Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment

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Title:

Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment

Author:

Douglas Brode

Date published:

2005

Publisher:

Austin: University of Texas Press

ISBN: 0292709234 (cloth : alk. paper), 0292709609 (pbk. : alk. paper)

Description


In this work the author argues that Disney’s output of films, television shows, theme parks, and spin-off items promoted diversity decades before such a concept gained popular currency in the 1990s. The author argues that Disney had a prophetic vision of an appealingly varied world, where each race respects the uniqueness of all the others while simultaneously celebrating a common human core. The author makes a case that Disney’s consistently positive presentation of “difference”, whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, or spirituality, provided the key paradigm for an eventual emergence of multiculturalism in our society. By using examples from dozens of films and TV programs, the author demonstrates that Disney entertainment has consistently portrayed Native Americans, African Americans, women, gays, individual acceptance of one’s sexual orientation, and alternatives to Judeo-Christian religious values in a highly positive light. Assuming a contrarian stance, the author  refutes the overwhelming body of “serious” criticism that dismisses Disney entertainment as racist and sexist. Instead, he reveals through close textual analysis how Disney introduced audiences to such politically correct principles as mainstream feminism. In so doing, the author challenges the popular perception of Disney fare as a bland diet of programming that people around the world either uncritically deem acceptable for their children or angrily revile as reactionary pabulum for the masses.  The author makes an argument that with an unwavering commitment to racial diversity and sexual difference, coupled with a vast global popularity, Disney entertainment enabled those successive generations of impressionable youth who experienced it to create today’s aura of multiculturalism and our politically correct value system.


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