In the same dedication he says the park is a tribute to "...the hard facts that have created America". How can that be true when every narrative is told from Walt's perspective or from the perspective of his artists who were almost exclusively white and male? How can you explain the minimizing of black and Native people in a place that is supposed to be meeting place for our "shared culture"?
Look, I have a great deal of admiration for Walt Disney, but there is no question that his films and theme parks were largely influenced by his experiences as a privileged white man living in a society dominated by white supremacy. A large part of Disneyland's initial success was dependent on the exclusive elevation of those specific ideals, and I'm glad things are changing.
To drive that point home here are two old Disneyland characterizations of African Americans at different times during the park's first decade of operation. So, outside of the aggressive uncivilized African natives and hapless safari guides, we have yet another sad example of the demeaning way in which black people have been portrayed to park visitors over the course of Disneyland's history. It's crazy to think it's 2021 and there is still a shortage of positive representations of a certain segment AMERICANS at Disneyland.
Fair points. With that said, Disney has continually updated their parks to be more current with the times, which is why we don’t see Aunt Jemima in the park or the old violent “Indians” that used to be on the ROA. As we know, IP drives all new changes in the parks. What IP (that has more positive representation of Black people) would work organically within lands like Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Adventureland and Critter Country and all their attractions? I think when it’s framed like this it’s much easier to understand why their isn’t as much representation as you’d like.
Disney of course doing everything backwards with no long term game plan, has to resort to removing the representation of minorities that does exist because they have nothing to put within Disneyland to balance it out. Especially if we want IP that will work organically with the lands of the west side of the park and not subject to being deemed offensive. They ve been sitting on Princess and the Frog for 10 years. They could have put her ride in the Pooh building or at the Fantasyland theatre but I guess they didn’t feel that it was big enough hit. Which brings up another question. Should a private company be directed or pressured to use an IP if the public decided they didn’t want it? So that brings up another complexity. The IP not only needs to be harmonious with Disneyland’s lands / attractions and gain 100% approval of being positive/ non offensive to minorities (in this case Black people) but it also has be a hit.
The animation division is obviously working on this with movies like Moana, Coco, Soul, etc coming out the last few years. It will just take some time for the properties to get to the parks. Not all of them will always work and some will probably have to be “forced” in like PatF in Splash Mountain.
I’d imagine if and when a new park opens Stateside you will get exactly what you are looking for as they won’t face the challenge that I laid out above. I mean even with DCA, there are things they can easily add within Hollywoodland/ backlot or Avengers Campus with IP like Black Panther (which was a hit) that could fit the Bill. So as a half Italian/ half Arab who honestly doesn’t have a horse in this race (other than nostalgia for DL) I do prefer that at least when it comes to Disneyland that they preserve as much of its rich history when possible. As long as something is not outright racist which IMO Disneyland is free of at the moment. Of course, that’s just my opinion. In the meantime their should be someone in the parks division working very closely with animation/ films so they can add appropriate IP that balance out the portrayal of minorities within DL. Instead of just going and bulldozing all the old stuff because they have nothing else.