Disney Plus should not censor their past controversial content

Nearly a century after its foundation, the Walt Disney Company has grown to unprecedented heights in the entertainment industry, absorbing Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox and many more into its massive corporate amalgamation.  However, this iconic company’s long history is littered with the skeletons of blatant racism and outdated beliefs.  

Movies such as “Peter Pan” have come under fire for their use of racist stereotypes; in the film, a Native American-like Neverland tribe sings “What Makes the Red Man Red,” which — besides the problematic title — mocks Native American languages by including comical, gibberish words to represent the tribe’s language.  

Similarly, in “Dumbo,” Dumbo meets a black crow named “Jim Crow” whose exaggerated speech can be compared to that of white actors in minstrel shows.  

Even so, it must be recognized that Dumbo came out in 1941 — in the midst of World War II.  During this time, black and white troops were segregated from one another in the military, and black soldiers were mostly limited to combat support roles.  Segregation wouldn’t end for another 23 years. The decades between then and now are filled with great societal progress, but the atmosphere of the past cannot be ignored. 

With the release of Disney Plus, Disney has been forced to face this dark past and put disclaimers on their less tasteful work.  Now, their 10 million subscribers are simply warned that the movie they are watching “may contain outdated cultural depictions” while Disney still profits from having the movie on the app. 

However, this does not mean that Disney should take down these controversial movies — the entertainment industry’s racist past should not be erased from history.  This generation of binge-watchers should not forget about the mistakes and hardships of their ancestors; they must understand what has happened to prevent it from happening again.