The pandemic relieves us of a lot of guilt when we choose to indulge in television series and movie marathons in our spare time. Many families with kids (and even those without) are probably enjoying Disney’s relatively new streaming platform Disney+, which allows us to watch all the classics as well as more contemporary content.
That said, the sharp rise in awareness surrounding social injustice and racial discrimination over the past years has made it hard to ignore the outdated tropes and stereotypes featured in old Disney films.
Disney+ already added content warnings to flag some of the racist content it had produced in previous years last fall. For anything deemed racist or xenophobic, there is an unskippable 12-second message that reads: “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. 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.”
Now, Disney+ takes it a step further. Kids’ profiles will no longer be able to view shows or films that feature racist content.
Some notable titles affected by this change include Peter Pan, Aristocats, The Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo, and The Jungle Book. However, Kids profiles still have access to the sequels of Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, and The Lady and the Tramp because they are much less problematic.
The idea is not to erase the past but to acknowledge and learn from it. Disney+ hopes that parents and guardians will be better equipped to explain and contextualize the hurtful stereotypes that are seen in these movies and be able to discuss them with their children in an effort to create a more inclusive future.