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I love Dumbo - Page 3

post #41 of 65
Originally Posted by coopnwhitsmommy
Hmmm Good Point. Teaching Opportunity...There is always at least one a day...most days hundreds if we take the time. So Tomorrows lesson will be about how some people don't treat others very nicly because they are different from themselves.
Here is the thing. I agree that we should take everything that comes our way and use it to teach our kids. But that doesn't make bad things ok. Do we continue to voluntarily expose our kids to racism so we can "talk about it"? Wouldn't it be better not to expose them to it and talk about it when you can't avoid (look around, there are plenty of opportunities)?

This argument just saddens me. There are so many of us who can't choose to just expose our kids to it and talk about it. Can you imagine what it does to the self image of children of color?

Think about it with any other principle. Would you let your child watch a violent movie and figure talking about violence being wrong enough? How about a movie that children smoked in? Sex? Even if you're talking, keeping an open dialogue, and believing that you are combatting the situation, a good portion of that hate and intolerance is being absorbed into your little one's mind.

I mean this respectfully, but the very fact that you think the racism in Dumbo is ok if you talk about it, is a sign of this type of racism being absorbed and deeply ingrained. We should be appalled at it, not considering it such a mild issue that we can talk about it and plug it in and watch it again. If the movie had subtle drug, violent, or other hateful messages we'd be appalled. So why is racism ok to watch over and over again?

I know this post doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is from the heart.... I hope it is taken as such.
post #42 of 65
Hi, I'm a lurker and I had no intention of posting anything on this site at all but I'm drawn to this topic. People get bent out of shape when it is suggested that they tolerate racism, or benefit from racism, may be racist, etc. and it's often because "Racism" is concept to some people instead of a fact of life that has to be dealt with on a daily basis. I am not white so Dumbo is a very loaded film and as much as I love the song "Baby Mine" as a person of color Dumbo ( and indeed a great deal of Loony Toons, Tom and Jerry, old Popeye) serve to remind me that society doesn't value my people, that we're comic relief, that we aren't important. I remember watching a Tom And Jerry cartoon with my sister, watching like passive sheep, and being surprised when my mom went ballistic and made an angry call to the tv station. The cartoon in question had a stereotypical mammy housekeeper. Now a white household might take the oportunity to use a cartoon like that as a "teaching moment", talk about racism and stereotypes, but in my house we were dealing with racism in real time, dealing with factors that impact our lives, the white parent has the luxury of only having to explain things. My mom had to protect her children, deal with with a local tv station, deal with the ongoing FACT that the world were she raises her children routinely disrespects them. The station pulled that cartoon after my mom's complaint. She made her corner of her world a little bit better for her kids. When I think of Dumbo I think of the crows, I think of my skin, I think of my mother and father, I think about being followed in stores by shopkeepers, I think about parents who warned their sons not to date me, I think how an asian child might bristle at the seemingly brief inclusion of the siamese cat in the Artistocats, that a mexican child might understand that Speedy Gonzalez is funny "because Mexicans are slow and lazy" that I, as a parent am charged with a job that differs from my white counterpart. I have to live in real time, in this real world, keeping a steely eye against the world for the sake of ths souls of my children.You can watch Dumbo and enjoy it , one can chuckle because a stork dosen't bring babies, you can use the cartoon discuss stereotypes, but be aware that you can do this because you are"lucky" in this world to be born without the "need" to worry about racism and confront it on a daily basis.
post #43 of 65
Thank you wildecent
post #44 of 65
wildecent I don't think I am alone is saying that is would be wonderful if you posted more. That was a very thoughtful reply and I for one learned something from it. Hope to see you around here more often :
post #45 of 65
Wow, wildecent.

WELCOME to mdc.
post #46 of 65
Thank you for a great post.
post #47 of 65
Wonderful post wildecent, thank you for that
post #48 of 65
Yes, wildecent, you have a great way with words. Thanks so much for your input! Welcome to MDC!
post #49 of 65
On a lighter note...Forgetting the whole Disney and sublimenal messages the one thing I particularly like about the movie Dumbo is when the storks drop off the babies. For adopted children it is a reminder that you can be loved and wanted beyond the one who gave birth to you. Just a thought I would like to point out. I think almost all childrens movies disney or not can be picked and pulled apart to hurt or offend someone. If you look for something long and hard enough you surely will. It doesn't make it right or justify it but there is hardly a movie out there that honors and portays all ethnic backgrounds, religios choice or lack there of, or family dynamic.
post #50 of 65
Right on, wildecent. That was very powerful. Thank you so much for that.

Welcome to MDC.
post #51 of 65
Originally Posted by Starr
It doesn't make it right or justify it but there is hardly a movie out there that honors and portays all ethnic backgrounds, religios choice or lack there of, or family dynamic.
Then that is a problem with our society that will surely not be remedied by continuing to watch, and excuse, the offending movies.

And one hardly has to look hard, or pick apart, to see the kind of blatant racism depicted in this particular movie, or the kind of racism and sexism depicted in other Disney movies. The fact that so many people are so desensitized to it is a testament to how out of whack our culture is.
post #52 of 65
to the OP- That was a really cute smart comment from your dc about storks.

On the movie itself- Dumbo was probably one of the most traumatizing movies of my childhood. My dd has never seen it. Maybe she'll see when she is older without me because I wouldn't want to watch it as an adult.
I didn't actually remember the racism until this thread.
I do remember vividly the adorable baby elephant being ridiculed and discriminated against from birth solely for his physical appearance. I remember him being ripped away from his mother- the only source of love and comfort in his world- and the mother in chains and isolated- only able to touch her baby with her truck through the bars of a cage- all because she was trying to protect her baby. The movie made me cry every single time. I remember the constant cruelty of the other elephants. I remember the drunken clowns and the scary drunken hallucination Dumbo had. The people who worked at the circus were scary and mean. The people who visited the circus were scary and mean. The only reason he gained acceptance was because he could fly (and became famous & rich). Many reasons not to watch the movie for me.
post #53 of 65
wildecent you said it all. Thank you
post #54 of 65
I don't think I've seen Dumbo in 20 years. I thought the crows were jazz singers and the clowns bums/white trash? I also remember that Dumbo gets drunk with the mouse and clowns? Ya gotta love old movie stereotypes. :

I watch a lot of old films, black & white --yk, really old. And there are not very many people of color in them at all who are not servants. it's hard- because Casablanca, for insance, is a really great movie, but Sam (play it, Sam) is still Rick's servant.

I think there is much history to be learned from old movies, but I can see how introducing children to stereotypes right off the bat isn't a good thing.
post #55 of 65
One does not have to pick apart or look hard to see problems with Dumbo.The aspects of the film we are discussing are not subliminal or hidden.
Those of us whose lives are negatively effected by media aren't in a position to throw up our hands and say "such is life..." If this thread had been titled "something funny my son said", or "storks don't bring babies" it might have had a different vibe than it does now. Saying "I love Dumbo" is, though the OP certainly didn't intend it, like throwing down a gauntlet to people like me who get hackles raised by the issues a film like this brings up. I opened this thread thinking it was going to be about an area of Brooklyn and ended up posting because it's too important to me to let people believe that a cartoon like this isn't a problem.
post #56 of 65
Thank you Wildecent. Your post was an amazing contribution to this thread .

Just a question though for those who allow their kids to watch media with racist messages/undertones and then discuss it, how do you do that with really young children? My oldest is 3.5, and I can't imagine how I would go about pointing out and discussing some of the subtle racism in Disney movies that previous posters have mentioned. She just wouldn't get it. And Disney movies are geared toward that age group, right?
post #57 of 65
I simply want to address Mere's question and not open myself up for debate.

Mere- I remember watching Dumbo as a child. And I too was sad angered over the movies plot. I remember crying and my mom asking me what was wrong. She then went on to point out that " the other elephants weren't being very nice to Dumbo, how does that make you feel?" and "How could they have been nicer to him?". Such questions like these made me realize that the things shown in the movie weren't appropriate but, as children and adults we don't need to follow and can choose how to react. Now I grew up watching every Disney movie I could an do not feel as though it had any negative long term effects on me. I think that as long as you ask questions as to what they thought of the movie, what was bad or what they would have changed, and these type of questions you are encouraging your child to view things with a more critical eye. They can also be used as learning tools and compared to day to day things such as "At the park when you didn't play with or were teasing so and so I bet her feelings were hurt. Remeber how Dumbo felt?" So while I do not excuse Disney movies I do feel that you can learn from them.
post #58 of 65
It's one thing to adress the actions of characters in a movie. It's an entirely different thing to try to address the negative stereotypes in most Disney movies. IMO, it is not appropriate material for my 4 year old. I don't want her buying into certain stereotypes, and some of them she has already started to pick up on, just from the way grownups around her believe in them (gender roles being a huge issue, and we just can't get away from it! It's everywhere you go, in everything you see, everything you do.).
post #59 of 65
Yes, stafl, ITA- Disney/media images are a huge can'o'worms! I find myself watching children's programming often, although my son is still too young for it IMO, to get a feel ahead of time about the messages I will be teaching him via tv/movies. Sometimes, I guess I could be overthinking it (maybe) but if I have, the worst thing that will come out of it is that my son has viewed less tv/movies. Oh well! :LOL
post #60 of 65
white trash
On a side note, can we, the humans of the world, agree to stop saying white trash? As if any people are trash, A, and B - what exactly is regular trash? Black? Brown? This particular saying just bugs the daylights out of me.

Oh, and to the OP - hurray for kids who know where babies come from! Why some people are determined to think up bizarre myths about human reproduction (storks, cabbage patches, etc) is beyond me.
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