Saturday, June 27, 2009

Transforma's: Racist In Disguise...


So let me get this straight...

Executives from DreamWorks and Paramount can come out with characters like this in 2009, but Disney can't release "Song of the South" on DVD/Blu-Ray?

It's a world turned upside down we live in...

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, Honor.

Spokker said...

The man is jus' tryin' to keep a green robot down, ya heard.

PirateGuy 815 said...

I have always wanted to see Song of the South, but can't because it's never on TV or, like Honor said, on DVD/Blu-ray. It ridiculous that because some people think it's "racist" I will never be able to see it.

Anonymous said...

^Sure you can, just do what I did and get an international copy.

Anonymous said...

Mudflap and Skids aren't black, so I don't see how they can be black stereotypes. Anyone who sees them as that must have a racist idea themselves. Everyone should get off of this bandwagon with the Twins..

Anonymous said...

Yeah, one of those voice actors is black himself, and if he didn't find anything wrong with it, white people shouldn't either.

Optimus Crime said...

Sure, two characters that are designed to look like monkeys, spouting ebonics, wearing gold teeth and talking about popping a cap in your a aren't stereotypes of blacks.

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

"It ridiculous that because some people think it's "racist" I will never be able to see it."

I've seen SotS. It is racist, especially in the live action scenes. (The most offensive was the African-American plantation workers singing outside the bedroom window of the white owner's son who's sick. Much worse than Stepin Fetchit IMO.)

SotS is part of cinema history that needs to be left in the vault. Princess and the Frog is long overdue for healing the decades of negative stereotypes in Disney films. The crows in Dumbo were bad enough. SotS is much, much worse.

All the negative press and criticism Disney would get from releasing SotS wouldn't be worth any financial gain, which is the final deciding factor for any venture Disney undertakes. Disney is making the correct call by not releasing the film.

Anonymous said...

So some slaves sang outside when a sick white boy was inside...I really don't consider that racist at all. This took place in pre-civil war era America! Why the hell is that offensive? There were slaves back than, It's a very sad part of history, but is it offensive just to showcase that?

Cullen said...

PirateGuy - Use your Google-Fu and a bitTorrent client. I downloaded a great DVD copy that somebody made from an old VHS tape, complete with DVD label and case cover. If you don't look closely, you'd never know it's not original.

Generally, I'm not for file sharing of movies online, but if it's something out of print & unobtainable, I figured its fair game!

Kevin said...

Bottom line, you guys don't know anything. The movie Song of the South is not racist, never was, it shows the evil racism, don't you guys get it? Same thing with Huckleberry Fin, the evils of racism. It is a revolutionary film. The two Transformers are stereotypes because Michael Bay is a child, filled the movies with the lowest forms of sexual humor and stereotyped characters like these two. People should be offended. The Princess and the Frog is not racist at all, what is wrong with people who think that is that nobody is thinking rationally about it. Think people, it's a quality teenagers fail to do.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Just heard about some of this. It's a strange scenaro this day-and-age.

Anonymous said...

Really put off by this film now.

Anonymous said...

I've seen Song of the South. The film is mostly live action with short animated pieces. While it uses some innovative techniques near the beginning and at the end (It was probably supposed to be the "Roger Rabbit" of its time) the story is nice, but nothing too special. (No offense to anyone) If Disney released this, many people would be in for a surprise. Splash Mountain makes the movie seem much more um, "animated" that it actually is. Still, I'm all for it getting released, but I'm not sure how well it would do.

Anonymous said...

... Also, I do find it a bit bizarre that the Transformers movies would have characters like that, it just seems too overt and unnecessary.

Spokker said...

First of all, the Transformers movie is awful.

Second, turn on MTV and tell me if you don't see a black rapper with a gold tooth at some point during the day (and their white imitators). There's one who wears a clock around his neck all the time.

Third, if Transformers is a "racist portrayal," so is Song of the South. No black dude (who was probably a former slave) wants to sit around and tell little white kids stories. That's White Dream World right there.

Fourth, I don't get where the movie implies that the characters represent all black people. When I see a poor portrayal of an Indian character (Apu on the Simpsons, stereotypical Indian convenience store owner selling tainted meat) or a Hispanic person (Family Guy has done this a lot), I don't start getting angry for an entire group of people because I understand it doesn't represent all of them.

The movie is full of stereotypes and that contributes to why it sucks, but racist it ain't.

Spokker said...

Cars had a Spanish speaking lowrider with the stereotypical accent. Defend that blindly while continuing to be pissed over Transformers, please.

Brandon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MouseBear said...

Salutations All,

I have also seen "Song of the South". The movie is set in the time period of Reconstruction
(1865-1877). The movie's time period is part of the reason Johnny's parents are separated. His father is an advocate of a "New South" where the economy is diversified and blacks have at least some rights (the man who gathered the "Uncle Remus" stories,Joel Chandler Harris, was an advocate of a "New South); Johnny's mother obviously represents white southerners who wanted blacks to remain in their "place". Another proof, that the movie is not set during the time of slavery, is that Uncle Remus is preparing to leave the plantation at the end of "Song of the South". The "Uncle Remus" stories, featured as cartoons in the movie, were oral stories, told by slaves, to make fun of whites and to build up blacks. That's why Brer Rabbit (who represents black slaves) is always fooling Brer Fox and Brer Bear (who represent poor whites). As to whether "Song of the South" is racist certainly there are scenes, in the movie, that represent the racist attitudes of the "Old South" (the submissive way Uncle Remus lies to Johnny's mother after he brings Johnny back from Johnny's attempt to run away is a good example of such a scene). At the same time Uncle Remus has a more or less equal relationship with Johnny's grandmother and he is the movie's main character and hero. I think an introduction to the movie, explaining why it contains racist scenes, would be a way to handle releasing it on DVD.

Brandon said...

There is a huge difference between Ramone from Cars and Mudflap and Skids from Transformers.

First of all, just because a character has a race doesn't mean they're racist. It is true that racial minorities are the minority of TV and in movies, and therefore have fewer opportunities to "represent" their race (I put represent in quotes not because I believe that these characters should be expected to fully represent a race, but because that, at least on the subconscious level, is what many Americans do with these characters). But by your logic, because Betty on Ugly Betty eats Mexican food, she is a racist portrayal, because it is a stereotype that people of Mexican heritage eat Mexican food. Just because a racialized character does something that is considered a stereotype of that race, it doesn't mean that the character is racist.

Therefore, just because Ramone is racialized doesn't mean that the character is racist.

However with Mudflap and Skids, I find the characters racist due to the negative stereotypes associated with the characters. They are presented on screen as being unable to read or speak properly. Not only that, but they revel in their stupidity.

Ramone is never presented in a negative light within Cars. He is a lowrider, which is within American society stereotyped as a Hispanic car. But the problem with Mudflap and Skids is not that they are stereotypes of Black people, but that the stereotypes presented are negative stereotypes.

The gold tooth is the misdirected target of much of the criticism over these Transformers. The gold tooth, in addition to other characteristics of Mudflap and Skids, only serve to racialize these Transformers. Remember racialized doesn't mean racist. However, because of the negative characteristics associated with these Transformers, the racialized Mudflap and Skids are indeed racist.

Chaddy said...

^^^

Well explained Brandon.

Personally, not into the Transformers stuff so I can't comment on that. And I have not seen Song of the South either. So no comment there.

But I wanted to reiterate Brandon's arguments to the Anonymous above who implied that the depiction of the Crows in Dumbo was racially offensive or insensitive. Everything Brandon said above applies there too. The crows are easily identified as representing the cool black-american youth of the day. They use the lingo and the attire. The films best song is sung by them too. And I find nothing condescending or negative about that depiction.

It would be a stretch of the imagination to assume that the animators meant to imply that all black people are exactly like that way, or that they meant to say that all black people are like crows. And I'm not so sure that the black youth living during the time that Dumbo was released would agree with you that the crows depiction was offensive. Now the film's depiction of clowns on the other hand.......

David said...

Brandon, that was one of the most intelligent things I have ever read on a comments page on the internet. Thank you for making my day, and proving that there are some intelligent people with legitimate arguments to back up their views left on earth!

Anonymous said...

So what? Black people aren't allowed to be in film anymore? I don't see any racism here.

Mr. Rosado said...

i as an african american man would like to say something to anonymous commenter number 8 i have seen song of the south and it is a wonderful film. to try to hide the movie does not make that period of time go away. you are not advocating that schindlers list be put into a vault. bad things have happened to african americans, but i am so tired of people like you who always trying to pull the race card. it is enough. with all that said "How you come on?"

Andy said...

Honor, please disable anonymous comments. It adds to the conversation when commenters can address each other properly.

Anonymous said...

There is no racism in Transformers 2, which I saw last night.

Anybody who thinks is racist is an overly sensitive a**hole that needs to get a life, and is racist himself for trying to create a stereotype when one does not exist.

But its okay to show dumb whites, right?

Get a life you stupid f**ks.

Spokker said...

The most equitable situation would be a society where it is okay to portray a black character in a negative light just like it's okay to portray a white character in a negative light. There is no shortage of dumb redneck stereotypes on TV. There are no shortage of dumb urban youth stereotypes on TV, white and black. That in itself is no cause for alarm. Those robots sound a lot like Chris Tucker!

Real racism is what I saw today in Venice, CA. A man approached me and a friend and went on about God knows what. All you could do was ignore him and hope his influence is minimal to zero.

BlakefromMN said...

seriously everyone has too much time. Stereotypes are there for a reason. They exist and they happened. I am gay and there are thousands of stereotypes. Do I like them? No. Do I deal with them? Yes. This is so incredibly lame. I will still pay premium to go see Transformers and laugh hard at the stereotypes. If you don't like them go change them.

We are.

bsmith13 said...

Here's the thing:

Transformers perpetuates inaccurate racial stereotypes. As such, I suppose it is racist. But the thing that is offensive to me is that it is projecting these stereotypes onto non-existent robots.

Song of the South, for good or ill, portrays some aspects of plantation life that are offensive, but happened none the less. The stories told by Uncle Remus are literary history, whether they are perceived by us to be racist or not.

I find Transformers to be the more offensive of the two.

Anonymous said...

"Honor, please disable anonymous comments. It adds to the conversation when commenters can address each other properly."

That would not be fair, if an individual wants to contribute a constructive comment but doesn't wish to give their real name or an alias, then that is their right.

What Honor SHOULD do is use comment moderation like a lot of other bloggers do, that way, a constructive discussion could be held without seeing comments from troublemakers that have been in this blog so many times in the past.
(I am NOT referring to you, Andy)

Brandon said...

This matter would be completely different in my mind if the characters were human rather than robot. My reaction is based on the fact that there was an obvious conscious decision to make these two robots racialized, while the other robots remain non-racialized. Then the Powers that be decided that the only racialized robots within the entire film would play the role of dumb comic relief.

This type of racism is more damaging than the more blatant racism of, say, some random guy on the street, or even older presentations of race, such as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. At the very least, blatant racism or racist portrayals is easily rejected by more reasoned society. Yet subtle racism, like that featured in Transformers is more dangerous because it is not as easily recognized by the average viewer, as evidenced by the above debate.

True, Transformers did not invent the dumb Black man as comic relief stereotype. That started long ago, even before Vaudeville and Black face. However, their unapologetic espousal of such a trope, while not uncommon in modern Hollywood, is especially stark considering the decision to only racialize these two characters. Normally, this type of racist portrayals is layered by other social conventions and expectations.

Spokker said...

Quick, someone be outraged! My heritage is being stereotyped!

Oh wait... no one cares? Oh...

Spokker said...

"Transformers perpetuates inaccurate racial stereotypes."

Like Mater the dumb white redneck tow truck? Oh sure, he's a "nice" character with a "warm heart" but he sees UFOs just like dumb "cracker rednecks" right? Racist bastard...

I saw these Transformers characters in a Burger King ad with children and they didn't rape those kids once. They are fine upstanding CGI robots and just because they haven't learned to read doesn't mean you can accuse them of racism. Maybe you haven't even given them a goddamn chance!!!

Spokker said...

It wasn't Michael Bay who made those robots who they are, it was their parents, always burning low-grade oil and not raising their kids. Dad left the garage and wasn't even in their lives. That's what you get for marrying an Escalade am I right ladies???

Mola Norm said...

^^^Spokker the troll is left just talking to himself now.
Idiot.

TRANSFORMERS 2 SUCKED said...

TRANSFORMERS 2 SUCKED!

The World's Only Rabbit Dentist said...

^Um, care to elaborate?

Personally, I didn't like Transformers 2 as much as the first one, but I honestly wasn't expecting all that much. The story wasn't all that great, but the action was definitely kicked up a notch.

TRANSFORMERS 2 SUCKED said...

IT JUST SUCKED GOD DAMN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! WHO CARES IF IT WAS RACIST! IT BLEW BIG TIME!

Anonymous said...

I saw "Song of the South" in re-release at a movie theater when I was a kid. And I loved it, and the main reason was Uncle Remus himself. He was the kind of kindly adult mentor any kid would want as a friend. If anything, Remus strengthened my belief in the equality and common decency of people of all races, a belief that was just beginning to form at the time in my life. It is not a racist film any more than Huckleberry Finn is a racist book. I do agree with the poster here who believes that an intelligently-written disclaimer, perhaps presented by the likes of Leonard Maltin, in the beginning of a DVD release of the film would go a long way toward easing people's concerns about the film's so-called racist overtones. SotS is a great movie that children of today deserve to see. It teaches as well as it entertains. How many "family" films of today can make that claim?

As for Transformers...haven't seen it. Don't want to. Michael Bay has from all reports taken a franchise based on a TOY and turned into an obscene joke that would fit very nicely into an average episode of Robot Chicken. And while I find that show intermittently amusing, I don't feel like playing 8 bucks for it.

Luke Warm said...

Eight bucks? Where the heck are you going to see films? I live in California in 2009. You can't see a movie for less than 11 bucks.

"GL" said...

Although Song of the south may or maynot be racist I cannot imagine why anyone would want to see it, I thought it was terrible movie, and Transformers is a flop!! Stereotypical Yeah, offensive not really and I am assuming sound of the South isn't being released in the USA because it's culturally insensitve, I'm lots of people would boycott Disney and it would tarnish the Disney name.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to know how many of you out there that are saying SOTS isn't racist are black yourself. How would you know?