Disney's Streaming Service To Cut Out (Some) Racism

Disney's Streaming Service To Cut Out (Some) Racism

Paving the way for a future in which you're only allowed to leave the house in order to visit theme parks and see movies about avenging stuff, Disney is set to launch their much-ballyhooed streaming service, Disney+. While the new site is promising to feature original content, such as Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian and a remake of Three Men And A Baby (hopefully also set in the Star Wars universe), the big draw is obviously Disney's catalog of classic films / electronic babysitters.

But while the company has promised to crack open its vault, Danny-Ocean-style, there will be some notable absences in the lineup of feature films. And yeah, it's the old racist stuff.

It was recently announced that the famously controversial Song Of The South won't be included on Disney+. It's not exactly surprising that the story of how cartoonishly awesome post-Civil-War plantations were for black people would be viewed as wildly screwed up in 2019 -- though as we've pointed out before, it was always screwed up, and was even picketed upon release in 1946. Still, some, including Whoopi Goldberg, have argued for making the film available "so we can talk about what it was and where it came from and why it came out."

Disney's Streaming Service To Cut Out (Some) Racism
Walt Disney Productions/RKO Radio Pictures
Uh, they could always make a "Historically Relevant Abominations" section?

And Song Of The South isn't the only sordid remnant of Disney's past being ignored by the streaming service. According to reports, Disney+'s version of Dumbo won't include the crow scene, which features a minstrel-like character literally named Jim Crow, after America's racial segregation laws. Even the recent Tim Burton remake nixed that, presumably replacing it with some kind of CGI Johnny Depp monstrosity. Though all this raises a question: Where does Disney draw the line?

There's a ton of racist scenes in other Disney films, from Tiger Lily's stereotypical tribe in Peter Pan to the scheming Siamese cats in Lady And The Tramp. Is Disney going to excise those from its service? Or include some kind of bonus feature that outlines the context for why those scenes were made in the first place and why they're no longer considered acceptable? Or perhaps the company currently figuring out how best to modernize the story of Ted Danson mistaking an infant for a bag of heroin isn't the best place to turn for a nuanced discussion of race in America.

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