Disney is cracking down on racism in classic animated films with a stronger message than the one initially circulated in 2019.
To be issued through Disney+, the company’s streaming service, the warnings will be applied to films such as Dumbo, Jungle Book, Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp. Each movie listed has at least once instance of racial insensitivity, but Disney is doing their part to let viewers know that the moments are not in alignment with their views.
The new message reads, “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
One example of why this label had to be placed on certain animated movies is in Dumbo (1941,) when one member of a group of crows is called “Jim Crow.” The voices of the entire flock caricatured Black speech. Additionally, the person who voiced Jim Crow—a set of laws that legalized segregation from 1865 until the Civil Rights era—was a white actor named Cliff Edwards.
Meanwhile, Jungle Book (1967) features an ape with poor speech who draws on racist stereotypes of Black people, Peter Pan (1953) refers to Indigenous peoples as “redskins” and Lady in the Tramp (1955) has siamese cats that portray insensitive ideas of what white people thought of Asians.