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Pet Sins April 2000

The Rescuers

The Rescuers was released in 1977 by Disney. The plot is taken from Margaret Sharp's children's books.

The Story:

Two mice go on a mission to save a kidnapped orphan from the clutches of an exploitative villainess.

Close to the beginning of the film, a worldwide council of mice meet to decide who should take on this particular assignment. Each delegate has his country's name on a tag in front of him, like a UN for mice. I couldn't help but notice that the various European/Eurasian countries each had a representative - France, Italy, Turkey etc. But all the African countries were represented by a sole female mouse with a big Afro sitting behind the label of "Africa."

The diversity and uniqueness of European nations are recognized while the entire continent of Africa can be generalized to a single entity. This is a typical white American view of Africans -- they are all the same. Unlike Europeans who are individuals with unique qualities, Africans only exist as the black masses. Individuality is not their right or privilege.

"What's the big deal? It's just a kid's movie."

Precisely. Racist ideas gain entry to our minds NOT when they are presented openly as racist ideas -- we would have resisted them --but when they are packaged with "innocent" entertainment. Consumers unwittingly swallow prejudices coated with pleasure, whether in a child's cartoon or a porno film. In just a 10 second scene, a children's movie can convey many negative ideas.

animation fan
1997