September 01, 2011

Boy sees racism in Peter Pan

A black woman writes about her son (nicknamed "Destruction") and his reaction to Peter Pan:

Peter Pan and What Makes The Red Man RedEven though I have a major beef with Disney, I quickly learned that there is no way to really avoid it and so I have sought to talk to my children about each movie critically. The kids recently watched Disney's Peter Pan for the first time. I decided to remain quiet throughout the movie to see what they would come up with on their own. Destruction squirmed as he watched, and I could tell he was uncomfortable, but he did not say anything until the end. As the credits rolled, he looked at me and said, "that's an awful lot of racism for one cartoon. What were they thinking?"

He was particularly concerned with the treatment of Native people. He pointed out that calling them savage is like calling them animals, and that the song What Makes the Red Man Red was one of the worst songs that he had ever heard. He further went on to point out that Captain Hook is a White man and that calling Natives, red men was absolutely racist. Can I take a moment to have a bit of Momma's pride? I knew that Destruction understood a good deal about racism as it applied to Black people, but I wasn't sure if he understood that racism is something that can happen to all people of colour until that moment. Even adults constantly miss this point, because inevitably conversations about race become a binary in which White and Black are constantly debated, while other minorities are specifically erased from the conversation. Race cannot be reduced to Blackness vs. Whiteness, but people of colour versus Whiteness or White supremacy.
Comment:  For more on Peter Pan, see Neverland Trailer and Canadian Theaters Rewrite Peter Pan.


Anonymous said...

Well, I hate to say "of the time", but...Song of the South? So not "of the time" as much as "typical".

T. Laurel Sulfate said...

Song of the South has not seen a release in any form in the US since the 1980s. Yet Peter Pan is still out there doing its damage. What an excellent illustration of how Rob described our attitude towards Native Americans in a later post:

"These people live out in the desert somewhere, worshiping rocks and trees, and living off welfare checks. We don't have to treat them like full-fledged Americans because they aren't...."

Shadow Wolf said...

So what Rob is doing here is keeping the racism alive by "paraphrasing" it, what good does that do for White people? Does it educates their ignorant minds by instilling the same racist tirades that Rob pretends to refute? Better yet, does the rehashing of false stereotypes help Native Americans at the behest of Rob's repeated racism? I don't think so.

He's just as "racist" as the Tea Pottiers he writes about.