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In the 1940s, urban Americans, through their actions, changed the old forms of social life from a Victorian structure of a moral and responsible citizen to what some considered an eroding of the social order. Places like Coney Island reduce normal cultural practices to a freer and open-minded modern social Society. (Avila, p.3-4) However, Walt Disney’s vision of the world stayed in the past. His goal was to wipe out the new social impurities. Likewise, through his movie palaces and amusement parks, Disney reflected and reminded people of the national imperatives of expansion, and the ideology of the adventure of manifest destiny with the Frontiers, and a little of Fantasy for hope.
Disney created a world of a hometown, with its Main Street of stores and rides showing a neighborly connection, with new technology at the center of all of it. The future was also represented with more from a superordinate white position in Tomorrowland. (Avila, p.7-18)
What did Disneyland tell its visitors about racial ‘otherness’?
Disney took a step back from the realities of the social world and the nuclear family.
It reasserted the image of Disney’s vision of a time when the patriarchal family structure was dominant with white privilege and covert racialized representations with racism and discrimination, seeing whiteness as homogeneous. (Avila, p.17) Disney’s movies and TV entertainment contained many forms of racially insensitive material. Disney never publicly or privately made remarks about black or white superiority, but he stereotyped women and minorities in his work.
Especially, as Southern California became a Melting Pot of different culture groups wanting to maintain their Traditions. But Disney tried to undermine their political and economic power by conversely placing animation racial symbols of his belief in his works, enforcing whiteness homogeneous. In Disney’s movie Dumbo (1941), One bird was named ‘Jim Crow.’ (Avila, p. 113) and in ‘The Jungle Book’ (1967). (Avila, p. 113) He made the monkey’s look like a black person and very foolish and criminal. Likewise, Disney also showed Prejudice to the ‘Racial Otherness’ (Avila, p. 133), such as Asian Americans and Native Americans. In Peter Pan, the Native American cartoon characters were stereotyped as ‘savages’ who speak in monosyllables, yet in English, they called the white children ‘great white father.’ (Avila, p.113)
What lessons did Disneyland share with its visitors about the American past, present, and future?
Consequently, Disney had biases that showed in his work, including his Amusement parks, which relayed the message to its visitors of a superiority mythography of suburban whiteness and ‘cultural norms.’ from the past. (Avila, p.19-24) One can see this at Disneyland with the depiction of African Americans, Native Americans, Asian, and Latino Americans. Likewise, the same can be said about his view on women with men in a masculinity role. Disney’s past and present rides are based on detailed simulations and dreams that contain his most rooted biases about the world he lives in and his desire to control societal trends and reshape them.
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