Alexa Di Palermo
Take a moment and think back to your favorite childhood memories. Who was with you? More specifically…while you were cuddled in your favorite blanket, with whoever is most important to you, what were you watching? If you asked me this, my response would be Disney! Disney was a large part of not only my childhood, but almost everyone else’s I know. The company has grown to be a huge part of our lives.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to watch Disney’s “Fantasia” in the Hunt Union movie theatre. It was a very nostalgic time for me. I loved Disney growing up, so it made me feel like I was a kid again. I recognized the sound of almost all the songs played, I watched the images full of color bounce around.
For a child, (which was the age we all were when we watched the movie), it sparks creativity, and can motivate the younger generation to learn more about music. Maybe, even become musicians themselves. Things like seeing Mickey Mouse dance around or be involved in the performances creates excitement. This side of Disney’s “Fantasia” is one to love, one to reminisce on, and one to remember the importance of.
But, unfortunately, not all parts of the movie were equally motivating to all types of viewers. Some of the images portrayed to the music showed gender roles, and racism. With children being easily impressionable, a movie made to inspire children to better themselves should not be showing this kind of content.
These scenes included white characters being racist towards other characters. You see the white characters demanding work out of them and having them walk behind. This character gets stepped on, and happily continues to do work. This should not be something that is taught to children or meant to inspire them.
When I got home, I did my own research, and noticed that Disney has even recognized how wrong the racism in this movie is. The movie is still available to stream on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, but there is a warning that pops up before you watch the movie. The warning states that the actions in the film were not okay then and not okay now. Disney stated on the video warning, “Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge it’s harmful impact, learn from it, and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”
Overall, I can say the experience I had watching this film was a mixed one. Although it did bring me to a place where I was able to feel young again, and spark creativity in children, it also was a negative influence. The racism and gender roles portrayed in the film influence children to only fit into messed up “social standards” that are clearly not okay.
It is important to remember that although there are still negative influences out there, it is important to treat all people with kindness and respect. If you are reading this, you are loved!