Racism in Pocahontas Essay

1556 Words Apr 26th, 2006 7 Pages
Racism in Pocahontas

The film Pocahontas, produced by Walt Disney films, portrays the tension between the Powhatan tribe and English settlers during the establishment of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the "New World." In examining this film using the article "Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children's Books for Racism and Sexism," it quickly becomes apparent that although there are forms of racism as described in the article (what will be referred to as ‘traditional media racism'), the crux of the film's racism is beyond blatant stereotyping and marginalization. While the white settlers clearly have a conquering ideology laced with ideas of racial superiority, this attitude is offset by Powhatan's steadfast adherence
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The addition of these characters is seemingly harmless, but is significant as yet another example of how Disney carved history to fit their mold of a stereotypical heroine. To portray a historically inaccurate plotline in order to fit a cash-cow model of film plots is disrespectful to those who suffered as a result of history. Though there might have been rumors about John Smith and Pocahontas having a love affair before the film, the fact that Disney would perpetuate an unsubstantiated revision of history is all the more disrespectful. The most racist historical amendment to Pocahontas is the change in history at the end of the film. The movie portrays the settlers as making a quiet exit back to England, rather than forcibly extinguishing the native population and conquering the land. Here, the racism lies in what the filmmakers leave out, rather than actively portray. When the British settlers leave Virginia, they make no mention of when they will come back. It is implied by the film and thereby assumed by the viewer who does not know history the settlers never came back to Virginia, and the Powhatans and Anglos had a peaceful and happy ending. To not accurately depict the atrocities of the Anglo settlers does not do justice to the genocide suffered by the Native populations. By ignoring these slaughters, Disney erases them from history. While this affect an adult, this has

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