Are Walt Disney Animation Studios' movies racist?

Disney Animation movies have told stories from characters around the world, but very often with an American or western frame of reference. Are these fair retellings, or could Disney films be considered racist?

Yes, Disney movies are racist

Disney movies are racist because they fail to represent other cultures from the cultures' own perspective. They white-wash characters, take creative liberties with cultural stories and themes, and appropriate culture to serve their own ends.

Cultures are fetishized

Non-white characters are erased

Non-white characters are often turned into animals throughout their films, erasing their identity for much of the runtime

No, Disney movies are not racist

Disney movies are not racist because they try represent other cultures fairly. They do research to ensure they are portraying other cultures accurately, and have in recent years made efforts to correct racist portrayals from their past movies.

They seek advice

Since the 1990s, Disney has almost always worked with cultural consultants from the relevant groups when making stories about non-Western cultures.

It's complicated.

Disney animation constitutes over 50 films across nearly a century of filmmaking. The content of Disney films has changed, as have the political and social realities of the times the movies are being made. It is impossible to assign such a varied range of works and contexts the simple labels of "racist" or "not racist."
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This page was last edited on Friday, 22 Jan 2021 at 17:23 UTC