Racism in Disney's Aladdin Essay

976 Words Aug 1st, 2008 4 Pages
Racism: discrimination which exemplifies stereotypical differences between the ethnic groups to which people belong. While Disney animated films are the ideal family movies, it is undisclosed to many that such racism is being portrayed. Disney’s movie Aladdin (1992), “was a high-profile release, the winner of two Academy Awards, and one of the most successful Disney films ever produced” (Giroux, 104); however, what is often disregarded is the obvious depiction of careless racism towards Arabs seen in the illustrations of the characters, the statuses into which they are placed and the lyrics of the opening song near beginning of the film. Furthermore, with the movie disguising itself as innocent and wholesome, children are exposed to these …show more content…
The portrayal of the Arab race in the Aladdin is not reality, nor is the white supremacy we can find in the status of the characters. It is classic for the hero to be a white male whereas other characters such as evil villains are of a minority race. For the bulk of Disney’s animated films, if minorities are not the villains or those of lower class, there are none being represented in the movie at all. In Aladdin, although Jasmine and Aladdin are positive Arab characters, they speak standard American English, as opposed to the heavily-accented English of the evil characters such as Jafar. It is classic for the hero to be depicted as a white male whereas other characters, such as evil villains, are of a minority race.

At a very young age, children learn stereotypes and attitudes about race from the world around them. That world includes books and media images such as television and movies that children encounter on a regular basis. These animated films are often perceived as innocent and wholesome. Yet, “One can’t help wondering what is wholesome about Disney’s overt racism toward Arabs displayed in Aladdin” (86). The film is racist in its false depiction of the Middle East, showing that it is riddled with casual violence.

Written by Dianne Hawthorne

Works Cited

Disney, Walt. Aladdin. Dir. Ron Clements and John Musker. Prod. Ron Clements and John Musker. VHS. Buena Vista Home Video,1992.

Giroux, Henry.

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