‘Zootopia’: Disney’s Feeble Attempt At Discussing Racism Without Discussing Racism

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  • Jack Caldwell

    While I agree with the assessment of some of the previous Disney films, I don’t think the film asserts that the problems affecting communities of colour are problems for “all of us”. Zootopia is not the post-racism paradise you’re arguing it to be, quote Fox Nick “Whoopsie, we don’t all get along”. Zootopia does ultimately resolve this one case and proves that indeed we cannot portray predators as savages in blanket terms, but there’s no implication (other than the happy ending but that’s for the kids) that another case couldn’t crop up and restart the cycle since inter-“species” tension was prevalent before the story broke and was never really “cleansed”.
    This is like America, who won’t fix its problems of race relations simply by pointing out the obvious systemic causes of problems that the patriarchy blames on minorities for no reason (with you on those issues, of course). Obviously the prey (Southern whites) aren’t the “victims”, but they are somewhere in the middle of love and hate, ignorance, and they are smart enough to recognise these systemic problems if we show them head on. Zootopia, you’re right, is probably primarily aimed at them. But don’t you want to reach out to them? Tell them that post-racial “Zootopia” doesn’t exist (which again, Nick agrees with you in the film), and that these systemic issues are there and need to be heard by politicians from all 50 states?
    I personally believe that’s what Zootopia wants here, and that has to be a net good for teaching kids about race relations in such a manner. You may disagree however, I’d love to hear your response!

    • I think you are missing the overall points of the film though where they keep telling the viewer that everyone suffers from our fears of one another. They say it several times in reference to the main character’s own bigotry. They use that line of thought when explaining why the villain was able to get away with it for so long.

      By couching the conversation in biases (rather than actual racial animus rooted in a long history of White Supremacy) they reduced racism to an issue of preferences. This is where I felt the storyline really failed in terms of getting at the root problem.

      • Jack Caldwell

        I don’t think it was saying that the prey are “suffering” as a result of their fear of predators, rather that prey like the main character need to recognise that the xenophobic messages all over mass media don’t explain the reason for any of the attacks that were seen. The narrative of the attacks make us feel for predators like Nick being misrepresented and feared without reason, even before the real explanation (read “systemic racism”) is uncovered.
        Obviously without having to write a whole script for me, I’m curious as to what you felt Judy Hopps should have learned as the story progressed through the predator prey narrative.

  • Jason Luthor

    The average individual spends less than two minutes on this website.