Why Disney+ Removing Racist Titles From Their Kids Section Is A Good Move

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Disney+

Disney+ recently made the move to drop several classics from their kid's section, including Dumbo, Peter Pan, and The Aristocrats.

This move occurs as the famous books of Dr. Seuss are discontinuing six of their books over alleged racism. It also occurs during a time where the sequel to Space Jam is under fire because of Pepe Le Pew's perpetuation of rape culture and Speedy Gonzalez's stereotypical depiction of Mexican culture.

Our society re-examining some historically favorite classics, from books to shows and movies, is the right move. 

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Take for example, Pepe Le Pew.

While some celebrities have a problem with canceling him, such as Whoopi Goldberg, I believe we’re moving in the right direction getting rid of characters that perpetuate problematic systems. In many scenes, Pepe Le Pew forces himself onto Penelope Pussycat, who he is attracted to but mistakes as a skunk.

Penelope Pussycat is obviously uncomfortable with the situation. Throughout the entirety of the scenes, Penelope Pussycat attempts to escape Pepe Le Pew, who ultimately never gives up the chase. This scene not only perpetuates rape culture, but it normalizes sexual assault as it does not practice consent and makes a joke out of it.

Disney+ removing racist classics from the kid's section is also a good move as this allows kids to be exposed to selections that do not demean or disrespect diverse cultures. It also gives parents the opportunity to think twice before letting their kids watch a movie, especially when that movie has cultural appropriation in it. Disney should continue to re-examine their movies and not promote movies that carry inaccurate depictions of diverse cultures. 

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In fact, no childhood favorites should be above accountability at all.

Media is ultimately a reflection of the current times, and as we progress and attempt to move towards a liberated society, it’s important to ensure that our media is a reflection of that progress as well. 

While I do applaud the move to remove racist Disney classics from the kid's section, I also think there's more that Disney, Warner Bros. and many other entertainment companies can do to be an ally in this movement. 

I believe entertainment companies should continue casting diverse movies and characters. Uplifting and telling the stories of BIPOC people is crucial so young people can see themselves being depicted. For so many years, classic titles have always cast white folks as main characters.

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Now, in the age of racial awakening, they can use their platform to uplift Black and Brown stories. They can also participate in creating films that provide anti-racist education. There are plenty of resources out right now, including Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, that can serve as a basis for movies that target young folks. 

While it might be hurtful to see our favorite childhood classics getting slashed or canceled, it’s also important to remember that no one is above accountability. Media is a powerful tool and can have a great effect on our culture. So if our media carries a lot of racist symbolism or other problematic gestures, that will ultimately be perpetuated in our society.

As stated by Ibram X. Kendi, it's not enough to be "not racist", but you must be actively anti-racist. This is the only way forward.

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Angelique Beluso is a sex educator and writer who covers feminism, pop culture and relationship topics. Follow her @AngeliqueBeluso.