Walt Disney was no stranger to racialist and racist imagery. The former was comic convention, the latter was matter-of-fact. This 1949 story has our fabled mouse taking possession of a gift, Robinson Crusoe-style, of an African “boy” native. So in one swoop Disney covers racial stereotypes and servitude.
Other Disney faux pas included the Black Crows in Dumbo and buck-toothed Japanese in various propaganda films, and various other incidental characterizations. Cartoons will be cartoons, after all. But they tell us a lot about how Americans perceived otherness.
For more on the “dark side” of Walt’s productions, go here.
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