Disney has added new 'negative racial depictions' warnings to six of its classic films
via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

Some believe that old films, TV shows, music or books with out-of-date, offensive elements should be hidden from public view. While others think they should be used as valuable tools that help us learn from the past.


Disney has used both strategies to deal with films from its past with offensive material. Earlier this year, the company's CEO Bob Iger announced that its controversial 1946 film, "Song of The South" wouldn't be released on Disney+ streaming service because it's "just not appropriate in today's world."

via YouTube

"Song of the South" has been heavily criticized for its depiction of Black people working on a plantation at some nebulous point in the late 1800s. Critics say it presents "an idyllic, romanticized view of an American South that never was."

Films with offensive content that haven't been eliminated from Disney's streaming service are tagged with a warning message at the beginning. "This program is presented as originally created," the warning said. "It may contain outdated cultural depictions."

But now, Disney is going a step further by adding a longer warning to "Aristocats," (1970) "Dumbo," (1971) Peter Pan," (1953) "Lady and the Tramp," (1955) "Jungle Book" (1967) and "Swiss Family Robinson" (1960). the company has also created a website called Stories Matter, where some of the offensive material is discussed.

via Disney

"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures," the new label reads. "These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe."

The disclaimer ends with a link to Disney's Stories Matter website.

The Stories Matter site explains Disney's new push for greater inclusivity, openness to learning from the past, and goal of creating "a tomorrow that today can only dream of."

The site also explains why certain films were tagged with an advisory.

"Aristocats" received the advisory for a feline character that is a "racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth."

"Dumbo" received the advisory for multiple offenses, including an homage to minstrel shows and a scene where "faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like 'When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.'"

"Peter Pan" received its advisory for its depiction of "Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions."

"Swiss Family Robinson" has a disclaimer because of the film's pirates that are portrayed as a "stereotypical foreign menace."

"Jungle Book" also has the warning, but it's not explained on the Stories Matter site. The film has been criticized for King Louie, an ape character that's clearly a Black stereotype.

"Lady and the Tramp" isn't included on the Stories Matter site either, but received the warning most likely because of its Siamese cat characters that are anti-Asian stereotypes.

The films that have been tagged with new advisory warnings are all aimed at families. Hopefully, they inspire a conversation between parents and children about racism that will ensure that we don't make the same mistakes we've made in the past.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.