Mar 10, 2010

Song of the Simple Minded-Amanda Bonaiuto

Through out the films screened in last weeks class we saw a re-occurring theme of racial stereo types. There are various opinions on this matter. One contemporary thought that people at the time didn't realize that this was insulting or racist in anyway. The perspective at the time essentially was racist; for that time, this mindset was common. People were not educated enough to realize this perspective because of its historical context. Others might say that these film studios knew what they were doing because it is so blatantly represented. They might have known that they were labeling races with symbols and actions, but they may have not considered this to be morally wrong, which in turn reveals ignorance.

If you look at Song of the South by Disney, you'll notice the expression of Uncle Remus eyes and oddly plastered smile. It seems as though most black characters were portrayed this way at that time, henceforth suggesting simplemindedness or stupidity. As though suggesting low intelligence. The reason they stereotyped Uncle Remus like that was to portray him as a servant. He has a "Hi, what can I do for you?" type of attitude.

I'm curious as to how this affected the general public at the time. I feel as though many Caucasian people were ignorant to the blatant racism because that way of representation was all they knew. They weren't a victim of racist terms or representations themselves; therefore it didn't affect them as it did the races being subjected to these symbols and jokes. Did children watching these cartoons become racist because of them or were they just interpreting them as happy, childhood stories?


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