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Does anyone find SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946) offensive...?

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This movie isn't that hard to find and get a copy, but here is the thing, it isn't that good of a movie to begin with. Even if you take out the racist reasons the rest falls flat. Disney could have made this movie against racism if they wanted but as has been pointed out they used stereotypes and went along with all the others of the time.

 

They could have made the husband want to leave because he didn't like the slavery issue but they completely left out the whys of it all. Like this is the way it always is, singing happy slaves on a plantation taking orders from grandmother slave owner. When the wife tells Uncle Remus not to talk to her child anymore it is Uncle Remus that has to leave. Disney even used the slave dialect in the wise-cracking voices of the rabbit, fox and bear to make them seem dumb. The tbaby episode is really bad, the rabbit will beat up the black tbaby because he won't speak back to him.

 

The only glimmer of hope in this movie is the ending where the different children are together and happy. As though none of this even matters and they only want to be together and don't care what race is.

 

This is why Disney does not release it on DVD here, they see what some of us see in this movie. The money they would make off the DVDs would not be worth the bad publicity of profiting from stereotyping. i think what sets this movie apart from some of the others mentioned is this one is directed at children.

I don't think your comments are exactly correct. The problem the NAACP seems to have with it is that there are positive relations between the ex-slaves and a land owning family. There are plenty of examples today in many cultures where poor families work hard to survive and still manage to have positive relations with the boss and the company that employs them. Why shouldn't Remus and Tempy have a good relationship with the grandmother-- she seems like a kind woman that people look up to for many different reasons. And there were many ex-slaves that did not leave the plantation just because the war had ended. Some of them chose, demonstrating their own free will, to stay.

 

The children get along throughout the picture (with the exception of the bullies). Johnny, Ginny and Toby are childhood playmates and we see this in many scenes, not just the ending. 

 

Someone else mentioned that Disney should sell the rights off to a separate company. But I do not see them doing that. There is still plenty of money to be made on sales of this film in second- and third-world markets. If it wasn't lucrative, they would not be releasing it outside the U.S. 

 

With regards to the stereotypes, I am going to post an excellent comment I found on the IMDB by someone who identifies himself as black who says he is not offended by the stereotypes-- in fact, he suggests that there are worse stereotypes about black men in more modern movies about gangs and drugs.

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In a nutshell, yes, I do. (I would analyze the film to show the specific reasons why, but that would take up a lot of space.) Forget all the arguments about context and comparable films that are just as problematic when it comes to race, or that people have a right to see the film and judge for themselves. I'm not in favor of banning movies altogether, but I do believe that releasing it would cause more issues than people would be willing to deal with. Piggybacking off of what was said earlier, I do think that the fact that this was a children's/family movie just adds to the controversy. Parents would have to either give their children a crash course in race relations and filmic stereotyping just to watch it, or not show it to them altogether. Furthermore, just because something is "not as" offensive as previous films or subsequent films (a subjective statement by any means) doesn't mean that the images therein aren't problematic or hurtful.

 

Think about it this way: this is a postwar film. Film makers were starting to experiment with new themes and subject matter. How must it have felt to returning African-American soldiers and their families, to come back and experience the same old treatment not only in practice, but on film as well?

 

The argument here is not just about banning a film that "some" people may find objectionable. It's about acknowledging the role that certain films have played in establishing views of, and attitudes towards, specific groups of people in an historical context. I think another unspoken issue here is the lack of understanding as to why others would find it offensive, or rationalizing why the film should be released while ignoring/understating the offended group's reaction. With all due respect, when someone makes the statement that they don't find the film racist or offensive (however it may be), one is, knowingly or not, negating the experiences of those who do.

 

And for the record, I've actually seen it, so my opinions don't arise from simple hearsay, reading articles, seeing clips, etc.

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Who the hell could possibly be offended by SONG OF THE SOUTH?!?!  Are these same people offended by the endless portrayal of blacks as thugs and hookers in Hollywood?  Because if they are, no one's paying any attention.

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Who the hell could possibly be offended by SONG OF THE SOUTH?!?!  Are these same people offended by the endless portrayal of blacks as thugs and hookers in Hollywood?  Because if they are, no one's paying any attention.

 

So you're really that clueless that you can't understand why someone would find the movie offensive?   It is one thing to disagree with their POV but to not even understand why they might feel the way they do is something else.     Who the hell couldn't possible understand that.   You I guess.

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Who the hell could possibly be offended by SONG OF THE SOUTH?!?! 

 

I don't know.

 

Who?

 

All I know is that Disney stopped releasing it in America, but still release it in Europe.

 

Why did they stop releasing it in America?

 

I've never heard anyone complain about it.

 

Complaints about it seem to be assumed, but where are they? Who complains?

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Complaints about it seem to be assumed, but where are they? Who complains?

 

Upon it's initial release, several ranking members of the NAACP were highly critical. The black press, such as Richard Dier in The Afro-American, wrote that he was "thoroughly disgusted" by the film for being "as vicious a piece of propaganda for white supremacy as Hollywood ever produced".

 

So, I guess there have been some complaints for real.

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It does come with a history of offensive stereotypes before (and after) it, though it is

not as offensive as some other movies. Uncle Remus is still playing a subservient role,

however carefree he might seem.

 

Canada Lee in Lifeboat plays a dignified character in that movie, though it is a supporting

role and race is pretty much kept in the background, even with the pill-popping ubermensch

Willie on board.

 

Rex Ingram played dignified black characters in the Cary Grant-Jean Arthur-Ronald Colman film "The Talk of the Town" (1942) and the 1943 Humphrey Bogart war film "Sahara."  And if anyone deserves consideration for a "Summer Under the Stars" tribute next year, it's Ingram (see: "The Thief of Bagdad," "The Green Pastures," "Cabin in the Sky," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" -- the Mickey Rooney version -- and "The Emperor Jones").

 

As for "Song of the South," even the name Uncle Remus is irritating. But not as irritating as the stereotypical crows in "Dumbo."

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf0-2Qx5P14

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Rex Ingram played dignified black characters in the Cary Grant-Jean Arthur-Ronald Colman film "The Talk of the Town" (1942) and the 1943 Humphrey Bogart war film "Sahara."  And if anyone deserves consideration for a "Summer Under the Stars" tribute next year, it's Ingram (see: "The Thief of Bagdad," "The Green Pastures," "Cabin in the Sky," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" -- the Mickey Rooney version -- and "The Emperor Jones").

 

As for "Song of the South," even the name Uncle Remus is irritating. But not as irritating as the stereotypical crows in "Dumbo."

 

 

 

There were crows portrayed as Mexicans so does it offend black Mexicans??

 

foghorn5.jpg

 

 

Wonder who does the black and white magpies "Heckle and Jeckle" offend?

 

heckle_and_jeckle__thumb.jpg

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Probably. Mexicans in general weren't so crazy about the Frito Bandito, either. Or Go-Go Gomez from the old "Dick Tracy" cartoons. As for Speedy Gonzales, only heaven knows how he lasted for so long!

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Probably. Mexicans weren't so crazy about the Frito Bandito, either. Or Go-Go Gomez on the old Dick Tracy cartoons. As for Speedy Gonzalez, only heaven knows how he got away with it for so long.

 

Speedy Gonzales always outwits, outruns his pursuers.  Is being smart bad?

 

Foghorn Leghorn speaks with a stereotypically Southern accent, in other words has a "good ole boy" speaking style. I don't hear complaints from people of the South.  LOL!

 

Foghorn_Leghorn.png

Edited by hamradio

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Speedy Gonzales always outwits, outruns his pursuers.  Is being smart bad?

 

If it's a smart stereotype? YES!!! But you don't see too many of those.

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If it's a smart stereotype? YES!!! But you don't see too many of those.

Bet you didn't know this.  Had a bad link so Google Speedy Gonzales Relationship with Latino Community.

 

Here are a couple of  Huevo Mexican cartoons.  (Stereotyping themselves?)

 

 
Edited by hamradio

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I saw Song of the South in the movie theatre and I recall singing Zippidty (sp?) Do Dah Day for many weeks on end much to my mother's annoyance.  It was a hit on the radio as well and sung by a variety of artists.   I also recall learning in school that Uncle Remus and his friends arose out of a set of stories published in the late 1880's based on a collection of oral stories told to a journalist in the antebellum South.  So the stories were representative of people of the time and the society as it was, not as it is now.

 

The stories were akin to Aesop's Fables in regard to teaching morals and the consequence of one's actions in a format easy for children to comprehend and hopefully apply to their lives as the grew up.  So for those who heard and then read both Aesop's Fables and Uncle Remus I believe the intent was to supplement what one learned from our spiritual education and from our parents. 

 

It is so easy to sit in judgment of others and apply our beliefs and feelings to yesterday.  Themes, topics, viewpoints, stereotypes etc. utilized in classic movies represent the general feelings, beliefs, etc. prevalent in the times in which the movies were  made for the majority of the audiences of the times.  You only have to look at the movies produced from decade to decade to see the representation of societal change over time.  I will let others argue as to whether the current crop of movies truly represent our society today...in some ways I think not...but I am not in a position or of consequence to judge.

 

How I went from watching Song of the South to watching a Patch of Blue to watching I Spy and Shaft is a representation of how my generation experienced a change in behaviour, beliefs and understanding over time. 

 

Is Song of the South insulting, offensive?  not if you watch it in the spirit in which it was intended.  Leave alone the controversy, endlessly haggling over what can not be changed, and enjoy the artistry and creativity that it represents.

 

 

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Speedy Gonzales always outwits, outruns his pursuers.  Is being smart bad?

 

Foghorn Leghorn speaks with a stereotypically Southern accent, in other words has a "good ole boy" speaking style. I don't hear complaints from people of the South.  LOL!

 

 

 

Yes, some groups are more sensitive than other.    DUH.    

 

I work for a company that is located in the South (I'm in So Cal) and I have heard many at my company complain that people outside the south often equate a 'good ole boy' speaking style with a lack of intelligence (e.g. Jethro in The Beverly Hillibillies).    I work with statisticians and computer programmers with most having a masters and when I first heard them say 'ya all' as filler,  it did throw me for a loop.    In the inverse many young women in So Cal didn't like it when valley girl speak was the rage.   

 

Many white southerns have complained about being stereotyped as r-e-d necks in the movies (a complaint I feel is legit).   

 

One of the foundations of the Fox network is to complain about how the demographic that watch Fox are portayed by the so called mainstream media.

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Yes, some groups are more sensitive than other.    DUH.    

 

I work for a company that is located in the South (I'm in So Cal) and I have heard many at my company complain that people outside the south often equate a 'good ole boy' speaking style with a lack of intelligence (e.g. Jethro in The Beverly Hillibillies).    I work with statisticians and computer programmers with most having a masters and when I first heard them say 'ya all' as filler,  it did throw me for a loop.    In the inverse many young women in So Cal didn't like it when valley girl speak was the rage.   

 

Many white southerns have complained about being stereotyped as **** in the movies (a complaint I feel is legit).   

 

One of the foundations of the Fox network is to complain about how the demographic that watch Fox are portayed by the so called mainstream media.

 

Hope "Smokey and The Bandit" don't portray the South in a negative way. LOL!

 

tmb_1316_480.jpg

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I saw Song of the South in the movie theatre and I recall singing Zippidty (sp?) Do Dah Day for many weeks on end much to my mother's annoyance.  It was a hit on the radio as well and sung by a variety of artists.   I also recall learning in school that Uncle Remus and his friends arose out of a set of stories published in the late 1880's based on a collection of oral stories told to a journalist in the antebellum South.  So the stories were representative of people of the time and the society as it was, not as it is now.

 

The stories were akin to Aesop's Fables in regard to teaching morals and the consequence of one's actions in a format easy for children to comprehend and hopefully apply to their lives as the grew up.  So for those who heard and then read both Aesop's Fables and Uncle Remus I believe the intent was to supplement what one learned from our spiritual education and from our parents. 

 

It is so easy to sit in judgment of others and apply our beliefs and feelings to yesterday.  Themes, topics, viewpoints, stereotypes etc. utilized in classic movies represent the general feelings, beliefs, etc. prevalent in the times in which the movies were  made for the majority of the audiences of the times.  You only have to look at the movies produced from decade to decade to see the representation of societal change over time.  I will let others argue as to whether the current crop of movies truly represent our society today...in some ways I think not...but I am not in a position or of consequence to judge.

 

How I went from watching Song of the South to watching a Patch of Blue to watching I Spy and Shaft is a representation of how my generation experienced a change in behaviour, beliefs and understanding over time. 

 

Is Song of the South insulting, offensive?  not if you watch it in the spirit in which it was intended.  Leave alone the controversy, endlessly haggling over what can not be changed, and enjoy the artistry and creativity that it represents.

Great post, Emily. Joel Harris collected the stories during and after the war (from 1862-66), when he worked on the Turnwold Plantation in Georgia. The stories are considered a valuable collection of oral histories that would not otherwise have been written down and documented.

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Great post, Emily. Joel Harris collected the stories during and after the war (from 1862-66), when he worked on the Turnwold Plantation in Georgia. The stories are considered a valuable collection of oral histories that would not otherwise have been written down and documented.

 

So we should all be grateful to Joel Chandler Harris for opening a Pandora's Box that unleashed the Tar Baby on the world? Did he also create "Amos 'n' Andy" and name the Washington football team? 

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Great post, Emily. Joel Harris collected the stories during and after the war (from 1862-66), when he worked on the Turnwold Plantation in Georgia. The stories are considered a valuable collection of oral histories that would not otherwise have been written down and documented.

 

I see a post that says "It is so easy to sit in judgment of others and apply our beliefs and feelings to yesterday",  that does just that.

 

Judging that others view the film differently than they do or see things they feel don't exist (as well as telling others how they should watch the film).

 

One can only say if a movie is offensive to THEMSELVES.     But what I'm seeing is people saying the movie is NOT offensive period.

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So we should all be grateful to Joel Chandler Harris for opening a Pandora's Box that unleashed the Tar Baby on the world? Did he also create "Amos 'n' Andy" and name the Washington football team? 

In a way we should be grateful to Joel Harris, because his style of storytelling did revolutionize American literature.

 

If it's not for you, that's fine. You don't have to read it, and you do not have watch the film. But over-interpreting and applying a bunch of politically correct nonsense deprives someone else who may enjoy it. I don't think that's fair (or realistic).

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In a way we should be grateful to Joel Harris, because his style of storytelling did revolutionize American literature.

 

If it's not for you, that's fine. You don't have to read it, and you do not have watch the film. But over-interpreting and applying a bunch of politically correct nonsense deprives someone else who may enjoy it. I don't think that's fair (or realistic).

I've seen the film, and the best thing about it was Bobby Driscoll. All I can think about now is how that adorable, wide-eyed kid died ugly in real life. And how the first African Americans to receive Academy Awards got them for playing a loyal house slave and a storytelling ex-slave, respectively. Man, we could have used some serious political correctness back then.

 

As for Heckle and Jeckle, didn't one (or both of them) have a British accent?

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And how the first African Americans to receive Academy Awards got them for playing (a) a loyal house slave; 

Not exactly true. James Baskett played an ex-slave in SONG OF THE SOUTH. And neither he nor Hattie McDaniel were given awards for what kinds of roles they played on screen. They were given awards for how they played those roles on screen-- with pride and dignity (using great technical skill that resulted in excellence).

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Not exactly true. James Baskett played an ex-slave in SONG OF THE SOUTH. And neither he nor Hattie McDaniel were given awards for what kinds of roles they played on screen. They were given awards for how they played those roles on screen-- with pride and dignity (using great technical skill that resulted in excellence).

 

You should have waited a couple of minutes. The system screwed up my last post which was supposed to say "a loyal house slave and a storytelling ex-slave, respectively."  But however you slice it, the Oscars went to Mammy and Uncle Remus! How embarrassing!

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After seeing this movie I can only wonder what Disney would have done for stereotypes if they had done Song Of The West, Song Of The East and Song Of The North, lol.

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After seeing this movie I can only wonder what Disney would have done for stereotypes if they had done Song Of The West, Song Of The East and Song Of The North, lol.

 

Well, he did "Pollyanna" and animated tales about Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, didn't he?

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You should have waited a couple of minutes. The system screwed up my last post which was supposed to say "a loyal house slave and a storytelling ex-slave, respectively."  But however you slice it, the Oscars went to Mammy and Uncle Remus! How embarrassing!

 

I think I understand where TB is coming from here.   The Oscar was given to those two for their performance not for or because of the character they played.     Oscars have gone to actors playing killers,  gangsters,  women beaters, etc...  No one would assume that the academy was condoning these characters.   The academy was just rewarding the actor for their performance.

 

What is embarrassing is that the vast majority of roles played by minority groups were associated with certain type of characters.

 

i.e.  The odds were great that McDaniel's Oscar would be for a performance as a maid since the majority of her roles were as a maid. 

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