes makes the people who wrote this the real racists, as well as people like Spike Lee who are constantly finding racism where it doesn’t exist.

  • GeeVee

    Most people are conformists within a culture at any given time in history. The cultural climate is more ethnically sensitive now than it was back in the 1930, or around that time. That’s all fine and good. My point is that the moral outrage we feel when we look back on this stuff is partly an illusion. If the same people who now cry “racist” were part of that culture at the time, my guess is that the vast majority wouldn’t have thought anything of it. So rather than feeling superior, you might make a note of how arbitrary it is and how today’s standards will look just as backwards in the future. People are products of their time.

    Conversely, there were probably behaviors or social etiquette in those old days that have given way to a much courser society today. Actually, I don’t think there much doubt about that. So, we’re sort of evolved and devolved since then.

    In the early days of Hollywood, the vaudeville circuit was still active with all manner of of ethnic caricatures and/or stereotypes. There was so much migration coming in from different parts of the world, especially Europe, and they had fun with it, sometimes with VERY crude results. Those crude renderings, however, don’t necessarily mean they were done with hatred or cruel intent. That’s where people need to get some perspective and preserve the word “racist” for those who actively promote hatred against another race.

  • Chuck R.

    I’m waiting for AARP to join the pile-on. Is there a more egregious stereotype than the emasculated geriatrics in Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Tarzan?

    Aging patriarchs unite!

  • Jason

    A few of those were racist most of them weren’t. If we are going by these standards the Simpsons is the most racist show on TV

    Apu: racist towards India
    Groundskeeper Willie: racist towards the Scottish
    Ned Flanders and Rev. Lovejoy: unfair religious stereotypes
    Barney: offensive and insensitive view of alcoholism
    Patty and Selma: Lesbian stereotypes
    Mr. Burns: age-ist?
    Smithers: gay stereotypes.

    Need I go on? I’m probably just adding more fuel for people to overeact to something. Its like people are LOOKING for things to be offended by. They WANT to be offended. Pretty soon we won’t be able to have any type of humor because it may be offensive to someone.

  • John A

    To Smee: as a member of the Pirates Union Local 381, it’s my duty to inform you that Pirate Neverlandians are not recognised as actual pirates and are classified as freelance or temp pirates and consequently, freely open to ridicule. On the respect chart, they rank just above Gilbert and Sullivan characters and slightly below guys that steal cable. Also, since pirates generally come from a fairly diverse collection of ethnic backgrounds, identification of any specific minority status or claims of any protection thereof has been universally rendered moot. I don’t even want to get into the fact , Smee, that you’re only a fictional character, and since libel laws only protect those that are actually alive, I’m afraid your beef with the Disney Co. is groundless (unlike ours, which is 100% ground beef) Your case, like some of your peglegged brethren, have naught to stand on.

  • Andre

    I find it absolutely amazing how many people here have gotten so upset over a stupid article such as this. Instead of getting upset over the old cartoons let’s just explain it all once more that ethnic humor was a staple in entertainment for that period.
    I will always love the Disney cartoons, warts and all. They set the standard, they were the folks to compete with and they did a superb job. To keep pointing out all of the flaws (racist or otherwise) is a tremendous waste of time and energy. Hell, why doesn’t somebody put out a website listing every single ethnic stereotype in every short film and movie made since 1895?
    Personally, I’m more upset over the recent “Underdog” film and now this new abomination involving “Alvin and The Chipmunks” coming our way.
    And one more note. Louis Prima, Joe “Wingy” Manone, Sharkey Bonano, Paul Mares, Albert Brunies, and many other white New Orleans trumpet players from the 1920′s-30′s drew inspiration from their black contemporaries. Notably Joe “King” Oliver, Freddy Keppard, Oscar Celestin and most importantly, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. And that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps the people who wrote the article were confused because Prima tried to sound “black”.
    Then again, who knows?

  • BT

    I’ve long felt that Song of the South should be released on DVD. Just do it as a Walt Disney Treasure, include a documentary about the context in which it was made, we’re all adults and can understand it.

    But when I see something like this comments section I think, holy shit, no way. If you guys really can’t see what is offensive about the depiction of race relations in that movie, despite its great artistry, or especially about some of the other items on the list, then I don’t even know what to say other than “what the hell?” I can’t believe that more than one person actually claimed to love all of the characters on the list – even the shoeshining centaur and Mickey Mouse’s African savage friend. Are you kidding? Are we being Punk’d?

    I guess that “Li’l N*****” parody article linked to above was even more dead-on accurate than I realized at the time. This is seriously depressing.

  • Alex

    What I really find is offensive is all of the people getting mad when the depiction of Africans as servants or spear throwing looneys is called racist.

  • http://members.shaw.ca/petemslie/index.htm Pete Emslie

    I like to draw cartoons of scantily clad pretty gals, and for this I’ve been labeled sexist. I despise rap, and for this I’ve been labeled racist (despite the fact I love Ella, Nat and Sammy’s music). It seems we white, middle aged straight guys are always assumed to be bigots no matter what we say or do. As for me, I’m tired of walking on eggshells around idiots like these internet kiddies who have big chips on their shoulders, so I just say whatever I feel regardless of how it’s taken by those thin-skinned types. I’ don’t consider myself a racist or a sexist. I am, however, a CARTOONIST, and therefore an equal opportunity offender.

    (And for those I’ve just offended, I’ll let you seek some comfort by hugging my teddy bear, “Little Mo”…)

  • Rick

    This past spring, Robert Iger said they were considering a release of Song of the South on DVD. And yeah, it would give Leonard Maltin another paycheck. But who knows if they ever really will.

    I got to see the film last spring at a friend’s house. He picked up the film from ebay, a UK VHS release. Overall, I would say the film isn’t that bad. The animated stories are archtypical fables told throughout many cultures. A version of the Briar Patch tale traces back to a 10th century Middle English poem called the Fox and the Wolf, and it goes back even further.

    It is set in the South after the Civil War, but it’s not nearly as denigrating as the milieu of modern rap music. People work, and women have clothes on, and unless there was something in the pies, there were no drug references. I didn’t really get the sense that race relations were stellar throughout, but the bullies in the film were white male kids, the priviliged white kid has no issues running around with a black kid, and at the end when he needs someone, he yells out for Remus instead of his own father. And, they show Remus doesn’t have a perfect life, deflating the “Magic Negro” issue, IMO. I’m not sure what more they could do, since the story is told through the eyes of an 8-year-old.

    I’d guess the worst part would be the “blackface” sounding voice acting. And I can see where it wouldn’t be considered exactly beneficial to revive that speech pattern. But, as a historical piece, the voices fit the original novel it was based on, and those speech patterns did exist back then. And if you check on wikipedia, they talk extensively that even then Disney went to great lengths to try to not make a racist film. Walt was trying to include stories from black culture in his animation pantheon, which was a noble enough goal, IMO. The material is just difficult by today’s standards.

    Anyway, I would welcome a release, because in most respects, I think the film is unfairly maligned. And I loved those stories as a kid.

    And on Cracked, John Severin and Bill Ward were geniuses as artists. Cracked.com, I duno… it doesn’t have any of the spirit of the mazagine, just seems to be people trying to be funny and not quite hitting the funnybone.

  • http://members.shaw.ca/petemslie/index.htm Pete Emslie

    Well said, Rick. I grew up being able to see “Song of the South” several times in its periodic rereleases, before the Disney studio (under Eisner) decided to lock it up in the vault and throw away the key, hoping it would just disappear from the PC, ultraliberal public eye, lest it offend any more. In my assessment, having seen and loved the film as a kid, I knew that it was just about the sweetest film in favour of harmonious race relations as one could hope for, if one were only given the chance to see it. The friendship between that lonely, confused young white boy and the kindhearted old black sharecropper resonated with me then and it still resonates with me today. Anyone who believes it to be racist in intent is going through life with blinkers on. Assuming they’ve seen it, which of course, most of them haven’t, though that apparently hasn’t stopped them from condemning it…

  • Brianna Leigh

    i really don’t understand how disney is racist. Like seriously who notices that. .

  • Dr. Ivo Robotnik

    Loved the SomethingAwful article. ANIMATION FANS, WE SHALL OVERCOME!

  • DaVon M. Walker

    What I’ll say concerning this controversy is that on some of the racist cartoons I’m ambivalent on my stance on them, but on others I lean closer towards the anti side. So for me it all depends, aside from the fact that being black, I’m against most of these cartoons that may portray or depict my race in too much of such a negative light. Although I know that not everyone is against any cartoons that poke fun or take shots at their own race. I’m on the fence about this, because on the one hand, I can clearly see where some are coming from, why some don’t take to kindly to these. But then again, on the other hand, there were some fair points made about them in some cases for the purposes behind the seemingly mean-spiritedness. Therefore, for my aforementioned reasons, it’s harder for me to be somewhat agreeable on some than others.

  • Jani Myshtari

    One thing that gets forgotten a lot is that cinema as a whole was much more likely to use blatant racial stereotypes in the days that the article mostly talks about. Case in point, Breakfast at Tiffany’s won two Oscars and had Mickey Rooney as probably the most offensive Asian stereotype I’ve ever seen. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who saw that movie when it first came out didn’t bat an eyelash as Rooney channeled the Anti-Japanese propoganda films of WWII into a character that would become infamous for its racism in later years. It was a different time, though in many ways we haven’t come much farther, as it’s still acceptable to stereotype certain groups (muslims and arabs in particular). We should all probably lighten up though and take it for what it probably is: a cheap (but effective) way to sell movie tickets and DVD’s. If we all stopped rewarding racist stereotyping with our dollars and time, we’d certainly see a lot less of it portrayed in the media.