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  #21  
Old 08 January 2013, 03:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordmaster View Post
Can I please, please, please call you Uncle Dave from now on?

Certainly, but I can't promise I can get my hands on another copy of the DVD...

The last time I saw it was in 2005, on the aforementioned copy I found in Taiwan (which I no longer own - my ex kept it when I went back to America). By that time I had read a number of critical pieces on its racial insensitivity (including the Snopes page on it), without being able to remember much about the movie itself. (I had seen it once when I was a kid - the 1986 re-release I'm guessing - but I barely remembered anything about it.) I found some of the criticisms well-founded, others not so much. For example, the birthday party scene where the black boy is conspicuously absent: on the DVD at least, that scene is literally only two or three seconds long and you have to be looking in advance to be fully aware of who is and isn't there. But the happiness-in-servitude aspect of it? Definitely real and definitely problematic at best.

Incidentally, my parents also had a copy of the DVD (no idea how or where they found it), and were always firmly of the belief that it wasn't racist at all. But as I've gotten older, I've found it harder all the time to avoid concluding that they are slightly racist themselves.
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  #22  
Old 08 January 2013, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Beejtronic View Post
It's on Youtube if anyone's interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BtjW7PW2z0.

I skimmed through it, but the parts I watched were pretty saccharine and boring. Not sure I'd bother watching the whole thing, really.
Yes, I found the link from the article and watched the first half-hour before getting fed up with it. I stopped at the point where the little white boy and the little black boy cement their friendship over a frog, during a touching scene when the little white boy wakes up in his comfy bed just as the little black boy comes in to bring him his basin of hot water for washing.

I didn't read the whole of the comment that the person posting the video made about it, but I noticed that he seems to have a completely opposite take from the person in the article snopes posted. He claims it was a blockbuster hit at the time, and was féted for its unusually progressive protrayal of white people and black people being friends on an "equal status". As long as the white people live in a mansion and the black people live in shacks and happily serve them, I suppose.
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  #23  
Old 08 January 2013, 02:25 PM
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The crows in Dumbo are definitely problematic, but I don't think kids pick up on that the same way they would something like a whole movie where poor black people are happily serving rich white people.

I loved Dumbo when I was a kid, but I only watched it once with my own kids. The crows, Dumbo getting drunk, and a few other things bothered me. It just wasn't one of the ones I wanted them to watch a lot and internalize in any way.
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  #24  
Old 08 January 2013, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Starla View Post
How did it differ from your expectations?
I was completely unaware it had a coherent, overarching plot. I thought it was a series of vignettes. I also thought the racism would be less subtle than it was.

Seaboe
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  #25  
Old 17 January 2013, 12:07 AM
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When I was about four or five years old, I first heard the song, "Zippidy-Do-Da" on an episode of the "Mickey Mouse Club," where the kids were on a hay ride singing that song. My playmates and I used to ride in a little red wagon mimiking that scene. I didn't know anything about the song's origin from "The Song of the South," and Uncle Remus until a few years later. I didn't consider the movie racist until the early '70s. It made a come back in 1972. All the commercials for the film stated "Uncle Remus is back!" One of my younger brothers used to joke "Uncle Remus is black!"

Barb Rainey
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  #26  
Old 17 January 2013, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by barbrainey View Post
When I was about four or five years old, I first heard the song, "Zippidy-Do-Da" on an episode of the "Mickey Mouse Club," where the kids were on a hay ride singing that song. My playmates and I used to ride in a little red wagon mimiking that scene. I didn't know anything about the song's origin from "The Song of the South," and Uncle Remus until a few years later. I didn't consider the movie racist until the early '70s. It made a come back in 1972. All the commercials for the film stated "Uncle Remus is back!" One of my younger brothers used to joke "Uncle Remus is black!"

Barb Rainey
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Joel Chandler Harris were friends (Twain once said he wished he'd written Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings). On one occasion, Twain talked the shy Harris into joining him onstage, and Harris traveled by train to the venue. Twain wrote that a welcoming crowd waited by the platform, and when Harris stepped off the train, Twain greeted him with "Welcome, Uncle Remus." And the kids in the crowd said in shock and disappointment, "He's white!"
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  #27  
Old 28 January 2013, 12:39 AM
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I haven't watched this movie yet, but I keep wondering if it really is that bad. I mean, people these days often cry "racism" even where there is none.
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  #28  
Old 28 January 2013, 12:48 AM
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Maybe if you don't have the cultural context it doesn't look too bad, but it really plays up some bad racial stereotypes (as if there was any other kind) from the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
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  #29  
Old 28 January 2013, 01:19 AM
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Well, I do have to watch it before I judge it. But I doubt some "stereotypes" would bother me that much.
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  #30  
Old 28 January 2013, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
Well, I do have to watch it before I judge it. But I doubt some "stereotypes" would bother me that much.
Not to be a horrid person, but I really doubt that you, as a likely Caucasian woman growing up in a country where there isn't a history of people of african descent being used as slaves and then discriminated against for over a century, would be the expert on what stereotypes might or might not be offensive and damaging to african-americans.
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  #31  
Old 28 January 2013, 02:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
Well, I do have to watch it before I judge it. But I doubt some "stereotypes" would bother me that much.
It is really not even a little bit about what bothers you.

-Tabby
the princess with claws
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  #32  
Old 28 January 2013, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
Not to be a horrid person, but I really doubt that you, as a likely Caucasian woman growing up in a country where there isn't a history of people of african descent being used as slaves and then discriminated against for over a century, would be the expert on what stereotypes might or might not be offensive and damaging to african-americans.
Maybe I'm not African American, but how does that make me unqualified to have an opinion? Or automatically ignorant about that group's history? And really, I'm sure there are black people out there, who don't consider this movie as the most evil thing, that Disney has ever done. Many people have watched "Song of the South" and rather see it as boring and sackarine than as racist. If I've understood it correctly, they don't even use the "stereotypes" as jokes, like many cartoons did in the same era. And even if it has stereotypes, shouldn't we just see this movie as a product of its time? It was made in 1946, when there still was segregation in many states, and it took place in the 1870s, a good seventy years even before that. So really, what did you expect from it?
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  #33  
Old 28 January 2013, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabbyclaw View Post
It is really not even a little bit about what bothers you.
So my opinion doesn't matter at all?
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  #34  
Old 28 January 2013, 09:08 AM
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No one has questioned your right to have an opinion. If you want your opinion to be taken more seriously then a good start might be to read other people's more carefully. In my opinion, that is.
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  #35  
Old 28 January 2013, 09:15 AM
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I beg to differ. Previous posters have pretty much said, that since I'm not African American, my opinion doesn't matter in this issue.
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  #36  
Old 28 January 2013, 09:22 AM
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That's not what previous posters have said.
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  #37  
Old 28 January 2013, 11:33 AM
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Ugh, now I know the answer to the thread title: Because it makes me sick to my stomach. I don't think the Americas have ever even come close to confronting their racist past, honestly. Ten African American presidents will never make up for the tens of millions who died in passage and in lifelong torture and the tens of millions more who would wait another century for real civil rights. If you make a movie about that time period and make it look like it was all fun and games and funny stories, it's racist, period.
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  #38  
Old 28 January 2013, 01:22 PM
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At the same time, I think that these things should be preserved exactly because they are a testament to the racist past - there are lessons to be learned there.

Also, there's such a thing as a work having aesthetic value in spite of its negative qualities. The animated shorts within Song of the South are some entertaining folklore. Context is key.

Groups like the Carolina Chocolate Drops are currently researching, preserving and performing some of the music from the blackface minstrelsy tradition. As their lead singer Rhiannon Giddens says (paraphrasing here from a live concert performance), "we don't get too much into the words, because there's some pretty negative stuff in there, but there's also some wonderful music and I think that it's important to recognize that these forms of entertainment were a real part of the cultural landscape for years."
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  #39  
Old 28 January 2013, 01:38 PM
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I don't understand that sentence: "We don't get much into the words." I don't understand how one can perform that kind of thing without recognizing that it's part of a horrific record of how one people abused another for 400 years. Unless it's helping us remember that fact then I don't have any real problem with letting it die.
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  #40  
Old 28 January 2013, 02:25 PM
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They do recognize it - they talk about it, put in its historical and cultural context, and perform what are some truly great tunes with the full understanding that the tunes grew out of a hateful and deeply racist culture.

Some they'll perform lyrics and all, others they'll do as instrumental pieces, depending on the nature of the original lyric, the setting of the performance, and sometimes even the makeup of the audience.
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