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Author Topic: No Song of the South for awhile
vampyrviolia
Happy Holly Days


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http://www.songofthesouth.net/news/index.html
Sensitivity-- grr

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I watched it last year for the first time since I was a kid (I was living in Asia, where it is available on DVD - it didn't look like a bootleg copy but who knows), and while I can see why parts of it are problematic, I'm persuaded that it isn't racist. Especially not from the perspective of kids today who'd be likely to watch it, who are probably too young to have learned about the thorny issues at hand in school and definitely too young to remember them firsthand.

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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James G.
Xboxing Day


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Errm, while I've never seen it I've been reading around and have to say that I think Disney is doing the right thing. While obviously these things need to be understood in a historical context (Although I don't think that should allow them to necessarily be excused) today is not that context, and releasing something on Disney DVD is not a suitable medium for presenting it within that context.

Now understand that I've never seen it, (Although I recall the trailer at the beginning of several VHS tapes, it was released in Europe, which Disney presumably felt far enough removed from the 'sensitivities'.) so its not that I'm having part of my childhood 'lost.' But at the same time, if you are to be releasing the DVD, under the same label under which you are realising 'The Lion King' and 'Cinderella' then it has to be evaluated under modern a context. Disney will not wish to be seen to promoting such ideas, however acceptable they may have been at time of the initial release.

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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But there really is no historical context to Song of the South. The exact time in which it takes place is deliberately obscured - the car in which the boy's family arrives at the farm is just about the only clue as to what decade it might be set in. Nothing much about the actors' clothes or how the characters interact with each other suggests that it's supposed to reflect a time or place that really existed. Of course, any portrayal of the South from that era is going to be uncomfortable, but it is a children's movie. There's a time and a place for social relevance, and a time and a place for a nice story that doesn't necessarily reflect reality.

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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gnome
Deck the Malls


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If I were them, I would release it with an introduction that discusses the context.
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Hobbes
I Saw Three Shipments


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I have a Japanese VHS copy that I bought in the imports section of Tower Records in the mid '90's, and it is one of my 2 year old's favorite videos to watch.

I agree with Ramblin'Dave "there is a time and a place for a nice story that doesn't necessarily reflect reality."

By the way...anybody see Bad Santa? (of course you did, even though you may not want to admit it.) It was released by Disney's subsidiary Miramax.

But, Song of the South...that's a little too contraversial, I don't think the viewing public is ready for that yet.

By the way, that copy of Song of the South on VHS, it is hilarious to watch the beginning previews where they advertise for a Japanese Disney theme park and all of the dialog is in Japanese except "Splash Mountain". (Apparently it doesn't translate well...)

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I guess it's controversial but, wow, am I the only one who saw it and thought "big whoop"? I just thought it was ok and certainly not worth buying. Maybe it would have made a difference if I'd seen it as a child? I mean I can forgive a lot when it's a movie that brings back some happy childhood memories!

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vampyrviolia
Happy Holly Days


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The. Right. Thing.
I saw it when it was briefly released in the mid 80's. yeah I was about 3, but I'm fairly sure I wasn't adversely affected by it. The part with the bull was a little scary, but that's about it. As I remember it I fail to see how it's supposed to be interpreted as anything other than just some cute flick from the 40's (30's?). There were no "Ideas" about anything in it and it certainly didn't promote slavery. What about Birth of a Nation? Hmm? I can easily find that if I wanted.
here's an intresting article about the whole controversy.
I feel that pretending it didn't exist is wrong, also since doing that is an injustice to the actors involved.
Hattie McDaniel
James Baskett
Bobby Driscoll
Among others.

quote:
Originally posted by James G.:
Errm, while I've never seen it I've been reading around and have to say that I think Disney is doing the right thing. While obviously these things need to be understood in a historical context (Although I don't think that should allow them to necessarily be excused) today is not that context, and releasing something on Disney DVD is not a suitable medium for presenting it within that context.

Now understand that I've never seen it, (Although I recall the trailer at the beginning of several VHS tapes, it was released in Europe, which Disney presumably felt far enough removed from the 'sensitivities'.) so its not that I'm having part of my childhood 'lost.' But at the same time, if you are to be releasing the DVD, under the same label under which you are realising 'The Lion King' and 'Cinderella' then it has to be evaluated under modern a context. Disney will not wish to be seen to promoting such ideas, however acceptable they may have been at time of the initial release.



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vampyrviolia
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes:
..snip..

But, Song of the South...that's a little too contraversial, I don't think the viewing public is ready for that yet.

snip

The public was ready 20 years ago, and 10 years before that. I guess I must be pretty stupid to not see the controversy.

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He grooms dogs too.

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Hobbes
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by vampyrviolia:
quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes:
..snip..

But, Song of the South...that's a little too contraversial, I don't think the viewing public is ready for that yet.

snip

The public was ready 20 years ago, and 10 years before that. I guess I must be pretty stupid to not see the controversy.
I'm sorry, I guess forgot to post ***WARNING, SARCASM AHEAD***

That's why I compared to an actual Mirimax/Disney release that was contraversial like 'Bad Santa'

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Not-exactly-a-chow, but almost. [Smile]
It starts out about the new "Brer Rabbit" DVD but evolves into a discussion about "The Song of the South."

ETA: I won't repeat everything I posted in that thread, but as others have implied in this thread, sometimes a children's movie is just a children's movie. I loved it when it was first released and my momma took me to see it. I only saw the love between the old Black man and the young White boy.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
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Michael Cole
Deck the Malls


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You can find it on DVD around, but it is generally the Asian copy.

EBay .au

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Advocatus Diaboli
Infiniti Gritty Dirt Band


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I haven't seen the movie but I do think it should be released to the general public. From what I heard the racism shown is problematic but not unusual or any worse than the era from which it was made it. I think some people are concerned that the *gasp* Disney company would be making money off something of that sort. What I would do, where I in charge of Disney would donate all/most profits from the sales of the to several civil rights groups. Gets this it out to the public and generates some free publicity and hopefully goodwill.

As a bonus if they pick the right civil rights groups for me they piss off some radical religious family groups and it's always a laugh to see them try and fail at taking on Disney.

A.D.

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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First, I never cared about "Song of the South". My dad took me to it when it was still being shown in theatres (but I can't say I remembered it). When my son was born he thought it was so great that he bought some bootleged copy of the film. I've been around it as an adult but never paided much attention to it. To me it falls into the same category as things like the Star Wars trilogy or Dune which my dad also subjected to me to when I was younger (and now owns even worse and longer versions of... or at least he does for Dune).

I sort of raised an eyebrow (as an adult) when I noticed that the girl and the black boy skipped through the woods without shoes when the white boy had shoes. I also thought that the whole premise of the poor white girl accepting a Remus tale instead of attending the white boys party just because her dress got dirty was rediculous. If Uncle Remus was so great why couldn't he just spot clean the garment? I know the tar baby thing might cause offense to some (who want to read something into it which I doubt many children would), but in the end (the bull incident) its the white boy who gets injured over his love for the black man (ok, that didn't sound too good either but I swear it comes across as innocent). Personally I hate the film. Although I hate it because it bores me to tears and not because I think its offensive. I love Mark Twain and I think there were times he's been more offensive.

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What is the use of women?"
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Hobbes
I Saw Three Shipments


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I didn't realize there were two threads going on this topic.

Link: http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/52/t/003363/p/1.html#000026

I posted this on the other thread...

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by bonethugzhoney80:
I just wondered what everyone's opinion was on this DVD coming out. I will post the link to the article talking about it. I keep seeing these commercials after I watch a "Black" show, such as "The Parkers" or a "Different World".

Link

It says it is being distributed by Universial Studios Home entertainment. Is that Disney?


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Like someone else said, Universal is not Disney, but if you a a search, you'll find that The Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group is a collection of Disney's main movie studios, made up of such production comapnies as:

-Walt Disney Pictures
-Touchstone Pictures
-Caravan Pictures
-Hollywood Pictures
-Dimension Films
-Miramax Films
-Pixar Animation Studios

I'm sure there nave been many more contraversial ones, but there are a few that come to my mind off the top of my head. (I mentioned Bad Santa in an earler post) As I recall, there were a couple more in the mid '90's 'Priest' (about a homosexual Catholic Priest; 'Kids' a movie that was about adolescense and growing up in the times we live in (incidently a large pervcentage of the story line revolves around the kids sex lives; and let's not forget 'Dogma' although it was without a doubt a very funny movie, Kevin Smith's portrayal of the Catholic Church was...let's just say less than flattering.

(I won't even get into some of the contraversial music that "Disney" has released under its' 'Hollywood' label...Google it if your interested)

I for one am totally against censorship and feel like the viewing audience will vote with their wallets in the end, and we don't need the movie/ entertainment police to decide what we should or should not see.

On another note, I found it interesting that in the new "Adventures of Brer Rabbit" that uncle Remus appears to not even be in the film at all. The other story posted said, "Nick Cannon stars as Brer Rabbit with support from Danny Glover as Brer Turtle, Wayne Brady as Brer Wolf, D.L. Hughley as Brer Fox and Wanda Sykes as Sister Moon in the video."

Maybe they should have talked to Isaac Hayes for the part of Uncle Remus...He could probably use a paycheck about now...

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"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
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TrishDaDish
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I did see it as a kid, and would love to see it again. Mainly as when I was a kid, I just sort of glazed over the live action stuff and just paid attention to the cartoon stuff. (Which I'm sure a lot of kids did - the "Who wants to see humans babbling in a Disney cartoon?" mentality was in a lot of our short attention span brains.) We had a book and record of just the stories, and I loved playng them over and over. Not once was I thinking, "Wow! The racism!" while listening to it. Then again, I was a little thing then, and had no concept of such things in my Sesame Street World.

But I would love to see now, to see what the main story was.

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Hobbes, if you'll go back up several posts, you'll see that I, too, posted a link to the other thread. There were some interesting posts in that thread.

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Conserning the Brer/Song of the South Stories I'm not sure if the cartoons like "tar baby" were less offensive than the live action bits.

Admitedly the film included a troubled marriage (white couple), a black servant (but mentor), a bunch of bull (I'm not sure how a large bull figures into the racist issue but it was the dramatic moment in the film), and a family coming to appreciate the, admitedly black, servant (that had already decided not to put up with their shit any longer till he found out that the stupid white kid nearly killed himself running after the him once the boy found out that he was leaving (forced to leave, do to the parents not liking his parables), and it was suggest the black man saved the kids life in the end.

"Song of the South" had some really odd seens, like when the poor white girl couldn't attend the rich white boys party because she got pushed into a mud puddle (by white male bullies)... and I guess that made her no longer acceptable to "correct" (i.e. more wealthy) society. But, intead of cleaning up her Sunday best the black Uncle Remus told odd stories about animals (fables with "values" I suppose but I still couldn't get past his lack of real action... the girl is near destroyed because her best dress was ruined and she couldn't attend a party she'd been looking forward to and he thought a fictional (but perhaps moral) story about a rabit and a bear would make thing better than cleaning and mending the garment.

Remus didn't really actively work for change aside from perhaps teaching the kids in cryptic stories. Perhaps that's the anti-racist moral of the story... but damn, it was subtle if it was there. Don't stand up to the grown-ups (grumps) until you decide to leave and your actions will only hurt the next generation that you've actually influenced).

Then there was that whole puppy v.s. lace value issue (the poor white girl had a cute, loveable puppy and the rich white boy had some expensive, pretty lace... each wanted what the other had and they traded).

I actually found the parts of the film I paid attention to confussing and forced rather than racist. I thought it was based more on gender and class than colour (after all the black servant was considered an inspiration and an acepted by all the main charters by the end of the movie) although I see how race was also thrown into the complex mix. Both the black kid and the female kid had no shoes while skipping through the woods "Zip-a-dee-doh-dah" (and as I mention the girl missed the party because she didn't look nice enough).

Sure the film is probably bigotted but it doesn't discrimenate in highly discriminatory ways (poor, black, female... they're all equal, but less equal than rich, white, males). Also, all animals are equal but some animals are more equal (rabits are more inteligent than foxes or bears).

Oh, wait... I get it now! Blacks are rabits, i.e. prey. Women are foxes, we'll some of us are. Whites are bears, the predators that eat the blacks. Wow! (just kidding, I still don't like the movie or see any real signicance in it... anyone can make meaning from a cow's ear and/or a bit of manure but I don't think there was all that much a racist point to SOTS.)

I'm not saying I don't think there was any social point but I'm not buying that the point was "blacks are inferrior"... in fact if I had to read meaning into it I'd probably guess the opposite and fear the people trying to make such a claim might pick up some Mark Twain and launch a protest.

I saw Song of the South as a kid and my dad bought a bootleged copy for my boy (my dad thinks its a great, "must see", film which I'll have to ask about), which stays at his house (but I still see bits and pieces of when we visit), and I fail to see what the big issue is. Well, I can concieve of a marketing gimick, limited release of a vaulted film but outside of that I can't see a problem.... at least for most of the current generation... read Mark Twain... if you go back a couple decades you're not likely to see curent PC terms (but, IMHO, PC or non isn't enough info for me to make a moral judgement). I realize societies and language change. Hiding the past isn't the best option either (IMHO). Due to some of my interest and involvement my (recently turned) 7 year old knows quite a bit about the "Trail of Tears" and I don't think its damaged him. (In fact I've recently had issues with my boy and he sang about the "silient graves" to his psychologist/the rapist (I mean therapist) didn't even see a problem with it.) I think the film would've been more powerful on conveying the message if they elected to shoot Uncle Remus rather than the town gathering around him and bringing an absentee parent back home.

Years ago "grovey" used to be "cool" but now even "cool" is becoming lame. I can see showing sensitivity but if you wait a decade or so and get your panties in a wad over word usage that's pretty daft... if you wait long enough before bitching about entertainment it will most likely be dead by the time you can find a soap box. Entertainment can show culture of the past (even the less pleasant bits). But most entertainment becomes obsolete quickly enough that it doesn't get much notice. Those that survive could offer interesting insight and I don't think should be something to be feared or compared directly to current social norm... and a realization of the concept of fiction might help as well.

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What is the use of women?"
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SmallTownKid
I Saw Three Shipments


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I'd just like to see it. I saw Zip-a-dee-do-da in a Disney Sing-along I watched as a kid, but I have no idea what the movie is about. I feel left out. [Frown]

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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quote:
But there really is no historical context to Song of the South.
And that, in large measure, is the problem. Show the film to a modern audience, and a good many of them will complain that Disney glossed over the harsh realities of slavery, or that Disney simply pretended slavery didn't exist. Either way, Disney loses.

- snopes

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bab5nutz
I Saw Three Shipments


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I notice that Birth of a Nation is readily available on DVD

I saw Song of the South as a kid, I think. Was there a scene in it, where the main character hates the lace collar his mother forces him to wear, and gives it to a little girl? I was about nine at the time, and certainly did not notice any racism.

OTOH, but the time I saw Gone With the Windat when I was 12, I was aware enough to notice the racism in it.

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Yeah he gives the girl the lace and he gets a puppy. Although I do want to mention that Uncle Remus wasn't a slave. Remember the reason the boy got hit by the bull was because he found out that uncle Remus had left. Although getting hit by the bull solved everything. It brought the community together in prayer, it got his parents to kiss and make up, it even got Uncle Remus back. So the story isn't about racisim. The moral of the story is getting hit by a bull can fix everything. I really can't believe how much of the film I can actually remember because I make no effort to pay attention to it when its on. I object to the film because its slow and boring.

I've even seen "Gone With The Wind" in a theatre (it gets shown peridically). I'm wondering if the difference with acceptance there is the fact that its not a childern's movie.

ETA: Or maybe its just a marketing thing with Disney and all their Limited time releases. However I do think by the time they start selling it anyone who wants a copy will probably already own one. I feel a lot less bad copying things that can't be purchased.

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"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

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snopes
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quote:
I've even seen "Gone With The Wind" in a theatre (it gets shown peridically). I'm wondering if the difference with acceptance there is the fact that its not a childern's movie.
I think the major difference is that Gone with the Wind is one of the top-grossing movies of all time, and Song of the South isn't.

- snopes

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aneee
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Hi to all, new to the board. My comment is are they going to shut down Splash Mountain because it reminds the older folk about the racism in the original movie? Sheesh, this is as ridiculous as taking Little Black Sambo out of all the Libraries. I read that book and did'nt find it racist in the slightest until my husband had to sit and point everything out to me. If we start Censoring like we have rewritten history in all of the educational systems in America, this Country is going to go to Hell in a Handbasket. My 2 cents.
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Chimera
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I wonder if Sambo's restuarants are still around. Ok, no point here but I just wonder how far the PC crowd has gone. Although even when I was a kid some people talked about them not being quite right.

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"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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According to this, the first and last Sambo's closed in 1982.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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quote:
My comment is are they going to shut down Splash Mountain because it reminds the older folk about the racism in the original movie?
No, because Disney was careful to use only characters from the animated portions of the film in the attraction.

- snopes

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candycane from strangers
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
posted by aneee
Sheesh, this is as ridiculous as taking Little Black Sambo out of all the Libraries. I read that book and did'nt find it racist in the slightest until my husband had to sit and point everything out to me. If we start Censoring like we have rewritten history in all of the educational systems in America, this Country is going to go to Hell in a Handbasket. My 2 cents.

I've never read Little Black Sambo myself (though I did see a copy of it when I visited Hannibal Missouri)but allow me to mention that just because you personally don't find something to be racist doesn't mean that it's not hurtful or offensive to the group of people it stereotypes. Also, I'm not sure I know what you mean by history having been rewritten in the educational systems of America.

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A: "You contributed to the deliquency of a minor in drag!"
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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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I miss the "real" Sambo's, I remember loving to go there when I was little. In Lincoln City there is still a Lil' Sambo's. It kind of reminds me of a bootleg restaurant - All the artwork inside is jungle like, with monkeys and a tiger and a little Indian boy, but it is obviously not what we think of when we think of "Sambo's". I believe that it used to be an "official" one until they all closed, then the local owners of the place took it from there and kept up the theme.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by candy from strangers:
I've never read Little Black Sambo myself (though I did see a copy of it when I visited Hannibal Missouri) but allow me to mention that just because you personally don't find something to be racist doesn't mean that it's not hurtful or offensive to the group of people it stereotypes.

In which case Little Black Sambo should be offensive only to those of Indian (as in subcontinent of) descent, not African-Americans, as the character is from India.

Not that I disagree with your main point about stereotypes being potentially hurtful.

Seaboe

ETA, for those who haven't read it, LBS is the story of a small boy who disobeys his father and goes off into the jungle alone. He gets chased by a tiger and manages to turn the tiger into butter.

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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quiltsbypam
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by SeaboeMuffinchucker:
quote:
Originally posted by candy from strangers:
I've never read Little Black Sambo myself (though I did see a copy of it when I visited Hannibal Missouri) but allow me to mention that just because you personally don't find something to be racist doesn't mean that it's not hurtful or offensive to the group of people it stereotypes.

In which case Little Black Sambo should be offensive only to those of Indian (as in subcontinent of) descent, not African-Americans, as the character is from India.

Not that I disagree with your main point about stereotypes being potentially hurtful.

Seaboe

ETA, for those who haven't read it, LBS is the story of a small boy who disobeys his father and goes off into the jungle alone. He gets chased by a tiger and manages to turn the tiger into butter.

DGD has a copy of that story, but the names have been updated. Now it's Mamaji, Papaji and little Babaji. Otherwise, it's the same story.

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"No Biblical hell could ever be worse than the state of perpetual inconsequence." Beatrice in Dangerous Beauty

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Franny
Jingle Bell Hock


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hijack - my grandparent's cat named Little Black Sambo died this month.

I was fourteen when they got him and indignant that they would give their cat such a racist name. My grandfather, RIP, brought out his copy of Little Black Sambo and read me the story. He explained to me that Sambo was only racist if used as an epithet.

Even thought I still don't like cats. I am sorry he died.

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aneee
"Repaint and thin no more!"


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As for rewritting history, they are taking out history as fast as they can rewrite the books here in sunny CA. I want to move. Please, Please, Please Ya'll, do not raise you're children in CA. The Liberalism is knee deep in the educational system not to mention our so-called government and Geubenator!! I will look up some specific rewrites and try to give reference. There are so many I don't know where to start. Give me a few days.
Hugs to all
Aneee

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Aneee, whatever gave you the idea that history wasn't biased?

All history is biased. All of it. Even choosing which facts to include in a time line creates bias.

The best and healthiest thing you can do is to read it all and make up your own mind what to believe.

How can you refute the arguments of those you disagree with if you do not know thoroughly what and why they believe what they do?

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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aneee, I'll be interested to see the examples you come up with. Not all re-writes of history are politically motivated; sometimes history books change because our understanding of history changes, or new information comes to light. For example, sometimes classified documents are unclassified after a sufficient amount of time passes.

In another example, my high-school history books talked about FDR's paralysis and use of leg braces and a wheelchair. My older brothers' history books didn't. FDR's paralysis was concealed during hs administration (with the cooperation of the press) and it took about 30 years for people to start writing about it openly. In fact, when I came home from school with that information, my mother refused to believe it.

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