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September 1996, Week 2


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Patrick McGann <[log in to unmask]>
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Patrick McGann <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 13 Sep 1996 09:20:16 -0400
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I've been silent so far on the issue of Disney and racism, primarily
because I haven't been on this list very long, but I feel compelled to
respond to David Desser's comments, especially when he writes:
> Is it racism if no one notices?  Do you, Simone, or others,
> really believe that kids, THE PRIMARY AUDIENCE FOR _THE LION KING_ have ANY
> idea who does the voices for animated characters?  That kids from 3 to say,
> 10 or 1, or older still, really have a clue who is black or white behind
> the screen or care if they do know ?
Does racism in a film always have to be overt, David?  Would you grant
that there's such a thing as covert racism that often goes unrecognized
and unacknowledged, and is just as devastating and problematical?  I
don't think of myself as a racist--in fact consciously work not to
be--and yet as a white male I find I still on occasion have racist
stereotypes and assumptions pop into my head unwarranted.  From a semitotic
perspective, culture "naturalizes" racism in subtle and unconscious ways
that become easy to take for granted--ways that we are exposed to early
on in our lives.  This may or may not be an issue in _The Lion King_, but
why automatically discount the possibility?
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