It's Okay if Everyone Was a White Supremacist

Jim Hill's argument for Disney's Song of the South is that we should let bygones be bygones and revive what is, essentially, an incurably racist minstrel show because, hey, everybody did it back than.  So that makes it okay!

That's a pretty weak argument, and if that's your schtick, you're on pretty thin ice.  That said....damn, those old cartoons were racist as hell.  What the bloody hell was wrong with these people?  To hell with them all, to hell with their Jim Crow cartoon characters, and to hell with all these loser apologists.

The younger generation today doesn't need "Song of the South" to be taught America's shameful, murderous past.  We already know.  And, besides, that cartoon sucks.  Disney's execs are right to bury their bigoted past.  They should burn every trace of it so nothing is left - Burn, Hollywood, Burn.

Edit 2:30pm: If anyone honestly believes racism is dead in this country...well, allow me to submit this news item for your consideration:

A move by Minnesota Republicans to repeal school integration laws resulted in heated debate about the decades-long program that aims to diversify schools in the Twin Cities metro area and Duluth. During a floor debate on elimination of desegregation programs Thursday, Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said, "I watched Minneapolis get destroyed, so I not only didn’t want my kids in the school system. I took them out of Minneapolis because they ruined our neighborhoods with integration and [de]segregation."

The past isn't dead, kids. It's not even past. The struggle for equality continues.


Heider said...

Making this would be denying the past. I don't think that any children should see it. But adults can understand the bad thing about it. Can see how stupid people were back then. And then the movie's focus chance: from a happy movie it turns to a racist view of the world. A hypocrite way to deal with people. But burn it... We must learn to deal with the past, to not make the same mistakes again. In a world without violence movies like Mononoke Hime should be burned too?

David said...

"And, besides, that cartoon sucks. Disney's execs are right to bury their bigoted past. They should burn every trace of it so nothing is left "


Hoping this is your little April Fool's joke.

Joel said...

What David said. Are you suggesting all the bad parts of history should be swept under the rug, and we all just pretend like they never happened?I, for one, find something useful in the ability to see how widespread and accepted such blatant racism used to be, that no one batted an eyelash at its inclusion in a children's film.

I don't think Jim Hill is suggesting SOTS become a kid's staple, but as a piece of film history, it should certainly be preserved, alongside the troubling portrayals of race in Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany's, the list goes on.

He who forgets history is doomed to repeat it, they say. What a weird, angry post.

Mike said...

Ditto to all the comments above. I wouldn't dare show a young, impressionable kid Song of the South -- let alone a twisted, patronizing, recent Disney fantasy like Pocahontas. But to sweep them under the rug is to act like they never happened. As the damned creepy Minneapolis story demonstrates, we have a long way to go. Movies like SOTS have to stick around so we can use them as a case against segregationist loons and bring civil-rights disasters, old and new, to national attention.

P.S. The cartoon is excellent. You can't deny the craftsmanship and good acting, if nothing else. Keep your attitude in check before you become to anime what John K is to Bob Clampett.

The Animation Cynic said...

I thoroughly agree with the comments above, especially in regards to the dangers of "sweeping things under the rug" and pretending the the uglier parts of history never happened. I think Song of the South is just as worthy of study as the other Disney films are, but certainly for different reasons. I, for one, wish it would get a proper release in the US, with some special features, of course, that explain its context and why it turned out the way it did.

Also, in regards to your site heading, "Song o/t South: Happy Slaves, Minstrel Songs, and Tar Babies... WTF?!", I feel the need to point out that Uncle Remus and the other black characters in the film are not slaves, as the film takes place after the Civil War; I believe it's most likely that they are sharecroppers or paid plantation workers.

gregory said...

just found your great blog. was churning through it and stopped dead here. I totally agree with everyone above: hiding the past is not dealing with it. The film is not mean-spirited or purposely disrespectful as, say, some of the WB cartoons from then.

Dare I ask what you think of COONSKIN?

jFan said...

Similarly, should Warner Bros. burn all of their racist output (which dwarfs Disney's in quantity and sometimes mean-spiritedness) regardless of historical significance or context? Absolutely not. Really, Daniel, I feel like you should know better.
P.S. I would like to second Mike's opinion. Think of Michael Sporn; unbiased, and recognizes craftsmanship from any source.

More Ghibli Blog Posts To Discover