Disney is putting in the work to promote diversity and inclusion. The newest move in their effort is hiding certain movies on children’s Disney+ profiles because of negative cultural expression, like racist stereotypes.
The Aristocats, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Swiss Family Robinson have been moved to a 6+ rating and are only a few of the movies unavailable to kids. Disney+ also hides PG-rated Disney films. The films are still available on standard Disney+ profiles with a content advisory warning and directs viewers to www.disney.com/StoriesMatter.
You might be thinking, "I don't remember racist stereotypes in Aristocats." We didn't know what they were as kids. Besides, they were the norm for so long. These cultural caricatures were definitely a sign of the times because we wouldn't see them now.
Let's jog your childhood and make this awkward.
The Aristocats, 1970
The Asian stereotype of buck teeth and slanted eyes was pretty common in Hollywood. Plus, they mock the character's bad english and language with the lyrics “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.” And the cat is playing the piano with chopsticks. Uuuugh.
The crows and the song are in the style of minstrel shows. I mean, the main crow's name is Jim Crow, which was the same name of segregation laws in the South.
Peter Pan, 1953
WHERE TO START. The Native peoples depiction is so offensive, especially calling them "redskins". It's one big exaggeration of native culture from the fake mumble language to the dancing and headdresses.
Swiss Family Robinson, 1960
It's one messy hodgepodge of making the pirates look like scary foreigners. Men in black or yellow face wear topknots and ethnic-looking headwear. The language they speak isn't even real!
These movies are still worth watching but we have to see them through a new lens to have teachable moments with our kids. I appreciate what Disney is doing to forge real diversity and inclusion while acknowledging their past mistakes.
See more examples of problematic moments in Disney history below.