Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hollywood racism in Lion King

Let me just get this out of the way: I am not going to be talking about the alleged "stereotyping" in the casting of hyena characters' voice actors. I think it is fair that there were also two protagonist characters Mufasa and Rafiqi voiced by African Americans.

While in Orlando this last weekend, I happened to see a little bit of The Lion King in the bus that transported us back from Universal resort to the hotel. And I started to think back to this discovery channel show about lions. The scientists were trying to figure out what kind of physical traits attract a female lion to a male lion. They made two stuffed life size lion dolls, one with dark black mane and the other with brown-blonde hair. Then they observed the lionesses from a distance. The lionesses just could not get enough of the dark haired lion dummy. Even lingering around and biting the dummy long after they had realized that he is not real as he wasn't reacting to them or even moving a muscle.

My point being, in the wild, dark haired lion is more desirable. However, the makers of Lion King, going with American conventions, had to make the protagonist light haired or 'caucasian' and the antagonist, dark haired—pretty much everything outside America to the south or east… or south east of Greece. Arabs, Indians, Koreans, pick whatever you want. I was also surprised that I couldn't find another blog post talking about this. So chime in on what you feel.

1 comment:

  1. It can't be avoided given the different situation in the industry. They should prevent it though whenever possible.

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