Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment

Overview

In his latest iconoclastic work, Douglas Brode—the only academic author/scholar who dares to defend Disney entertainment—argues that "Uncle Walt's" output of films, television shows, theme parks, and spin-off items promoted diversity decades before such a concept gained popular currency in the 1990s. Fully understood, It's a Small World—one of the most popular attractions at the Disney theme parks—encapsulates Disney's prophetic vision of an appealingly varied world, each race respecting the uniqueness of all the...

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Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment

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Overview

In his latest iconoclastic work, Douglas Brode—the only academic author/scholar who dares to defend Disney entertainment—argues that "Uncle Walt's" output of films, television shows, theme parks, and spin-off items promoted diversity decades before such a concept gained popular currency in the 1990s. Fully understood, It's a Small World—one of the most popular attractions at the Disney theme parks—encapsulates Disney's prophetic vision of an appealingly varied world, each race respecting the uniqueness of all the others while simultaneously celebrating a common human core. In this pioneering volume, Brode makes a compelling case that Disney's consistently positive presentation of "difference"—whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, or spirituality—provided the key paradigm for an eventual emergence of multiculturalism in our society.

Using examples from dozens of films and TV programs, Brode demonstrates that Disney entertainment has consistently portrayed Native Americans, African Americans, women, gays, individual acceptance of one's sexual orientation, and alternatives to Judeo-Christian religious values in a highly positive light. Assuming a contrarian stance, Brode refutes the overwhelming body of "serious" criticism that dismisses Disney entertainment as racist and sexist. Instead, he reveals through close textual analysis how Disney introduced audiences to such politically correct principles as mainstream feminism. In so doing, Brode challenges the popular perception of Disney fare as a bland diet of programming that people around the world either uncritically deem acceptable for their children or angrily revile as reactionary pabulum for the masses.

Providing a long overdue and thoroughly detailed alternative, Brode makes a highly convincing argument that with an unwavering commitment to racial diversity and sexual difference, coupled with a vast global popularity, Disney entertainment enabled those successive generations of impressionable youth who experienced it to create today's aura of multiculturalism and our politically correct value system.

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What People Are Saying

Deborah C. Mitchell
Brode emerges [as] a worthy proponent of Disney's democratic vision, wielding a powerful argument for Disney as a forerunner of multicultural values in America. The significance of his work cannot be overstated.
Deborah C. Mitchell, Westminster College
Deborah C. Mitchell
Brode emerges [as] a worthy proponent of Disney's democratic vision, wielding a powerful argument for Disney as a forerunner of multicultural values in America. The significance of his work cannot be overstated.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292709607
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 518,131
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

DOUGLAS BRODE is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and journalist who teaches cinema studies and popular culture at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction. I Had a Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: In Defense of Disney, Part I
1. Return of the Vanishing American: Disney and the Native Experience
2. Together in Perfect Harmony: Disney and the Civil Rights Movement
3. Beat of a Different Drum: Ethnicity and Individualization in Disney
4. Racial and Sexual Identity in America: Disney's Subversion of the Victorian Ideal
5. "If It Feels Good, Do It!": Disney and the Sexual Revolution
6. Our Bodies, Ourselves: Disney and Feminism
7. Something Wiccan This Way Comes: Walt's Wonderful World of Witchcraft
8. Beyond the Celluloid Closet: Disney and the Gay Experience
Conclusion. Popular Culture and Political Correctness: In Defense of Disney, Part II
Notes
Index
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