Whoopi Goldberg was named a Disney Legend at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California yesterday, and she made the most of the opportunity by telling a news reporter that she wants the Walt Disney Company to make available its groundbreaking 1946 effort, Song of the South.
The live-action/animation hybrid, set in the Reconstruction Era following the end of the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery, was taken out of circulation by Disney following its 1986 theatrical re-release, due to the perception that it was racially insensitive toward African-Americans.
There’s a good deal of hypocrisy in the Disney Company’s stance toward the film. Though it has hidden the film in the States, Disney has continued to make Song of the South available in foreign countries, which is even more bizarre considering that its subject matter is so deeply rooted in American history. Further, Disney continues to promote various characters from the film, most notably in its Splash Mountain theme park rides, and the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the film continues to remain an iconic part of the Disney musical canon.