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Black People, Can We Have An Honest Discussion About Disney?

Every black person's dream vacay is a den of racist tropes waiting to be checked

Finally! Splash Mountain is trending this afternoon on Twitter and it feels like Black people will awaken to a misguided Disney obsession.

Splash Mountain, one of Disney’s most popular rides, will be “completely reimagined,” the company announced on Thursday.

The log flume ride is based on the controversial 1946 film “Song of the South”.

Make no mistake, the ride isn’t going anywhere, however, it will be “re-themed” to star the characters from the 2009 animated film, “The Princess and the Frog,” which features Disney’s first Black princess.

The new changes to the ride will be implemented at Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom park in Florida.

Et tu Disney? Pander much?

Splash Mountain has been a staple attraction at Disney parks since its creation in 1989. For those who forgot to count, that’s a whole 31 years of convenient amnesia by Disney.

Dig Deeper

Walt Disney was hella slick.

He weaved racial stereotypes in almost every motion picture in his catalogue. Although, just one would have been damage enough.

“Song of the South”, which is best known for the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” features stereotypical and offensive portrayals of African Americans. It also romanticizes the antebellum South as not that bad.

Disney has kept the 1946 film in the vault for years. It also declined to include it among its new Disney+ streaming service library offerings.

More than 20,000 people signed an online petition on Change.org asking the company to change the ride’s theme from “Song of the South” to “Princess and the Frog.”

“While the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes,” the petition read. “There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need.”

This is cute but how about Walt Disney in general?

On Jan. 7, actress Meryl Streep gave a scathing criticism of the animator. During a National Board of Review presentation she dubbed the man a “bigot,” and called him a racist, sexist and supporter of anti-Semitism.

All facts.

Abigail Disney, the filmmaker/social activist grandniece of Walt Disney spoke on the topic via her Facebook page back in 2014.

“And if you are going to have mixed feelings about a family member (and we all do) take it from me, you really need to be as honest as possible about those feelings, or else you are going to lead yourself into many a blind alley in life!! … Anti-Semite? Check. Misogynist? OF COURSE!!

“Racist? C’mon he made a film (Jungle Book) about how you should stay ‘with your own kind’ at the height of the fight over segregation! As if the ‘King of the Jungle’ number wasn’t proof enough!! How much more information do you need?”

Still people of color view going to Disney World as a bastion of success. You know you are doing good in life if you can take a family trip to Disney every year, right?

Wrong.

Zip-a-Dee-Doomsday

Disney knew his cartoons were a great propaganda tool, why else was he so consistent in his racist messages?

The Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent protests sweeping the world have changed the conversation. Monuments to Confederate luminaries and pro-slavery stumpers are coming down by the day.

Overt optical racism feels like a video game level we’ve finally defeated en route to the big boss. However, the fact that conversations and introspection in Hollywood, regarding depictions of race in popular culture, is happening is awesome.

Black people curate culture and dictate trends on an unparalleled level. Still, we ingest “creative poison” on a high and tolerate disrespect of our heritage and culture.

The behemoth that the Walt Disney Company has become is not directly from Black people but we had a major part in it. This is before Beyonce’s deal and any other “Black celebrity” someone will parade in front of me to show me Disney’s newfound diversity.

However, the fact that conversations and introspection in Hollywood, regarding depictions of race in popular culture, is happening is awesome.

Black people curate culture and dictate trends on an unparalleled level. Still, we ingest “creative poison” on a high and tolerate disrespect of our heritage and culture.

The behemoth that the Walt Disney Company has become is not directly from Black people but we had a major part in it. This is before Beyonce’s deal and any other “Black celebrity” someone will parade in front of me to show me Disney’s newfound diversity.

Don’t you?

Anything less is a testament to the fact that corporate thinks that while protesting and being “woke” is chic, let’s add a log to the fire.

But that is a shenanigan.

Splash Mountain made this company millions of dollars and no one cared until now about it overtly racist bedrock.

That is because it is all conjecture. They are hoping this move rights an immediate wrong during a hot time. But it doesn’t fix the broader issue.

Walt Disney sells the American Dream and it is mired in the American nightmare. That the dream was conceived for a white reality and blackness is an intrusive interloper.

Still we spend money there and imbue our children with the same toxic principles of the brand as aspirational.

Disney says the new Splash Mountain concept is “inclusive” and “one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by. It speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year,” Disney said on Thursday.

The new ride, which the company has been working on since last year, will pick up the story of “Princess and the Frog” after “the final kiss”.

“Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important,” Disney said on Thursday. “It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou.”

Well Disney, let’s tackle the real frog in the room, your racist namesake. That would be a real first step in the right direction.

Anything less requires the frog’s kiss of economic death of our Black dollars.

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