Disney is Changing it’s Views

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Diana Leyva, Reporter

     With this year’s events, from coronavirus to racial unrest to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, more and more people are looking at media and entertainment companies such as Disney, questioning their roles in systemic racism as well as their attention to diversity and inclusion. Compared to other companies, Disney is at least acknowledging social movements and is taking a stand against racism.

     In the past, Disney has been criticized for a lack of diversity in their characters.

     At first, it was that the princesses (like Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella) had little individuality. Then, it was that all the characters were white. Slowly, Disney began to change and started incorporating new characters who were diverse in both race and plot. They included characters such as Merida in the movie “Brave,” Moana in the movie “Moana” and T’challa in the movie “Black Panther.”

     They tackled issues such as mental illness and began to show people of color. At the same time, most characters who were “diverse” usually did not get as much screen time or were written out of shows and cartoons. The new live action Mulan movie, Star Wars the Force Awakens, Dumbo, and Aladdin are just a few that show this issue.

     “Although they try to add diversity behind the scenes they really don’t,” senior Paige Muniz said.

     However, they have made an effort to change their image by showing support for social movements and donating to programs that help minorities.

     Disney donated $1 million to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and in 2019, partnered with the U.S Department of Computer Science on the “Hidden No More” exchange program.

     According to Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, the company supports fighting against racism and have further shown their support by appointing Latondra Newton as their Chief Diversity Officer. Newton will be in charge of making Disney a more inclusive workplace.

     Despite being a leading entertainment company, Disney does speak up about social movements. Its website states that they are committed to reflecting the variety of culture and backgrounds of the world, and more specifically of those who consume their media.

     According to LATimes, Disney also donated to groups such as the NAACP, ACLU, and the Know Your Rights foundation.

     “Disney has already shown its support for the recent Black Lives Matter movement by releasing a video, which sheds light on situations where employees have experienced racial inequality,” Senior Elma Sheikh said.

     Disney also introduced a new way for filmmakers to showcase their diverse perspectives using Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator. Disney will broadcast shorts from Disney Launchpad on their streaming platform, Disney Plus.

     “I feel like they are going in the right direction,” Muniz said.