Known Johnson

October 29, 2007

Racist Einsteins?

Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:23 pm

Amanda has become addicted to yet another one of Disney’s creations: Little Einsteins. I guess it’s not horrible – it could be some completely saccharine, meaningless tripe, but I really question the value of teaching children about art when the art in question is usually barely even mentioned – it’s usually used as a backdrop for their exploits. The music is a little better – being “classical” music, it’s at least something intelligent, not the typically inane crap that fills a lot of kids’ shows, although I do have a problem with them having to overlay stupid lyrics on top of the pieces, but whatever – it makes it more memorable to the kids. At least the Einstein people have stopped trying to claim their products (and this music) make your kids smarter.

I’ve also found it annoying that in one episode, during which three flying pigs get stuck flying, get this, adagio, moderato, and allegro. Okay – keep in mind that they’re introducing young children, ages 2-5 or so, to concepts like that, but something as commonplace as the thing that measures your speed is a little too complex, you know, the “speedy-meter,” as they call it, might go over their heads because when are those youngin’s ever going to hear the term “speedometer”? Man.

My favorite thing involving this show lately, however, has been this Halloween episode they’ve been playing. They’ve got a racially diverse cast, see, and that’s nice. There’s a little blonde girl, an asian girl, a caucasian boy, and an African-American boy. It’s balanced, and they seem to make an effort to have the kids be specialized in areas that are not cliched – June, the Asian girl, is a good dancer, and Quincy, the African-American boy, is good at music. Cool. Except in this episode, they make one colossal mistake – little African American Quincy (we could take issue with his name, possibly, if we really want to get nitpicky about stereotypes) shows off his Halloween costume . . . and it’s a bat. You might not be aware, but the term “bat” is an old, very racist term. I’m really very surprised Disney would let this slide through – surely someone would have caught this.

quincy-bat.jpg

I would love to include a video from Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend’s hilarious take on the plight of black actors in Hollywood and, indeed, his people in general, but you know YouTube – hit and miss. What I wanted to include was a short sitcom parody involving an African-American male who lives with a family but is always dressed as a bat – it’s parodying several things at once, you see (bad TV shows in general, the terrible roles black actors often find themselves stuck with, and the crude racist term itself.) I couldn’t find that, but found something that is equally funny – and maybe you’ll want to buy the DVD after watching it:

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2 Comments »

  1. that is very wrong. I am A BLACK and that seems very offensive.

    Comment by Austin — December 7, 2008 @ 7:14 am | Reply

  2. LOL.
    Chill out its a little kid with wings. You said yourself it’s an old term – I’m guessing that nobody on the Disney staff KNEW about it. Plus it’s only little kids who watch the show, and I really doubt they would know much, if anything about racist terms from the 80’s.

    I do have to agree that it’s nice they attempt to make it racially diverse. One problem with that being –

    Where’s the Latino or Latina?
    What about Native Americans?
    Filipinos? (Who don’t consider themselves Asian)

    Comment by Camillia — April 19, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Reply


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