Aladdin is one production that has earned itself a place in the Complex Magazine of most racist movies! What an achievement for a company like Disney!
Disney mission should be to enable it’s young viewers to discover different cultures in order to gain understanding and respect towards them, however it seems like Disney has a different plan of representing cultures to our children.
Aladdin is a Disney classic which takes place in the mystical city of Agrabah, which is based mainly on the medieval city of Baghdad. So how is their culture represented?
“Where they cut off your ear,
If they don’t like your face
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home”
These are the original lyrics of a song Arabian Nights, which after the protest of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee have been changed to “where it’s flat and immense, and the heat is intense”. The original lyrics are offensive and picture the Arabian culture in a very negative light as cruel and ruthless, which may influence childrens’ opinion of Arabian people and lead to a development of negative feelings towards them.
Another video which shows how the Arabs are represented by the use of basic reinforcing stereotypes. Also take notice of how the “good” characters are different, with their accents and actions. Also how Aladdin rejects his cultural name and takes on the more European “Al”.