In this conversation, Abate Anne Michele discusses her essay “Do You Want To Build on Racist Tradition?” Journal of Popular Culture published the essay.
Michele’s essay examines racial stereotypes about African Americans in Disney movies. Michelle is trying to correct an article that previously addressed the depiction of African Americans within Disney films. Because it gives unique insight on the portrayal of blacks in Disney films, this work could be published in an humanities journal.
Michelle offers sufficient information to prove that African Americans in Disney films are significantly underrepresented. Michelle claims that Disney movies are often associated with ethnic and racial minorities traits. Michelle Abate claims that Olaf descends from BFM. He shares behavioral characteristics with minstrels like ignorance and naivety (Michelle 1058-1070). He believes that, even though he’s a snowman he doesn’t melt under the sun. He also dances and tells jokes as a minstrel. Frozen’s main source of entertainment is Olaf. His song, “In Summer”, is a sung that recalls jazz and blues. Michelle Abate says that Olaf is an acronym for large penis. This could be related to the sexual orientation and gender of the zip-coon (Michelle 1071). There are so many commonalities between Olaf and BFM’s performers, that it is worth considering whether he could be a blackface character. Olaf is a great way to hide the racism he symbolises.
Frozen’s negative portrayals of racial groups was harder than in other Disney films. However, this is not because there are so many positive reviews and comments. Olaf the snowman who isfriended by the protagonists does not appear to be of African descent. His performance musically is very similar black music, blackface minstrelsy and even though he does not have the traditional characteristics of African American characters like skin color or Vernacular English. Blackface is a racial stereotype that has no bounds. This stereotype is universal across media platforms and decades. No matter if blackface is used in the Disney entertainment business by minstrels or performers of theatrical satire, it doesn’t matter.
Each of these men are powerful and equally influential. This allows whites to directly engage in depicting African Americans. It is a powerful yet deadly tool. Accent control is a key skill of white actors. They choose how their work is received. Like in the past blackface is still a type of entertainment that appeals mainly to white audiences. This includes the mocking and ridiculing of African Americans. Blackface minstrelsy is identical to blackface animations. They are both used to decide the leader or follower.
Their characters are characterized by a mental inequality that makes African-Americans both important and positive. They are entertaining and this simultaneously emphasizes the characters’ inferiority.