By RAYGAN LOPEZ
With current social justice movements and protests against police brutality toward people of color, change is needed and on the rise. Although civil rights laws were passed in the 1960s, racism has been ingrained into our culture. The modern movement has encouraged big named brands to bring awareness to this issue. Disney is one of these newly-enlightened brands.
Change is escorted by accountability. A prime example is Disney’s addition of a warning label for racial stereotypes in some of the company’s films. The 12-second disclaimer cannot be skipped and is played at the beginning of older films. It states to the audience that the racial stereotypes were wrong then and is wrong now. Disney’s disclaimer also expresses that, instead of removing content, Disney “wants to acknowledge [it’s] harmful impact.” Disney’s ultimate goal is to begin this conversation and create an inclusive future.
Children will soon lead future generations and Disney is at the forefront of producing childhood entertainment and memories. The accountability for past actions lets children know that it’s OK to make mistakes and be wrong, but also that it’s OK to change and grow from mistakes.
Times were different back then when these movies were being produced. Racial jokes were deemed as “entertainment” and “funny,” thus being ignored.
What children view will impact what they think is OK. Racism is not OK and never will be. Making a mockery of one’s appearance or culture can be very harmful to the future of children. What a child consumes in their formative years will affect their behavior as adults.
America’s built-in systematic racism has messed with the wrong generation. America is painted with different skin tones and framed by many beautiful cultures, and it’s important for children to know that.
Without holding oneself and others accountable, the needed change will never occur. Disney’s disclaimer is a steppingstone toward making up for a flawed history of allowing racial stereotyping in films.